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Safari is a RAM-eating monster

1684 Views 22 Replies Latest reply: May 3, 2013 3:35 PM by Rob Keniger RSS
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G Robert Lewis Level 2 Level 2 (225 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 2, 2012 11:22 AM

I recently upgraded my Mac mini from 4GB RAM to 8GB in the hope of avoiding the constant problem of running out of RAM while using Safari (currently v. 6.0.2). But all it did was postpone the inevitable a bit.


Activity Monitor just told me that Safari Web Content was using more than 4.6GB of RAM—with no windows open! Plus another 100MB for Safari itself.


Is it just me, or is this totally insane? Surely the software geniuses at Apple can figure out a way to release RAM when windows are closed! (I asked a developer friend and he said Safari probably has what he called "object-oriented disease". But come on, this is 2012!) My Mac regularly turns into a beachball-spinning slug because Safari is so poorly designed.


Has anyone done comparisons to see if the other available browsers are more parsimonious with RAM?

Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.7.5), 8 GB RAM
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,995 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2012 5:02 PM (in response to G Robert Lewis)

    What usability problem do you have? A number in Activity Monitor is not a problem in itself.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,995 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2012 5:38 PM (in response to G Robert Lewis)

    The next time you have the problem, note the exact times when it starts and ends: hour, minute, second.


    If you have more than one user account, these instructions must be carried out as an administrator.


    Launch the Console application in any of the following ways:


    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)


    ☞ In the Finder, select Go Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.


    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Console in the icon grid.


    Make sure the title of the Console window is All Messages. If it isn't, select All Messages from the SYSTEM LOG QUERIES menu on the left.


    Scroll back in the log to the time you noted above. Post any messages timestamped during that interval – the text, please, not a screenshot.

    When posting a log extract, be selective. In most cases, a few dozen lines are more than enough.

    Please do not indiscriminately dump thousands of lines from the log into a message.


    Important: Some private information, such as your name, may appear in the log. Edit it out by search-and-replace in a text editor before posting.

  • ~Bee Level 7 Level 7 (30,590 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2012 7:15 PM (in response to G Robert Lewis)

    GR --


    The behavior you're seeing in not at all typical of Safari.  I've been using it exclusively since it first came out and have never experienced your problems.  There's something amiss in your Mac. So, you've emptied your cache, and reset Safari?


    Do you suppose there is a connection between this problem and your Airport problem?


    Same problem here with disappearing Airport Express units, but mine are connected withwired Ethernet so it's not a WiFi problem.


    Example: I'll be playing Pandora via Safari and Airfoil to them, and it works fine for a while, then poof!—they just suddenly disappear from Airfoil's list of available devices.


    Airport Utility can see the units, but since in its wisdom Apple has decided that newer versions of the utility won't support these older Airport Express models—and older versions of the utility won't install under Lion—I'm kind of stuck.



    One other thing . . . You're asking other Mac users here for their volunteer help.  Complaining about Apple will not be helpful, as we are just others users here.

  • corth Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2012 4:24 PM (in response to G Robert Lewis)

    Glad I'm not alone on this. The only difference is that only happens to me since Safari 6.0.2.

    Even when closing the lid on my MBP the machine does not go into standby and Safari keeps running. Eating up more RAM while it should actually be asleep.

    Cleared caches, disabled my 1Password extension, etc. but no change in the behaviour.

  • mrsbaer Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 28, 2012 8:02 PM (in response to corth)

    I have the same issue with 6.0.2 slowly using more memory and then leading up to slow response.

    Does anyone of you have any of these extensions installed: DoNotTrackMe, ADBlock, RoboForm ?

    So far I have been reading some posts about ADBlock apparently causing this issue. Will monitor with the plugin disabled for a while.

  • mrsbaer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 29, 2012 6:25 AM (in response to G Robert Lewis)

    Great write-up, Robert. Once I uninstalled ADBlock the memory usage jovers around 1 GB which is far less than before and it works better. I will keep that extension off for a while to monitor it.

  • LexSchellings Level 5 Level 5 (5,505 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 29, 2012 10:57 AM (in response to G Robert Lewis)

    Robert, 1.2 Gb for Safari Webcontent is very MUCH. Right now writing this post and having 7 Safari windows open, it is about 440MB here. iTunes is playing Alan Parsons Project. Paralles is running a Windows XP VM. Mail is running to get mails in, Activity Monitor running, and so on.

    I tried Chrome and Firefox, but there the memory brunch is not better, worse in fact.

    There is something else going on.

    If you think it is Safari, do the reset of Safari, quit it and download the latest version and reinstall it.

    I am not sure what is causing it, but it may help.

  • octafish Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 29, 2012 11:40 AM (in response to G Robert Lewis)

    I am having the same issue. Using 4.5GB of RAM on my Mac Pro. I'll try playing around with extensions and such, but it sounds like something else may be afoot......

  • LokeshJoshi Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 24, 2013 7:36 AM (in response to G Robert Lewis)

    Frequently reset Safari to reduce the RAM eating habit of Safari.

    The option is available in Safari Tab,

    By doing this my MCA is again smooth and fluid, hope this technique resolves the issue for you as well.


    All the best!!

  • Saxman Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 24, 2013 11:26 AM (in response to LokeshJoshi)

    How full a reset do you recommend doing "frequently"?  If I wipe all the cookies, passwords, forms information, etc, that will greatly slow down my use of the web as well, so it's not so great an option, is it? It's not too much for us to expect Apple to have a browser that functions the way it is supposed to, is it?

  • LokeshJoshi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 25, 2013 7:28 AM (in response to Saxman)

    I recommend reseting safari before doing all high level coding stuff, however obviously you can avoid deleting forms and passwords in reset options.

    I checked with other MBP guy, he too is frequently does the same to keep his machine fast and smooth. 

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