9 Ways to Fix the “Your system has run out of application memory” Error on Mac

Your system has run out of application memory
Your system has run out of application memory

Even though the macOS from Apple is considered one of the most stable computer Operating Systems, it is also prone to a number of issues. One such issue is when the Mac runs out of application memory, making the performance of the PC laggy. There are many macOS users who are experiencing this issue.

Mac pops up a window showing the error message ‘Your system has run out of application memory.‘ along with a list of running apps that are consuming a high application memory. It is actually called the memory leak issue.

If you are one of those Mac users, then you have landed in the right place. Here I will show you how you can solve the ‘Your system has run out of application memory.’ issue on your Mac.

Why is your Mac running out of Application Memory?

Like any other Operating System, macOS also stores the data being used, in the RAM memory of the PC. But what’s special about macOS is that when your PC gets short on RAM capacity, it starts storing the data on the main boot drive and swaps it between the RAM and the drive as per the need.

This is the reason why there should be a good amount of free space in the boot drive to keep the performance smooth and steady. Keeking 10% of the total storage free is a good practice but when there comes a shortage of storage space for virtual memory, macOS doesn’t get anything to store the additional RAM data, making it run out of application memory.

And this thing ultimately leads to the error saying, ‘Your system has run out of application memory.‘.

What causes the ‘Your system has run out of application memory.’ error on Mac?

Now, you know that the error is popping up because the Mac PC is getting out of application memory to store temporary files. But why is the application memory that was enough previously is now suddenly not enough to keep the Mac at its pace? Well, the following can be the possible causes:

Too many apps are running simultaneously: The primary reason behind this issue can be the number of apps and software running on the system at the same time. If there are a lot of unnecessary apps running simultaneously, then it’s obvious that the Mac is gonna run out of application memory.

Boot drive has little free storage left: As I have told you, Mac uses boot drive memory when the RAM capacity is not enough to keep the PC running smoothly. Hence it uses the boot drive storage as virtual memory to extend the number of apps running simultaneously on the system.

If your Mac is not having a sufficient amount of storage in the boot drive, the macOS will not get enough additional virtual memory, leading to the error pop-up window of Mac running out of application memory.

Too many browser extensions and tabs: Browser extensions are definitely one of the best ways to improve your web browsing experience. But an excessive amount of browser extensions that are running along with the web browser, even when are not in use, can add up to take a good chunk of your application memory.

Web browsers like Google Chrome are already quite RAM intensive and the addition of extensions and plugins on top of that can bring the RAM usage to a whole new level. For instance, my Google Chrome takes more than 20GB of application resources alone.

Memory Leak: This is an issue where a program asks for more and more space over time as it runs but never gives that memory back. It is commonly known as a memory leak. Since there is a continuously increasing usage of memory, this issue can further give birth to the ‘Your system has run out of application memory.‘ issue.

How to Fix “Your system has run out of application memory” on Mac

Now that you have understood the issue and the possible cause behind it, it’s time to resolve the issue. Here are the working fixes to the Your system has run out of application memory.‘ error.

1. Restart the Mac

This is a very basic and primary thing to do in your face an issue on your PC. Restarting the Mac will close all the hidden background processes and unused apps and will provide you with a fresh system to start your work again. To restart your Mac:

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner.

2. Now, click on Restart… to perform a reboot of the system.

2. Check for Software Update

There are possibilities that the error is popping up again and again because of a known bug in the version of the macOS you are using. Apple might have sent you a software update to fix the issue.

Hence, I would advise you to have a look at if there is any pending software update on your PC. To do this:

1. Click on the Apple logo from the top left corner.

2. Select About This Mac from the list.

3. Under the Overview tab, click on the Software Update… option.

This will make your PC look for any pending software updates. If there is any, then download it and follow the on-screen instructions to install it.

3. Force Quit unused apps

You may have a limited amount of RAM capacity on your Mac, which means you might have to run the applications in a controlled manner.

Running a lot of applications carelessly with no usage is gonna consume a good chunk of your system memory, ultimately leading the system to run out of memory for the apps that are used frequently and continuously.

I would strongly advise your to Force close the apps that are not necessary. To do so:

1. Open Finder from the Dock.

2. Go to Applications and then Utilities.

3. Open Activity Monitor.

4. Now, go to the Memory tab and look for apps that are unnecessarily running. Click on them can close them by clicking on the cross button on the top.

4. Use the Storage Management feature

As the macOS also uses the boot drive as an additional RAM, if there is not a sufficient amount of empty space there, it can bring the ‘Your system has run out of application memory.’ error message to life.

Hence keeping the storage space empty to an extent of about 20% of the total storage space. For instance, if you have 256GB of storage space on your Mac, there should be 51.2GB of free space on the disk.

To clean up the Mac storage you can use Apple’s storage management feature.

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner and select About This Mac.

2. Go to the Storage tab and click on the Manage… button.

3. Now browse the Applications, Documents, iCloud Drive, etc. and look for unnecessary files and applications and delete them.

5. Close unnecessary tabs in the browser

Web browsers are one of the most RAM-hungry applications and Google Chrome is on the top of this list. But you can limit their RAM usage to some extent by closing unnecessary tabs that are open for no reason.

This will allow the browser to run on fewer RAM resources, keeping the application memory usage under control.

6. Remove unnecessary browser extensions

The browser extensions can be equally bad as much as they are helpful in some cases. This is because whenever the browser is in use, its extensions work in the backend even when are not in use.

Hence, I would strongly advise you to either disable or remove the unnecessary extensions that you use on your web browser.

Also, do not use any third-party browser extension which is not from a reliable source as it is not just good for the RAM but also for your privacy.

7. Uninstall unnecessary apps

Uninstalling unused apps from the PC can be a really good practice to keep storage usage under control.

This will not just keep your Mac clutter-free but is also good for the health of your Mac. To Uninstall the apps:

1. Open Finder from the Dock.

2. Go to Applications, right-click on the app, and click on Move to Bin. You can also drag the application to the Bin instead of selecting the Move to Bin option.

8. Clear the Bin

macOS stores the deleted files and apps in the bin, in case if someone wants to restore an accidentally deleted item.

And since the Bin also uses the storage of the PC to store those deleted files, you can say that the files are still occupying the same amount of space even after being deleted.

Hence, in order to clear the storage, it is necessary to clear the Bin. To clear the Bin:

1. Open Bin from the Dock.

2. Once, you are in the Bin, right-click and select Empty Bin.

This is clear all the Bin by permanently deleting all the data. This means that the data is completely gone and can not be recovered.

Hence make sure that you don’t have anything important in the Bin before clearing the Bin.

9. Install more RAM

Lastly, if none of the solutions works for you and you also believe that the issue is not related to any unusual bug or error in OS, then it is quite obvious that the RAM capacity on your system is not enough for what you do on your Mac.

Hence, you will have to have more RAM on your Mac. Check if your Mac computer comes with options to upgrade RAM, storage, etc. This is because the latest Mac PCs come with no option for an upgrade after purchase.

If your Mac supports further expansion of the hardware then you can visit the Apple Store to have your RAM capacity increased or else, you’ll have to upgrade to a new Mac with more RAM and storage.

So these were the ways to fix the “Your system has run out of application memory.” error on your Mac. This message is a clear indication that your Mac is not getting the proper amount of RAM and virtual memory to cope with the number of apps and tasks you are doing.

The basic thing is to solve the issue either by clearing the RAM, and storage or by adding more RAM to the system. Adding more RAM can be an expensive solution to the issue and hence it is advised to use the PC in a controlled manner with managed storage use.

I hope this fixing guide was helpful to you. If it was, then please consider sharing it with the needy ones. Also, if you have any questions, suggestions, or more fixes to the issue then please mention them in the comments below. I’ll surely take them into consideration.

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Bhanu Pratap

Hi! I am Bhanu Pratap, co-founder of Yorker Media Group. A die-heart fan of tech and keeps track of every little happening of the same. When not writing, I usually keep myself busy on YouTube making and exploring new and awesome tech content.

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