[looking for advice] trimming down background apps

I am using a M1 MacMini with 16Gb RAM. I am facing the issue of “running out of memory” warning or errors. I think may be I need to limit the use of background app. I have Alfred running all the time and I do not intend to change it. Same for Hazel.

However, there are two apps that I do not know how to handle it. One is Popclip, the other is Keyboard Maestro. Popclip can be handy but I do not regard it as a must. KM is similar but if I do not have them running in the background I have to invoke them every time I want to use them.

I have already remove Paste after trialling it as I think one of the background app can replace it.

I know everyone’s use case is a bit different but I would like to hear your advice , especially using these background app on limited RAM situation like M1

I’m using a Macbook Air M1 with 8GB RAM, and I’m using more than 20 background apps which reside on the menubar (Alfred, BTT, Popclip, Bartender 4, Karabiner-Elements, iStat menus, to name only a few of them). But I haven’t seen any “running out of memery” warning yet.

forgot to mention that I also have Hook running in the background too (and obviously with Antivirus app, etc too)

Looking at the memory usage, the top 3 offenders are Backblaze, Bitdefender and Mail (each over 1Gb)

comparing with that is DT3 only using 370MB

this may also be related to the memory leak issue for Monterey. I suspected the cause is not only related to the mouse pointer

@David_H , are you using Monterey ?

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Yes, I’m also using Monterey. But I don’t use Backblaze, Bitedefender, which, in your case, take up lots of memory. My current top 3 are DEVONthink 3 (2.04GB); Chrome and Safari (each of which takes up less than 1GB memory at this moment).

Howard Oakley has documented more memory leaks in Monterey and it’s quite possible there are more yet. Hopefully these will be fixed in 12.1.

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@fuzzygel and @anon20961960, have you ever taken a look at your available disc space when you see the warning, or notice one or more processes growing for no apparent reason?

I have 309 Gb left, should be enough for RAM swapping ?

But are you currently in a “running out of memory” condition?

yes, a couple of times everyday

However, apart from memory issue, I also like to consolidate the use of background apps too.

Sorry, I meant are you in a “running out of memory” condition right now?

yes, I am , as I said, I have this warning a couple of times a day from CleanMyMac X. I posted similar issues on other posts on this forum

I tried that but if ignore the warnings, eventually Mac OS will stop running, I have screenshots of that but need to dig them out

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I have also run into those errors (16gb RAM on my M1 MBP) but I think that this is more of a “Monterey memory leak” problem than “my background apps are using too much memory” problem. I don’t use Backblaze or Bitdefender but I’m usually running ~10 apps that never close and 11+ menubar apps. In general I don’t really think trimming down background apps is worth it as many of mine serve an important purpose (OneDrive for sync, Raycast for running apps/scripts, Toggl for time tracking, etc).

Haven’t run into another memory leak for a few weeks now though.

found the screenshot, I posted here

On that other thread, @Topre posted a screenshot of iStat Menus showing the system was almost out of swap space. That is the only condition that I can think of that would make the system want the user to shut down processes manually. It would be interesting to know how much swap space your machine is configured with, and whether increasing swap space helps.

In a modern OS, it should not normally be necessary to prune background processes. By “normally” I mean in the absence of a very large number of apps.

OTOH, in that other thread, @ismh noted that this issue seems to have been around for quite some time. It appears to be getting worse rather than better, however.

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I have a M1 Macbook Air 16GB RAM and till now I never ran into a memory leak on Monterey. I don’t use a lot of 3rd party apps and try to keep as close to Apples ecosystem as possible.
Keyboard Maestro is as light as a program can be, using just 0.1 % of my systems battery and using 140MB RAM it isn’t that demanding.

Looking at your apps… what do you need CleanmyMac for?
And why do you use Bitdefender?

I’m just curious. Before I got my Mac, security software was kind of a hobby for me. Studying hardware engineering back then I even took some courses in security management. I messed around with malware, keyloggers, trojan horses and from 1998-2015 I tried every single anti malware software on the market. I was using sandboxes,…

What I’m trying to say: I really was neck deep into every kind of security related app there was. And the one thing I learned, for me: They aren’t worth the hassle. They almost always mess with your system, one way or the other, causing conflicts, causing leaks, causing too high CPU usage, and so on. Bitdefender was one of the worst. And they can’t protect you against the really nasty stuff, like 0-day threats. I won’t say you don’t need antimalware stuff on Mac. Although imho it is still very unusual to get malware on an Apple device.
But using something like Little Snitch or a on demand scanner, that won’t constantly scan your ssd makes more sense.

The other thing I would advice against is any optimization tool. I know, cleanmymac has a good reputation and all, but you can never be sure it doesn’t mess around with something.


One thing you could do is leverage your phone. For example, you posted a screenshot of Mail having your third-highest memory usage. You could just quit Mail when not using it, and rely on push notifications from your phone? Similarly, if you stream any music from your Mac, that could easily be done from your phone instead. I do that when trying to conserve battery on my older MBP.

I guess I can start another forum discussion topics - Do you need AV on Mac and which is the best AV / anti-malware software