Agreed, it definitely looks like you’re out of memory. It could be too many apps running at the same time, try closing some down. It all depends what the apps are doing, e.g. are they performing backups or indexing. Also, Electron apps use a lot of RAM, are the messaging apps Electron (e.g. WhatsApp, Signal)?
When I was testing an 8GB M1 (which I returned as it was only temporary while I waited for a 16GB), closing apps caused the system to become more responsive relatively quickly. I found the 8GB was filled with 3-4 apps running, and then the system was noticeably slower.
The slowdown will be due to the system using the SDD as a cache.
I have to agree on previous speculation of Safari and ram. Safari is a pig at the moment, and is telling me webpages are using significant memory, and I should close them. This is a bit of role reversal, that’s what macOS and Safari are supposed to handle.
I should probably just go back to Brave.
You have a lot of data going out which would make me think BackBlaze has a lot to backup. How is it configured? I would start by closing one app at a time and checking memory usage to see who frees it up.
Agree that Safari is a pig, many sites that I go to, begin telling me webpages are using significant memory as well. I tried to go back to a “safari-only” lifestyle and avoid Chrome. But I may go back to Chrome, or maybe try something new. Unfortunately, the search results between browsers (Safari vs DuckDuckGo) are so very different.
It sounds like you have some sort of memory leak somewhere, but I think BackBlaze might be contributing to the sluggishness. Although I have always heard it shouldn’t do this, but with the default settings with a large backup to do, Backblaze slows down anything web based considerably. I don’t notice it once that backup is done though. I would pause the backup, and turn it back on when you are done for the day. See if that helps.
That is always my first step if things are acting weird and closing apps doesn’t fix it.
My understanding is that M1 and T2 equipped Macs the data on the internal SSDis always encrypted, regardless of if you have File Vault turned on or not. All turning on file vault does is protect the disk’s encryption key with your password.
The problem here is that it’s specifically kernel_task that is the problem:
It’s difficult to know what it’s doing.
Restarting the machine might well make things worse - if it causes kernel_task to start over.
I think the only thing to do is to just wait for this activity to complete. But after a few days you might have to restart anyway - and hope for the best.
BTW there still being data in the swap file isn’t necessarily an indicator of a current problem. Until those pages are needed they’re probably going to stay out there - even if memory became plentiful.