[Fixed] Your System Has Run Out of Application Memory on Mac

Clare Phang
Last updated: Jun 5, 2024

Discover the meaning behind "Your system has run out of application memory" and explore 7 troubleshooting tips to resolve this common issue on your Mac. Read on for detailed solutions!

"MacBook Pro Keeps on Saying Your System Has Run out of Application Memory when I only have Safari, Chrome, and Spotify opened. Help?"

- A Question from Quora.

This issue frustrates many Mac users. If you're experiencing the same problem, read this blog to understand what the "Your system has run out of application memory" error means and discover 7 ways to fix it.

[Fixed] Your System Has Run Out of Application Memory on Mac

What Does "Your System Has Run Out of Application Memory" Mean on Mac?

The message "Your system has run out of application memory" means that your memory (RAM) is maxed out due to running numerous applications and resource-intensive processes. To ensure your Mac functions smoothly, you need to free up RAM.

How to Check Memory Usage on Mac

Before diving into solutions, let's first understand how to check your Mac's memory usage:

Here are the steps:

  1. Open Activity Monitor via Launchpad or Spotlight.
  2. Navigate to the Memory tab to see each process's memory consumption.
  3. Below the process list, you will see a graph showing memory capacity, memory used, memory pressure, swap used, and more.
Check Memory Usage on Mac

7 Fixes for the "Your System Has Run Out of Application Memory" Issue on Mac

Once you've checked your memory usage, follow these steps to free up RAM and resolve the issue:

1. Quit Unused Apps

Having too many apps running in the background can significantly consume your Mac's memory. It's necessary to quit unused apps promptly.

From the Force Quit Applications list, select the apps you want to quit and click the Force Quit button.

If the error message persists, move on to the next step.

Force Quit the Apps You're Not Using

2. Restart Your Mac

Restarting is the easiest and most effective way to resolve any problem with your Mac. Cache files and temporary files are automatically cleared when you restart your Mac.

If the issue persists after Mac restarts, continue reading.

3. Clear Disk Space

Another troubleshooting method is to free up disk space on your Mac. When your RAM is full, the system automatically swaps some files from RAM to a partition on your hard disk. While the size of this partition is not fixed, it is influenced by the amount of available disk space. If your Mac is running low on disk space, its performance can significantly decline.

To free up disk space effectively, consider using BuhoCleaner, a top Mac cleaning tool. With a few simple clicks, you can enhance your Mac's speed. No specialized skills or commands are required.

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
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Here's how it works:

  1. Download, install, and launch BuhoCleaner.
  2. Click the Scan button and clear the results according to your needs.
  3. Navigate to its other features to further clean up your Mac.
Clear Disk Space with BuhoCleaner

4. Close Unused Browser Tabs and Extensions

You may have numerous tabs open, and if you forget to close them, they continue to consume your Mac's application memory in the background. It's recommended that you close these tabs promptly.

Additionally, for an enhanced browsing experience, you might have several extensions installed in your browser. These extensions automatically activate when you open your browser. If you find some of these extensions unnecessary, remember to access your browser settings and remove them.

5. Reduce Login Items

Login items are apps that launch automatically when you boot up your Mac. As they launch, they consume a significant amount of memory space. To reduce memory usage on your Mac, you can also decrease the number of applications that launch at startup.

To do this, go to System Settings > General > Login Items, select the unnecessary startup items, and click the Minus (-) button.

The BuhoCleaner also serves as a startup manger that enables you to manage login items and startup services effectively.

6. Uninstall Unused Apps

It's a good idea to uninstall unused apps from your Mac as they can occupy a significant amount of your storage space. When you examine programs like Microsoft Office, Photoshop, iMovie, and Xcode, you may be surprised by the space they consume.

If you no longer need certain apps, you can delete them using the Finder or a third-party app uninstaller like BuhoCleaner. By doing so, you'll free up a substantial amount of disk space.

Related Article: How to Completely Uninstall Apps on Mac.

7. Update Your macOS

The last, but not least, method to try is updating your macOS. Some users have reported that bugs in macOS can lead to the "application memory running out" issue.

If none of the above methods work for you, go to System Settings > General > Software Update to download and install the latest macOS version.

Update macOS
Whenever you plan to update or downgrade your macOS, it's recommended to create a backup for your Mac beforehand to effectively prevent the risk of losing important data.


We hope that by following these methods, you have successfully resolved the "Your system has run out of application memory" issue on your Mac. If not, consider adding more RAM, resetting NVRAM or PRAM, or reaching out to Apple Support.

If this guide was helpful, please share it with others. Your support is invaluable!

Clare Phang has been captivated by the world of Apple products since the launch of the iconic iPhone in 2007. With a wealth of experience, Clare is your go-to source for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and all things Apple.