2015 5K with 32GB RAM out of memory?


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 10, 2011
I have a 2015 iMac with 32GB of ram and had a couple of web browsers open, Make MKV, Handbrake, Lightroom, Notes, Mail, Numbers, and maybe iCal and everything stopped working and I received a message about something regarding it running out of memory. The Force Quit window was open and it showed all of the open applications and they were all paused. I tried force quitting all of them, though nothing changed and I had to reboot. For 32GB of ram and the programs I had opened, I expected a bit more.

1. Does this seem abnormal for 32GB of ram?
2. Is there anything I can do differently to prevent this in the future, without having to quit all the programs in the background?



macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
Baltimore, Maryland
Make it happen again and then take a photo of the alert message that you see. Post that back here along with an Etrecheck report. These might give folks a better chance of understanding what happened and why.

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
A much better response would be to try and open Activity Monitor, or just have it running all time, one of your apps likely has a memory leak. Safari is a good culprit, as its is somewhat commen to see it go haywire. Inhad it use 16GB the other day with no windows open.
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macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
Yep, great answer from T'hain. You can also get these memory errors when you're running low on disk space and applications can't page properly. This tends to happen with a large uptime, as memory leaks or paging issues frequently compound over use.

The solution for the above? Turn it off and on again! Also ensure the reopen windows when logging back in option is disabled/unticked. You'd be amazed how much a restart helps. After restarting, Activity Monitor should tell you the rest: who your memory-hungry culprit is.


macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2003
and had a couple of web browsers open, Make MKV, Handbrake,
Web browsers all have memory leaks, all of them. The longer they're open, the more RAM they use. Make MKV and Handbrake are memory intensive. It's not entirely out of the question that the problem is having those particular apps all open, all of the time.

That being said, I have a 27" i7 iMac with 32GB of RAM and have never had those error messages pop up while doing anything.


macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
Stoopid question, I'm sure, but is it really necessary to have all that stuff running at one time...?
I had a similar issue despite having 300gb left on my PCIE SSD and only using safari (7 tabs), chrome (5-6 tabs), fantastical cal, mail, evernote, onedrive, Qsync, google drive, dropbox. After a restart, and SMC reset, I had 19GB free. I have the 2016 version, 4ghz I7, AMD R9 M395X, 500gb SSD .

I love safari and use it for certain tasks: banking, secure sites at work, and chrome for general browsing.

I've recently moved over to onetab on chrome and it certainly shows that not having 10+ tabs open in chrome does help
interestingly, my surface pro 4 seems to let me have 10-20 tabs on chrome and albeit it's not as fast as the imac, it never tends to use more than 3/8 gbs - i think i limited the RAM allocation on the surface when I got it last year.

Try: onetabe on chrome, works well for me tab hoarders like me o_O.
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macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2003
Stoopid question, I'm sure, but is it really necessary to have all that stuff running at one time...?
The OCD side of me agrees with your line of thinking. But the reality is that (in theory) you could every app on your Mac running with no problem at all because the macOS has smart memory management—taking RAM from apps that are open but not doing anything and giving it to ones that are.

The problem arises when you have multiple apps open that ARE doing things (ripping a DVD in Handbrake, downloading apps in iTunes, etc) or have web browser windows open (particularly with multiple tabs open).

That being said, I'll go back to your question and use it as the solution. Do you really need to have all that stuff running at once? ;)