App Memory used at bootup is suddenly 3.5x as much

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by doctormelodious, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. doctormelodious macrumors newbie

    doctormelodious

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    #1
    Greetings,

    I am running the latest update of El Capitan (on a 500 GB SSD) on a Mac Mini Late 2009 with 8 GB RAM. El Cap is the end of the line for this machine.

    When I boot from yesterday morning's backup of my startup disk, at bootup the App Memory number in Activity Monitor is 1.02 GB with no apps open (other than startup things like Carbon Copy Cleaner and Memory Cleaner, which I only use for its display). However, today when I boot from the startup disk itself, the App Memory number is 3.57 GB.

    When I look at the Memory list in Activity Monitor (sorted by amount used, descending), I don't see any apps using huge amounts. But i do notice a lot of smaller-footprint processes that are suddenly using many times more RAM than they used yesterday. A few examples:

    • CalendarAgent went from 16.3 MB to 51.5 MB
    • Spotlight from 15.4 to 47.2
    • Finder from 13.4 to 43.5
    • CalNCService from 10.6 to 42.7
    • suggestd from 7.1 to 40.6

    I didn't go through the entire list to see if the numbers added up to the increase I'm seeing, but I'm guessing that they do.

    I have rebooted from each drive multiple times to verify this behavior. I have booted the startup disk into Safe Mode twice. I have also zapped the PRAM multiple times in a row. No change.

    What could possibly be causing this? There are only two things I can think of that I've done since the previous backup:

    Bought and connected a Logitech C270 webcam: My computer wouldn't recognize it. The box says "Mac FaceTime" right on the front, but the Logitech web site says it's Windows only. After much Googling, I found out about the Logitech Camera Settings app available from the App Store. I downloaded and ran it, and it told me it needed to run in the background for the camera to work correctly. I clicked OK, and all was well. Just now I ran it again and disabled running in background. Also deleted the app and restarted. This had virtually no effect on the numbers in Activity Monitor.

    Played around with Dictation and Text to Speech: Dictation is a known RAM hog. I opted for the Enhanced Dictation, which downloads a 1.22 GB language recognition file and uses that rather than sending your speech to Apple's servers. When I was through playing with this, I switched it off in System Preferences. Could there still be a ghost of this process causing processes like the ones I listed above to swell in their RAM usage?

    Attached are dumps of the Activity Monitor data (with my real account name changed to "[my real name]", and a couple of screenshots.

    Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!
    DM
     

    Attached Files:

  2. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #2
    If your memory pressure is Green then relax and just use the device, likely there is some cache size differences etc that will work themselves out, the main thing is the RAM isn't stuck, lost or in any way unavailable to the system so it <will> sort itself out in due course.

    I'd suspect the 3.5Gb is the "correct" figure and the 1Gb is because you are booting from a backup but thats just my thoughts...OSX ram management is excellent and not something I've worried about for years...
     
  3. doctormelodious thread starter macrumors newbie

    doctormelodious

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    #3
    Thanks for the reply, simonsi.

    Just to be clear, prior to yesterday, the startup drive itself showed much lower App Memory usage at bootup. What is now the backup simply reflects this. Something definitely changed yesterday, and though my memory pressure is still low, it's higher than it was before. What Activity Monitor appears to be telling me is that, while the amount of RAM used for cache has actually dropped a bit, the amount of memory being actively used by apps (and hence unavailable) the moment I boot has more than doubled (from 1.99 GB to 4.43 GB).

    By my math, discounting the amount of memory currently holding cached files, (which is reclaimable), I have 3.57 GB of available RAM. By the same metric, yesterday I had 6.01 GB. That said, I am hardly an expert at how MacOS allocates RAM, so someone please educate me if I'm misinterpreting this data. :)

    Thanks again!
    DM

     
  4. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #4
    So post your processes sorted by RAM usage and see if anything unexpected is using RAM, that said app memory doesn't necessarily mean active apps, it can be retaining a closed app in ram in case you want to open it again and as long as it doesn't need the ram for anything else - that is why the ram pressure is just the same despite the app memory being higher...
     
  5. doctormelodious thread starter macrumors newbie

    doctormelodious

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    #5
    >> So post your processes sorted by RAM usage and see if anything unexpected is using RAM

    The text doc I attached in the OP is just that. As I said, there's no one app that's suddenly hogging RAM. It appears to be a whole bunch of small processes, like the handful of examples in the OP, that are suddenly, inexplicably using much more RAM than they used before.

    >> that said app memory doesn't necessarily mean active apps, it can be retaining a closed app in ram in case you want to open it again and as long as it doesn't need the ram for anything else

    I think memory retained for closed apps is reflected in the Cache number, rather than App Memory number. This is from https://support.apple.com/kb/PH19644?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
    • Memory Used: The total amount of memory currently used by all apps and macOS processes.
      • App Memory: The total amount of memory currently used by apps and their processes.
      • Wired Memory: Memory that can’t be compressed or paged out to your startup drive, so it must stay in RAM. The wired memory used by a process can’t be borrowed by other processes. The amount of wired memory used by an app is determined by the app's programmer.
      • Compressed: The amount of memory in RAM that is compressed to make more RAM memory available to other processes. Look in the Compressed Mem column to see the amount of memory compressed for each process.
    • Swap Used: The space used on your startup drive by macOS memory management. It's normal to see some activity here. As long as memory pressure is not in the red state, macOS has memory resources available.
    • Cached Files: Memory that was recently used by apps and is now available for use by other apps. For example, if you've been using Mail and then quit Mail, the RAM that Mail was using becomes part of the memory used by cached files, which then becomes available to other apps. If you open Mail again before its cached-files memory is used (overwritten) by another app, Mail opens more quickly because that memory is quickly converted back to app memory without having to load its contents from your startup drive.
    So, the amount of currently used, non-reclaimable RAM (at bootup, before I manually open any apps) has gone way up from what it was before.

    Again, I really appreciate your help. I'm not trying to be argumentative; just trying to get a handle on what changed from yesterday and all previous days.

    Worst case scenario, I guess I could wipe the startup drive and use CCC to copy the backup back to it. I would hate to have to do that, though.

    Thx!
     
  6. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #6
    So key here is what was the memory usage prior to booting from the Backup yesterday? It looks from your lists (a simple screenshot might be easier to read, I'm on a small screen) that when booted from a backup a bunch of stuff isn't running compared to when booted from your startup disk. That is probably by design or inherent in booting from the backup (remember OSX will know you are booting from a TM backup if that is what it is?

    As above, I suspect the 3.5Gb situation is "normal" for you.
     
  7. doctormelodious, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017

    doctormelodious thread starter macrumors newbie

    doctormelodious

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    #7
    Good question re TM backups, but no, it's clone of the drive, made a couple of days ago. As I've mentioned, the day before everything changed (and long before that), when I was booted from the internal startup drive, 3.57GB was not "normal" for me. When I now boot from the cloned drive, I see RAM numbers and Memory Pressure readings that are consistent with the way my startup drive used to be.

    Something has changed. Something is also making all of those small processes suddenly use multiples of the amount of RAM they used to use.

    Thanks once again for your responses. Thus far, you are the only one! I do appreciate your time. Cheers, DM. :cool:
     
  8. doctormelodious, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017

    doctormelodious thread starter macrumors newbie

    doctormelodious

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017

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