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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > Will Apple ever fix the Safari memory leak?

Will Apple ever fix the Safari memory leak?
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Jul 27, 2006, 03:21 PM
 
For as long as I can remember, Safari has had a disgusting memory leak. I running build 419.3 and I currently have 4 tabs opened and it's hogging up 268 MB of ram. No browser should ever use up that much RAM. So my question is, is Apple ever going to fix this ongoing problem?

I run RAM instenive apps like Photoshop all day long and I need to run Safari in the background as well. After a while my machine begins to slow down considerably and it's because Safari is eating up all the RAM. Quiting that APP fixes this issues but we shouldnt have to do that all day long.

I love Safari to death, best browser out there, but this memory leak is a major problem.

I also read about nightly builds of Safari that have improved on this, where can I get them?
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Jul 27, 2006, 03:49 PM
 
I saw a link to a nightly build here once and tried it out. Although it seemed to make the memory leak problem a little better, it didn't fix it entirely, and it broke other things in odd places.

I have no clue why the leak isn't fixed yet, other than the fact that Software is Hard, and sometimes bugs are hard to totally eradicate.
     
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Jul 27, 2006, 03:56 PM
 
There are actually many different leaks, not one big one, as well as things that aren't leaks but still take lots of memory. Many leaks have been closed in the nightly builds, since they're using ~1 year newer code than the system version of Safari.

Check out nightly.webkit.org
     
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Jul 27, 2006, 05:51 PM
 
Help them out!

Leak Hunting

Finding Leaks
Memory leaks are one of our main areas of interest. Since the average user will only notice them by growing memory usage, we don't see as many bugreports on them as we'd like. This is some information about how to hunt down those leaks. The Mac OS X Developer Tools include a very useful program for leak detection. Here's how you can use it:

• Get a fresh WebKit build, ideally a Debug build as this turns off the various custom allocators in WebKit.
• Set the MallocStackLogging environment variable to YES (in bash, export MallocStackLogging=YES, in tcsh, setenv MallocStackLogging YES).
• Run Safari using run-safari.
• Browse around a little.
• From the command line, run leaks Safari.

At this point, if you've found memory leaks, the leaks program will tell you how many, and give stack traces for each. You can file a report, along with a description of what steps you took to get the leak, at Bugzilla. Put “LEAK:” at the start of the title so that it's easy to find.

If you want to write an even better bug report, see if you can reproduce the leak by following some specific set of steps, and include them in the bug. You can also look at the backtraces in the leak report and see if you can eliminate duplicates. It’s useful to file a separate bug report for each unique leak, and to consolidate duplicate leaks on different sites. Also, check out our general document about filing bugs.

Destroy All Leaks
If you want to help with finding and fixing leaks, and you need more advice, contact us. Happy hunting.

http://webkit.opendarwin.org/quality/leakhunting.html


And yes, I'm pretty frustrated with Safari's leaks especially when you have tons of tabs.
     
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Jul 27, 2006, 11:45 PM
 
Except the high memory usage isn't because of leaks, it's supposed to be that way. They cache more or less depending on the amount of system memory. Taking up 200+MB of RAM isn't necessarily a bad thing.

In conclusion, all you whiners need to shut up.
     
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Jul 28, 2006, 02:18 AM
 
I checked Activity monitor and found Safari at 997 megs!
     
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Jul 28, 2006, 02:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thinine
Except the high memory usage isn't because of leaks, it's supposed to be that way. They cache more or less depending on the amount of system memory. Taking up 200+MB of RAM isn't necessarily a bad thing.

In conclusion, all you whiners need to shut up.
Including the direct quote from the webkit team saying leaks are a top priority? Is that whining?
     
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Jul 28, 2006, 10:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thinine
Except the high memory usage isn't because of leaks, it's supposed to be that way. They cache more or less depending on the amount of system memory. Taking up 200+MB of RAM isn't necessarily a bad thing.

In conclusion, all you whiners need to shut up.
There are no whiners here, everyone are trying to be constructive.

Read carefully before posting next time ok?
     
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Jul 28, 2006, 11:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thinine
Except the high memory usage isn't because of leaks
Some of it is because of leaks. Apple says so itself.

Taking up 200+MB of RAM isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Taking up 200+ MB of RAM is necessarily a bad thing, if you don't have any option to limit it.

My record so far is 500 MB on a machine with only 1 GB total.
     
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Jul 28, 2006, 10:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Adam Betts
Help them out!

Leak Hunting

Finding Leaks
Memory leaks are one of our main areas of interest. Since the average user will only notice them by growing memory usage, we don't see as many bugreports on them as we'd like. This is some information about how to hunt down those leaks. The Mac OS X Developer Tools include a very useful program for leak detection. Here's how you can use it:

• Get a fresh WebKit build, ideally a Debug build as this turns off the various custom allocators in WebKit.
• Set the MallocStackLogging environment variable to YES (in bash, export MallocStackLogging=YES, in tcsh, setenv MallocStackLogging YES).
• Run Safari using run-safari.
• Browse around a little.
• From the command line, run leaks Safari.

At this point, if you've found memory leaks, the leaks program will tell you how many, and give stack traces for each. You can file a report, along with a description of what steps you took to get the leak, at Bugzilla. Put “LEAK:” at the start of the title so that it's easy to find.

If you want to write an even better bug report, see if you can reproduce the leak by following some specific set of steps, and include them in the bug. You can also look at the backtraces in the leak report and see if you can eliminate duplicates. It’s useful to file a separate bug report for each unique leak, and to consolidate duplicate leaks on different sites. Also, check out our general document about filing bugs.

Destroy All Leaks
If you want to help with finding and fixing leaks, and you need more advice, contact us. Happy hunting.

http://webkit.opendarwin.org/quality/leakhunting.html


And yes, I'm pretty frustrated with Safari's leaks especially when you have tons of tabs.

Adam, thanks. I'm going to try and help out as much as I can.
i hate project managers.
     
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Jul 29, 2006, 12:34 AM
 
Whilst the leaks aren't a good thing they aren't as bad as you may think. Since the leaked memory is not likely to be accessed it will eventually get paged out to disk. So even though Safari's memory usage might be reported as very high the amount of physical memory actually in use is likely to be much lower.
     
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Sep 13, 2006, 02:00 AM
 
I win.

     
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Sep 13, 2006, 10:05 AM
 
good grief !
     
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Sep 13, 2006, 10:56 AM
 
Holy mother!
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Sep 13, 2006, 04:47 PM
 
I've never had Safari use more than 29Mb of 768Mb on my iMac.
     
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Sep 13, 2006, 04:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5
I've never had Safari use more than 29Mb of 768Mb on my iMac.
Uh...you sure?

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Sep 13, 2006, 05:00 PM
 
To be fair, that above screengrab was with Safari open for many hours, and with a lot of browser windows open. Actually, I was "only" in the 900s and decided to open a few extra windows to push it over the edge.

But still. Even 500 MB memory usage should be unnecessary, let alone 900+.


Originally Posted by imitchellg5
I've never had Safari use more than 29Mb of 768Mb on my iMac.
When you first open it maybe. Surf around for a few hours and then tell us what happens. This is Safari with ONE browser window open at MacNN, and no tabs.



Anything over about 200 MB for Safari is very problematic on this machine, because it will page to disk very quickly due to the fact I only have 1 GB RAM on this Cube.

This is Safari, after I've relaunched it.

     
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Sep 13, 2006, 06:01 PM
 
Unfortunetly I don't ever surf for more than 30 min
     
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Sep 13, 2006, 06:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5
Unfortunetly I don't ever surf for more than 30 min
I often surf for 30-60 min, but then I'll just close my MacBook when I'm done, without quitting Safari.

After a few sessions, the total is a couple of hours, and the memory usage is often 300 MB or higher.
     
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Oct 14, 2006, 04:16 PM
 
Keep in mind a "standard" user who purchased a Mac for the ease of use and has NEVER opened Activity Monitor or looked at the preferences of the pre-installed browser.

My wife has recently started complaining about her system slowing down. It is an eMac with 640MB RAM. She has been using this system for three years to run her web business. She has a bad habit of never closing an application after closing the last window of that application even though I've tried to explain that it leaves the application running -- it's not that she's coming from a Windows environment where that does end the application -- it is because I from the System 7-9 era and you had to close everything to have enough memory to open something else. In that sense, X has allowed non-technical people to enjoy multi-tasking without having to manage memory. And leaving an application open, but idle, really shouldn't bother other applications.

But, it seems in the last three or four months, some of the blogs or sites she visits are bloating Safari's memory. I'm not sure which site or sites are causing it -- I've not looked, but FireFox does not have this problem. I only figured out that it was Safari by looking at Activity Monitor. I missed it at first glance -- never thinking Safari would be taking up 400MB+ -- I read it as 400KB+. After shutting down Safari and restarting it, that fell to 20MB or so.

This is a problem. I encourage people who are frustrated with other platforms to look at the Mac platform. They should not be expected to have to investigate this sort of thing -- especially on pre-installed, default software from the manufacturer. Those of us who understand where to look to solve these problems, are probably avoiding them all together by using alternative browsers -- so the problem does not seem that important.

Looking this up today, I've found this problem has been documented since Safari first came out -- yet there is still a problem today -- that is very hard, and discouraging, to believe.

She is slowly using FireFox more and more -- and I'm sure she'll now remember to turn off Safari every once in a while, but when I sat down just now, it was open from this morning and was using 248MB -- with no windows open.

eMac 1GHz
640MB RAM
OS X 10.4.7 (Build 8J135)
Safari 2.0.4 (419.3)
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Oct 14, 2006, 07:03 PM
 
What else is she running at the same time?

And like I've said before, much of this memory usage is expected caching.
     
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Oct 15, 2006, 12:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thinine
What else is she running at the same time?

And like I've said before, much of this memory usage is expected caching.
If it's intentional, then it's in some ways even worse. I don't want or need Safari to cache over 100 MB worth of stuff, and would thus want a pref to turn off this "feature", or at least limit it.

P.S. Right now Safari is using over 300 MB on my system, and I just launched it yesterday.
     
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Oct 15, 2006, 07:54 AM
 
why is it that my Omniweb doesn't show these problems? I have it open 15 Days and the real mem usage is "only" 256mb while virtual mem is 760mb. They use basically the same engine underneath (though Omniweb 5.5 is I think using a more up to date version.
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Oct 15, 2006, 11:16 AM
 
I think I read that the Leopard version of Safari has the problem fixed. Maybe if you try one of those 'nightly' versions of Safari?

You could try Shiira too, that uses webkit also, you could see if it has the memory problem.

I would recommend she uses Camino over Firefox. The only reason to use Firefox is the extensions it has, otherwise Camino is lighter and better.
     
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Oct 15, 2006, 01:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Pither
why is it that my Omniweb doesn't show these problems? I have it open 15 Days and the real mem usage is "only" 256mb while virtual mem is 760mb. They use basically the same engine underneath (though Omniweb 5.5 is I think using a more up to date version.
I don't believe Webkit has anything to do with this severe memory leak we're seeing. I feel it's caused by Safari's front-end.

Best temporary solution is to quit Safari after every 12-24 hours.
     
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Oct 18, 2006, 04:06 AM
 
SO let me get this straight, you people NEVER close your safari and it continues to cache and **** in the background adding more memory use and it never occurred to you that maybe you should close it when your done? Good grief I love the computers / OS, but you people need some serious help.

CLOSE THE DAMN APP when your not using it, memory problem solved.
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Oct 18, 2006, 05:00 AM
 
These memory problems are really fixed in the nightly builds from:

WebKit Nightly Builds

I've tried it.
     
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Oct 18, 2006, 06:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by ChasingApple View Post
SO let me get this straight, you people NEVER close your safari and it continues to cache and **** in the background adding more memory use and it never occurred to you that maybe you should close it when your done? Good grief I love the computers / OS, but you people need some serious help.

CLOSE THE DAMN APP when your not using it, memory problem solved.
Why when every other app can stay running all the time without cause these problems. There is a major problem with Safari and it needs to be fixed.

I just did a little test with 3 tabs opened. Afte launch the app was using up 40mb of RAM with 3 tabs open. I just left it there doing nothing and the RAM climbed up to 200 MB. Thats a problem.
( Last edited by drainyoo; Oct 18, 2006 at 06:21 PM. )
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Oct 19, 2006, 02:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by Tsilou B. View Post
These memory problems are really fixed in the nightly builds from:

WebKit Nightly Builds

I've tried it.

The cache problems that were just fixed in the nightlies have a more thorough solution being worked on right now; might be worth waiting a few days for hyatt to finish it.

[17131] - WebKit - Trac <-- and there we go. Expect a bit of fallout from it.
( Last edited by Catfish_Man; Oct 19, 2006 at 06:26 AM. Reason: Epic Win)
     
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Oct 21, 2006, 01:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Adam Betts View Post
I don't believe Webkit has anything to do with this severe memory leak we're seeing. I feel it's caused by Safari's front-end.

Best temporary solution is to quit Safari after every 12-24 hours.
It's Webkit. I have the same problem with NetNewsWire.
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Oct 21, 2006, 03:51 PM
 
What's with you nay sayers?

That stair step is broken, so what? Why don't you just step over it? It never twisted MY ankle, you should just get off the floor and stop whining. Besides, it's not like you fractured it. I never take that stairway but my opinion is that it's Just Fine. You should just be happy there is a stairway at all, imagine climbing a ladder with that hurt ankle.

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Oct 22, 2006, 03:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gavin View Post
What's with you nay sayers?

That stair step is broken, so what? Why don't you just step over it? It never twisted MY ankle, you should just get off the floor and stop whining. Besides, it's not like you fractured it. I never take that stairway but my opinion is that it's Just Fine. You should just be happy there is a stairway at all, imagine climbing a ladder with that hurt ankle.

Some of us build stairs.

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Nov 12, 2006, 04:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
I win.

No, I win.

( Last edited by nobitacu; Nov 12, 2006 at 04:56 AM. )
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Nov 12, 2006, 08:13 PM
 
Wow.

People should definitely try the latest WebKit nightlies. The caching mechanism is much smarter now about how much stuff to keep around.
     
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Nov 13, 2006, 01:01 PM
 
Too bad Saft doesn't play well with the nightlies. I refuse to use Safari without Saft..

     
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Nov 13, 2006, 03:12 PM
 
so is the trick to relaunch it every now and then? what is this webkit nightly thingy?
blah
     
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Nov 13, 2006, 03:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jolt21 View Post
so is the trick to relaunch it every now and then? what is this webkit nightly thingy?
Safari is an application shell around Apple's open source html/css/javascript engine called WebKit. You can get a little launcher program at nightly.webkit.org that tricks Safari into using a freshly downloaded WebKit, which will get you most or all of the shiny new rendering stuff (and all the regressions, so beware!).

The primary purpose of the nightlies is testing, so if you use them, please consider getting involved. webkit.org has great documentation on how you can help, and the #webkit irc channel on freenode is very friendly.
     
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Nov 13, 2006, 03:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Catfish_Man View Post
that tricks Safari into using a freshly downloaded WebKit, which will get you most or all of the shiny new rendering stuff (and all the regressions, so beware!).
can someone post a pic of what webkit can do? i'm still not fully understanding. so it just modifies safari? or is it another application on its own? and what will a "freshly downloaded WebKit" do? why do you need a new one everyday?
blah
     
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Nov 13, 2006, 04:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jolt21 View Post
can someone post a pic of what webkit can do?
i'm still not fully understanding. so it just modifies safari? or is it another application on its own?
It's another application that launches Safari behind the scenes.

and what will a "freshly downloaded WebKit" do?
Have all the latest features (SVG support, for example), speed improvements, and bugs.

why do you need a new one everyday?
Because otherwise you'll be testing an old version, which is not much use to them. Nobody's forcing you to download one every day though.
     
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Nov 13, 2006, 06:31 PM
 
camino has been open a couple of hours and is only 55mb..

safari needs to get fixed.
     
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Feb 19, 2007, 05:46 PM
 
Safari really needs to get fixed. Firefox is good but too ugly.
Apple blocks any kind of post about Safari's memory leaks at Apple - Support.
     
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Feb 19, 2007, 05:54 PM
 
webmotiva: Apple's support forums are trash. The community around WebKit is much much better, and actively requests reports of memory leaks.

That said, they want *reports* of memory leaks, not whining. That means leaks output, testcases where possible, trying it on the latest nightly builds, etc...
     
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Feb 20, 2007, 01:25 PM
 
Mine doesn't seem so leeky. Safari has been open for 4 days with intensive use. It was on 188 and jumped to 192 when i openend 3 more tabs. Of course i think 192 megs for a webbrowser is a lot. While wrinting this and closing the 3 other tabs it dropped back to 189.

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Feb 20, 2007, 08:15 PM
 
But try to open more than 10 tabs, including Flickr and flash-based sites.
My Safari requires more than 400MB but Firefox less than 175MB.
     
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Feb 20, 2007, 08:25 PM
 
Can I ask what is the activity monitor?

And what should I look for on these numbers?
     
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Feb 20, 2007, 08:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by earthlings View Post
Can I ask what is the activity monitor?

And what should I look for on these numbers?
Open Finder window > Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor should be at the top.

Pretty much, AM shows what apps and services are using CPU power, RAM, etc.
     
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Feb 21, 2007, 12:26 AM
 
I'm using the latest nightly and it seems a little better so far. Also seems to render a little faster.
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Feb 21, 2007, 08:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thinine View Post
Except the high memory usage isn't because of leaks, it's supposed to be that way. They cache more or less depending on the amount of system memory. Taking up 200+MB of RAM isn't necessarily a bad thing.

In conclusion, all you whiners need to shut up.
In conclusion you don't know what you are talking about obviously.
     
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Feb 21, 2007, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by DuckRacer1 View Post
Open Finder window > Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor should be at the top.

Pretty much, AM shows what apps and services are using CPU power, RAM, etc.
ok thanks
     
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Feb 21, 2007, 04:21 PM
 
Safari's memory leak: Safari Memory Leak on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I did the same procedure.
Open a directory with 40 sites in tabs. Back to only 1 page (www.apple.com).

Check how Safari does not take the ram back!
     
 
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