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Remove “Your system has run out of application memory” Mac error

Error pop-ups that say “Your system has run out of application memory” are stirring confusion with Mac users, so here are some considerations on this issue.

What is “Your system has run out of application memory” Mac alert?

When it comes to the hardware and software design of Mac computers, Apple stays the course of delivering consistently high performance. That’s the way things usually pan out, but sometimes unexpected errors taint the user experience when there appear to be no causes for such activity. When the amount of available RAM, often referred to as memory, significantly exceeds the total consumption by all running programs, an alert that goes “Your system has run out of application memory” seems to be at odds with common sense. Still, this pop-up is what many Mac users see periodically and struggle to purge, to no avail.

’Your system has run out of application memory’ error on Mac

This dialog is titled “Force Quit Applications”, which suggests that the solution lies in closing a few apps that aren’t in active use. However, the fact that there is more than enough free memory left anyway makes people perplexed over the real whys and wherefores of this drag. That being said, let’s go over a few conditions that may trigger a frustrating loop of low application memory notifications.

Not enough disk space to host virtual memory

No matter how odd this may sound, the problem may be related to insufficient free storage space on disk. macOS dynamically reallocates a certain size of RAM capacity to virtual memory in situations where the consumption is close to a critical threshold. This peculiar form of random access memory resides on the computer’s hard disk. That said, if the blank space on your SSD or HDD is less than a certain limit (somewhere between 15-20 percent, depending on the type of storage medium), the pop-up activity in question may kick in. Therefore, even when Activity Monitor stats are showing free memory in excess of what your apps apparently require at a specific point in time, the error may appear as long as the disk is running low on available space.

Memory leaks

An adjacent concern may materialize if a specific process requests too much virtual memory address range within what’s called the page table, an object generated by the system in its kernel segment to keep a record of the virtual addresses applications receive. Whereas this is normal routine, some programs abuse the address space granted to them by not releasing it when it’s no longer necessary. To top it off, such culprits will most likely ask for more the next time they run, which causes the number of wrongfully congested virtual memory page table entries to accumulate indefinitely. This phenomenon is known as a memory leak, and yes, it is the usual suspect in the context of the low memory error.

Multitasking “on steroids”

One more potential root cause for this nuisance has to do with multitasking. The likelihood of recurrent RAM shortage alerts flooding a Mac increases when lots of resource-intensive applications are executed concurrently. Graphics editing tools, for instance, can be really “heavy” for your Mac to handle. On a side note, based on reports of the users who have bumped into “Your system has run out of application memory” error frenzy, these dialogs often list the Mail app as one of the items that are subject to emergency force quitting. The same goes for web browsers, which is understandable because keeping multiple tabs open simultaneously can gobble up an insane amount of resources, especially if some of the visited websites include multimedia content, video ads, or buggy plugins.

Mac malware doing its thing

Circling back to the memory leak bug described above, it’s a notorious symptom of malware activity – whether due to cybercriminals’ crude coding practices or deliberate misconfiguration. The former is more likely, by the way, and it inevitably leads to virtual memory overuse. That’s not to say that the low application memory error is a fake. It is legitimate as the system responds to a specific condition that way. But it’s a fair bet that a strain of adware, a keystroke logger, or scareware is to blame. To err on the side of caution, it’s best to ascertain that malicious interference is not the case. The following tips should come in handy for that.

“Your system has run out of application memory” virus manual removal for Mac

The steps listed below will walk you through the removal of this malicious application. Be sure to follow the instructions in the specified order.

  1. Expand the Go menu in your Mac’s Finder bar and select Utilities as shown below.

    Go to Utilities

  2. Locate the Activity Monitor icon on the Utilities screen and double-click on it.

    Select the Activity Monitor

  3. In the Activity Monitor app, look for a process that appears suspicious. To narrow down your search, focus on unfamiliar resource-intensive entries on the list. Keep in mind that its name isn’t necessarily related to the way the threat is manifesting itself, so you’ll need to trust your own judgement. If you pinpoint the culprit, select it and click on the Stop icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

    Stop malicious process

  4. When a follow-up dialog pops up asking if you are sure you want to quit the troublemaking process, select the Force Quit option.

    Select the Force Quit option

  5. Click on the Go menu icon in the Finder again and select Go to Folder. You can as well use the Command-Shift-G keyboard shortcut.

    Use the Go to Folder feature

  6. Type /Library/LaunchAgents in the folder search dialog and click on the Go button.

    Open /Library/LaunchAgents folder

  7. Examine the contents of the LaunchAgents folder for dubious-looking items. Be advised that the names of files spawned by malware may give no clear clues that they are malicious, so you should look for recently added entities that appear to deviate from the norm.

    As an illustration, here are several examples of LaunchAgents related to mainstream Mac infections: com.updater.mcy.plist, com.avickUpd.plist, and com.msp.agent.plist. If you spot files that don’t belong on the list, go ahead and drag them to the Trash.

    Root-level LaunchAgents folder contents

  8. Use the Go to Folder lookup feature again to navigate to the folder named ~/Library/Application Support (note the tilde symbol prepended to the path).

    Open ~/Library/Application Support folder

  9. When the Application Support directory is opened, identify recently generated suspicious folders in it and send them to the Trash. A quick tip is to look for items whose names have nothing to do with Apple products or apps you knowingly installed. A few examples of known-malicious folder names are com.AuraSearchDaemon, ProgressSite, and IdeaShared.

    Application Support folder contents

  10. Enter ~/Library/LaunchAgents string (don’t forget to include the tilde character) in the Go to Folder search area.

    Open ~/Library/LaunchAgents directory

  11. The system will display LaunchAgents residing in the current user’s Home directory. Look for the following dodgy items related to the “Your system has run out of application memory” pop-up virus: com.ConnectionCache.service.plist, com.digitalprotection.emcupdater.plist, com.mulkey.plist, com.nbp.plist, and com.sys.system.plist. Drag these files to the Trash.

    Contents of LaunchAgents folder in user’s home directory

  12. Type /Library/LaunchDaemons in the Go to Folder search field.

    Go to /Library/LaunchDaemons

  13. In the LaunchDaemons path, try to pinpoint the files the malware is using for persistence. Several examples of the items cropped by this Mac infection are com.ConnectionCache.system.plist, and com.mulkeyd.plist. Delete the sketchy files immediately.

    LaunchDaemons folder contents

  14. Click on the Go menu icon in your Mac’s Finder and select Applications on the list.

    Go to Applications screen on Mac

  15. Find the app that clearly doesn’t belong there and move it to the Trash. If this action requires your admin password for confirmation, go ahead and enter it.

    Drag malicious app to the Trash

  16. Expand the Apple menu and select System Preferences.

    Select System Preferences

    Open System Preferences

  17. Proceed to Users & Groups and click on the Login Items tab.

    Proceed to Users & Groups

    The system will display the list of items launched when the computer is starting up. Locate the potentially unwanted app there and click on the “-” (minus) button.

    Delete unwanted login item

  18. Now select Profiles under System Preferences. Look for a malicious item in the left-hand sidebar. Several examples of configuration profiles created by Mac adware include AdminPrefs, TechSignalSearch, MainSearchPlatform, and Safari Preferences. Select the offending entity and click on the minus sign at the bottom to eliminate it.

    Select Profiles under System Preferences

    Remove malicious configuration profile from Mac

    If your Mac has been infiltrated by adware, the infection will most likely continue to hold sway over your default web browser even after you remove the underlying application along with its components sprinkled around the system. Use the browser cleanup instructions below to address the remaining consequences of this attack.

Get rid of “Your system has run out of application memory” pop-ups in web browser on Mac

To begin with, the web browser settings taken over by the “Your system has run out of application memory” virus should be restored to their default values. Although this will clear most of your customizations, web surfing history, and all temporary data stored by websites, the malicious interference should be terminated likewise. The overview of the steps for completing this procedure is as follows:

  1. Remove “Your system has run out of application memory” error in Safari
    • Open the browser and go to Safari menu. Select Preferences in the drop-down list.

      Go to Preferences in Safari

    • Once the Preferences screen appears, click on the Advanced tab and enable the option saying “Show Develop menu in menu bar”.

      Advanced tab under Safari Preferences

    • Now that the Develop entry has been added to the Safari menu, expand it and click on Empty Caches.

      Empty Caches in Safari

    • Now select History in the Safari menu and click on Clear History in the drop-down list.

      Clear history in Safari

    • Safari will display a dialog asking you to specify the period of time this action will apply to. Select all history to ensure a maximum effect. Click on the Clear History button to confirm and exit.

      Select all history to clear

    • Go back to the Safari Preferences and hit the Privacy tab at the top. Find the option that says Manage Website Data and click on it.

      Manage Website Data option under Privacy tab

    • The browser will display a follow-up screen listing the websites that have stored data about your Internet activities. This dialog additionally includes a brief description of what the removal does: you may be logged out of some services and encounter other changes of website behavior after the procedure. If you’re okay with that, go ahead and click on the Remove All button.

      Confirmation dialog

    • Restart Safari
  2. Remove “Your system has run out of application memory” error pop-ups in Google Chrome
    • Open Chrome, click the Customize and control Google Chrome (⁝) icon in the top right-hand part of the window, and select Settings in the drop-down

      Chrome Settings

    • When on the Settings pane, select Advanced
    • Scroll down to the Reset settings section.

      Reset settings in Chrome on Mac

    • Confirm the Chrome reset on a dialog that will pop up. When the procedure is completed, relaunch the browser and check it for malware activity.

      Here’s how to reset settings in Chrome on Mac

  3. Remove “Your system has run out of application memory” alert in Mozilla Firefox
    • Open Firefox and go to Help – Troubleshooting Information (or type about:support in the URL bar and press Enter).

      Open Firefox and go to Help

      Select Troubleshooting Information

    • When on the Troubleshooting Information screen, click on the Refresh Firefox button.

      Refresh Firefox on Mac

    • Confirm the intended changes and restart Firefox.

Get rid of “Your system has run out of application memory” error virus using Combo Cleaner removal tool

The Mac maintenance and security app called Combo Cleaner is a one-stop tool to detect and remove “Your system has run out of application memory” pop-up virus. This technique has substantial benefits over manual cleanup, because the utility gets hourly virus definition updates and can accurately spot even the newest Mac infections.

Furthermore, the automatic solution will find the core files of the malware deep down the system structure, which might otherwise be a challenge to locate. Here’s a walkthrough to sort out the “Your system has run out of application memory” pop-up issue using Combo Cleaner:

  1. Download Combo Cleaner installer. When done, double-click the combocleaner.dmg file and follow the prompts to install the tool onto your Mac.

    Download Combo Cleaner

    By downloading any applications recommended on this website you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. The free scanner checks whether your Mac is infected. To get rid of malware, you need to purchase the Premium version of Combo Cleaner.

  2. Open the app from your Launchpad and let it run an update of the malware signature database to make sure it can identify the latest threats.
  3. Click the Start Combo Scan button to check your Mac for malicious activity as well as performance issues.

    Combo Cleaner Mac scan progress

  4. Examine the scan results. If the report says “No Threats”, then you are on the right track with the manual cleaning and can safely proceed to tidy up the web browser that may continue to act up due to the after-effects of the malware attack (see instructions above).

    Combo Cleaner scan report – no threats found

  5. In case Combo Cleaner has detected malicious code, click the Remove Selected Items button and have the utility remove “Your system has run out of application memory” pop-up threat along with any other viruses, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), or junk files that don’t belong on your Mac.

    Combo Cleaner – threats found

  6. Once you have made doubly sure that the malicious app is uninstalled, the browser-level troubleshooting might still be on your to-do list. If your preferred browser is affected, resort to the previous section of this tutorial to revert to hassle-free web surfing.

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