Memory issues on Mac


Zotero continues to use up my Memory causing the application to crash. I'm on a 2015 MacBook Pro and typically see Zotero using 8-10GBs of RAM.

Hope you can help! Thanks!
  • edited February 16, 2023
    Can you provide a Report ID? Are you using third-party plugins? If so, try disabling them.

    Do you have multiple (very) large PDFs — e.g., with huge scanned images — open in tabs? It shouldn't really be possible for Zotero to use that much memory in any sort of normal usage.

    While you're seeing this sort of memory usage, can you go to Tools → Developer → Run JavaScript, run Zotero.openInViewer('about:memory'), click "Measure and save…" under "Save memory reports", and email the file to with a link to this thread?

    How much memory does your computer have?
  • I cannot provide a report ID, I'll attach a screenshot to my support email.

    I don't have any PDFs open at this time, though opening a single one or two seems to make the problem much worse.

    I have 16 GBs of memory on my computer.
  • edited February 16, 2023
    Why can't you provide a Report ID?

    Are you saying it uses 8-10 GB immediately after opening Zotero? How large is your Zotero library?
  • "Report Errors…" is a menu option under Help. It's not something you search for.
  • I have 3808 items in my library including notes and attachments. I'm sorry I had initially searched for report errors in the "Help" menu and missed that it was an option in the dropdown. Report ID: 1356299450.
  • edited February 16, 2023
    It looks like you added images to your notes before Zotero 6, which added official support for images in notes. You'll need to remove those — those were never supported, since they broke syncing (you're also getting sync errors from them) and can cause severe performance problems.

    You can search for <img in All Fields & Tags mode to find them. If you still have the images, you can drag them back to the notes in the current version of Zotero to add them properly.

    A future version might support automatically converting pre–Zotero 6 images in notes into proper embedded images, but I'm not sure when that would happen.
  • Dear all,

    I have the same problem with memory. my Report ID: 1815697629. When I open some documents, the memory skyrockets. e.g. one document uses 2G RAM, 5 documents use 5G RAM. Also, I have 16 GBs of memory on my computer.

  • I just want to say that I still experience issues with Zotero memory hogging when opening PDFs (MacBook M1 Pro, 16 GB RAM, Ventura 13.3.1). Opening three or four PDFs results in >3 GB of memory usage. The problem is not present when I have no PDFs open in Zotero. I switched to using the system default PDF reader (Preview), which uses only a couple hundred MBs of memory for the same number of PDFs.
  • I'm also experiencing the same issues - one PDF open and 1.8GB of RAM used on an M2 Mac. Getting to the point where I'm looking for an alternative...
  • @danlyth: This will be improved in Zotero 7 (early beta out now), which runs natively on Apple Silicon. Apple Silicon Macs seem particularly conservative with their memory management when dealing with apps running under Rosetta (like Zotero 6). That said, though, there's nothing strictly wrong or dangerous about Zotero using a couple gigabytes of memory - it can be swapped out quickly by the OS if memory gets too full. It only becomes a problem if it's making your system run slowly.
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