Memory usage of the PDF viewer (beta) on an Intel Mac

I am running the latest Zotero beta on a fairly powerful Intel MacBook Pro (15", 16GB RAM from 2019). The library is relatively small with less than 2000 references. As soon as I open PDFs in the built-in PDF viewer Zotero eats up almost 3GB of memory. Opening the first PDF of a journal article requires more than 1 GB, each following PDF will eat up another 300+MB. I prefer reading through scholarly literature while having multiple tabs with PDFs open in order to cross-check, reference, follow-up on leads etc. I would therefore appreciate, if Zotero would require less memory just for keeping files open.
  • Just a quick addendum: the legacy reference manager Sente uses less than 1GB even when I open two very large databases with 20000+ references each, with multiple PDFs and other attachments equally opened in tabs.
  • I'm not seeing numbers like that. For me, with a 7700-item test library, Zotero starts at 600 MB, after opening a PDF it jumps to >900 but settles back to 775, and after opening 9 PDFs and waiting a minute it's at 1.15 GB. Not ideal, and there might be things we can do to unload tabs that haven't been opened in a while, but it's not 3 GB.

    How many PDFs are you opening, and how large are they?
  • Thanks for replying. Zotero starts at 1,13GB without any PDFs open and a library of 1865 references. I open 4 PDFs each between 1,9 and 4,9MB in size and memory jumps to almost 2GB. Another two PDFs of the same size and Zotero oscillates between 2,2 and 2,4GB memory.

    One important issue might be that I have Better BibTeX installed and some Group Libraries, one of which holds 35000 references.
  • @till.grallert Are those PDFs scanned papers? Because some PDFs use JBIG2 compression and can result in extremely high resolution images where each page is eating hundreds of megabytes.

    Try to to test memory usage with other PDFs, but before that close the current ones and restart Zotero.
  • @martynas_b good point. Some of the PDFs were indeed digitised books. I closed all tabs, restarted Zotero, and opened six publisher-provided PDFs of journal articles published in the last months. Each of these PDFs has been annotated within Zotero. Zotero still uses 2,18 GB
  • Since we're not seeing numbers anywhere near there, you'll need to try individual files and watch the memory usage after each one. Make sure you give it time to settle after opening each one.

    You should also disable third-party extensions while testing.
  • Just want to add my experience here, I have less than 2000 items in my library, and I opened 6 PDF, each is very small, KBs only, and the Beta uses 1.8GB memory on my Mac (also 2019 15in)...

    I don't suppose this is normal though. Hope more people can report their issues about this matter?
  • M1 Macbook Air 16, 1T, zotero 6.0.4, closing all tab and restart zotero
    with no tab, ~700MB ram
    with one tab, ~1.3GB
    with two tab, ~1.8GB
    with three tab, ~2.3
  • edited April 4, 2022
    Got 12 tabs open and using 3.07gb of memory (MacBook Pro 2020 intel i7, 32gb)

    (files range from <1-5mb, and one of 25mb and of 48mb. When I close the two big files, memory uses drops to 2.6gb)
  • I am having the same issue MacBook Pro, Mac OS Catalina. Opens pdfs and have ~1.5GB
  • The same thing happens to me. Zotero consumes a huge amount of RAM. 3.25GB with 10 opened tab.
  • The same thing happens to me.
  • edited April 7, 2022
    1 tab open (the file is 2mb) and using 2.6gb of memory. I never noticed it before but I suppose it's quite a lot. My library is small.
    Is this a good excuse to get a new laptop with an M1 chip? he he...
  • The latest Zotero beta should use significantly less memory with many PDF tabs:

    - PDF tabs aren't loaded at startup
    - Background PDF tabs are unloaded after 24 hours
    - Only the 5 most recently viewed PDF tabs are kept in memory

    These changes will be Zotero 6.0.5 soon.
  • Wonderful. The memory usage halved. I noticed other fixes including navigation across tabs.
  • Great! Thanks. I don't use beta but will look forward to 6.0.5.
  • 6.0.5 is out now with this change.
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