Extremely high memory usage in MacOS

Zotero is currently using 2.24 GB of my RAM on MacOS 12.3.1 and Zotero 6.0.9 with just one PDF open. I have only 77 items in my library and the PDF you can download the PDF that I have open from https://arxiv.org/abs/1811.00995. But it's no use because this memory issue is independent of the file that I have open. (I closed the tab with the open PDF just now and the memory use is still around 2.05 GB).

My system is an M1 Macbook Air with 8 GB of memory.
  • What memory usage do you see after restarting Zotero?
  • I just restarted it. Zotero started with around 500 MB when no PDFs were open. Opening a PDF in a tab raised the used RAM to around 1.15 GB.
  • I’m having the same issue: I have a M1 MacBook Air with 8GB RAM and Zotero uses 3.5GB RAM, slowing down my computer. Due to Zotero, Activity Monitor shows yellow memory pressure.

    I do have a big library though (over 1,000 items and many large PDFs).

    I wonder if it has to do with Rosetta? Has there been progress on a native Apple Silicon version of Zotero?
  • @DutchZoteroUser: It doesn't have to do with Rosetta. We have a version of Zotero running internally on Apple Silicon, and it doesn't use less memory.

    Zotero shouldn't use 3.5 GB in normal usage. What are you seeing immediately after Zotero startup, what exactly do you have to do to get it to go up to 3.5 GB, and does it stay there?
  • @dstillman I restarted my computer and tried it out. When Zotero is the only app running, it uses about 600 MB RAM. However, if I open a few PDFs, the memory usage skyrockets, even a tiny PDF increases memory usage by 300 MB, bigger files use more. I can easily go to 4 GB this way. However, if I close all the PDFs afterwards, memory usage remains high at around 1.8 GB. If I close Zotero and reopen it, it is back at 600 MB.

    Using Zotero with a huge Word document increases memory usage only a little (from 600 to 900 MB), so it seems to be an issue with the PDF viewer.
  • Having the same issue on a macbook Pro, with 8GB RAM under macOS Catalina, v 10.15.7.

    After startup, Zotero uses about 600 MB, if I open a PDF file it rises above 1 GB, opening 6-8 PDF results in memory use > 2GB.

    The thing is when I close all PDFs, memory usage still remains high (around 1.5 GB).
  • In Mac OS, PDF viewer is a RAM killer, and opening multiple PDFs will lead to a sharp increase in RAM usage. To circumvent this problem, I choose to open PDF files with third-party software. My device: Macbook pro, Intel chip, 8GB RAM
  • Same here - Macbook Air M1 (8GB of RAM, macOS 12.6), Zotero 6.0.14, two PDFs open, 325 items in Library. After a fresh restart, Zotero uses 1.21 GB of RAM and between 6 and 12% CPU. Causes the whole computer to become much more sluggish.
  • I have the same issue on M1 MacBook Air. I don't use Zotero to view PDFs. It's the most memory intensive application on my computer (usually around 1-2GB).
  • I have encountered a similar problem here on a M1 iMac running Monterey. Right now I have four moderate-size PDFs open and Zotero is using 3.04 GB RAM (this is typical). Closing the PDFs only drops the RAM usage to 2.80 GB. Closing and restarting Zotero drops the RAM usage to a much more reasonable 400 MB.
  • I'm seeing a similar issue here
  • Hey!

    In my case I disable all the plugging and the memory consumption was still high, like 1.2gb, which I think it's really really high.

    By the way the exact steps… just open the app.
  • Wondering if all the people affected here are Apple Silicon…
  • In the latest beta, Zotero will now keep fewer PDFs in memory (2) on machines with 8 GB or less of memory.

    (In Zotero 6, this might increase the time it takes for PDFs to render when switching between PDF tabs, but less memory will be used. PDF rendering in Zotero 7 will be much faster. Zotero 7 should also be better at freeing memory after PDFs are closed, whereas Zotero 6 can take a while (e.g., half an hour) to do so.)
  • Oh great! When the beta is going to become stable?
  • I also have the same problem on my MacBook Air (M2) with 8GB memeory.

    After reading the discussion above, I disable all plugins and reboot my mac.
    The memeory usage is about 500MB when I first start Zotero, and it will keep if I do not open any tab. But when I open the first PDF tab, Zotero is using about 100MB, after continuously open another four tabs, the usage is 1.85GB, which is a heavy burden for my 8GB MacBook.

    At the same time, I want to write some code according to the PDFs in Zotero, but the computer is slow to use...
  • @yuanxixing: As I note above, we've made a change in the current beta that will cause Zotero to use less RAM when multiple PDFs are open on 8 GB machines. That change will be included in 6.0.16.
  • @dstillman Thank you very much for you kindly response. I test the beta version on my 8GB machine. Here is the memeory usage:

    Start Zotero: ~400MB
    open one tab: ~1GB
    open five tab:~1.2GB

    which means opening multiple PDFs use only 200MB extra RAM.
    It works, thank you again.
  • Just want to say I am still having this problem in 2023 on apple silicon. A real shame, I have to close Zotero to do any data work.
  • My zotero7 opens 4 PDFs and takes up 8.9G of memory! and I'm using just an 8G M1 MacBook Air. it's even using my hard drive to swap out the RAM.
  • Even with Zotero 7 it easily could grow up use of 2-3 gb but I never had such big usage; aiite do you have any plugins enabled?
  • edited September 7, 2023
    On the margin; it was a bit of deception from the YouTubers reviewing apple silicon in 2020 and saying to the public that 8gb will be enough for real work, I remember that, I have 16 gb and still struggle at times
  • i find zoteri could set default pdf viewer, i set default pdf viewer as pdf expert. And the memory occupancy rate is down to 800MB. meanwhile, open one pdf, the pdf expert just occupy 300MB. i think it works.
  • similar issue on my MacBook Air m2 8g
  • This problem is still here with zotero 7 on apple silicon. Opening a few pdfs and closing them, zotero still remains at 2.3 gb ram usage.
  • Same problem with the latest zotero 7 on MacBook Air M2 8G. Opening one single pdf, zotero occupys 2.6 GB ram.
  • @luoyin16: That’s after restarting Zotero, with all plugins disabled? Can you provide a link to the PDF, either here or via email to support@zotero.org with a link to this thread?
  • I got the same problem with Zotero 7 dev version and MBA m2 16G. I disabled all plugins, but it didn't work. And this problem comes with any PDF files. This problem also happened at Zotero 6 and that is why I update to Zotero 7 dev. Will this be solved at the official version of zotero 7?
  • This problem is not universal among Zotero users. Please follow the requests of the Zotero developers and provide a link to one or more PDF files that cause high memory use. Only by seeing the file(s) can anyone identify and address the problem.
  • The memory usage is about 500MB-600MB without any pdf opened(which is also higher than I expect), and I opened this pdf(https://arxiv.org/pdf/2309.11497.pdf) got from arxiv, the usage comes to 1.4GB immediately, and decreases to 900MB gradually. Opening this pdf(https://arxiv.org/pdf/2308.14748.pdf) increase the usage to 1.9GB immediately, and decreases to 1.2GB gradually.
    It seems that the memory usage fluctuates violently. The examples I post above all quickly increased memory usage when I switch to the pdf page and do some operations.
My Zotero version is 7.0.0-beta.43+f803c0cc4 without any plugins abled. My device is MacBook Air 16GB with macOS Sonoma 14.0 (23A344).
    Hope this helps you locate the problem. I would offer more information if needed.
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