System configuration

I'm working with a MacBook 2,16 GHz (13" white with the max. 3 GB RAM from about 2007) and "Snowleopard" OS 10.6.8.

The problem: performance

After a while, the MacBook becomes incredibly slow and unresponsive, because Safari and the Safari Web Content process use all available RAM. At the moment, e. g. Safari Web Content uses >1,4 GB physical RAM.

Sure, I also have a lot of other Applications open, but normally Safari seems to be the one that regularly uses most of the RAM.

Virtual memory might be an issue - the System partition with OS X is 100 GB in size, after a reboot I have about 17 GB free drive space, at the moment there are 12.7 GB free drive space.

I admit, that I sometimes have several windows with maybe 10..20 Tabs open in Safari, but it is very difficult to avoid that for me.

  • When the MacBook gets unresponsive, I'm often using the purge command in terminal, which helps for a short while but not for a long time
  • Closing Safari and starting fresh also helps (but is annoying)
  • Restarting the Mac also helps, but I do not want to do that each day - I usually do it every 5..12 days.
  • 1
    Web pages including multimedia are memory intensive - the only answer here is more memory or open fewer tabs at a time
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 23, 2014 at 11:07
  • 1
    more memory seems technically impossible - is there another way to make the old system faster (e. g. a fast SSD drive for speeding up virtual memory?) Is there any hope that OS 10.7 could have better overall system performance with the given hardware? Mar 23, 2014 at 11:20
  • Before you type purge please grab two screen shots and upload them. 1. Showing the activity monitor CPU panel with processes sorted by CPU sorted with most CPU on top. 2. showing the bottom of the memory tab - active, wired, inactive, free and the pie chart.
    – bmike
    Mar 23, 2014 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


Many websites have auto-play flash.

Disable it in Safari, and you will be prompted to play them if you click on it.

Set Adobe Flash to ASK!

enter image description here

That way all the unwonted one wont eat up your memory.

  • thanks, that looks interesting - however I can not find those settings in Safari 5.1.10. However I'm already using the ClickToPlugin 2.5.4 which should do something similar... Mar 23, 2014 at 11:54
  • 1
    This is a good guess if the lag is really CPU. We will need to know if it's really CPU or in fact if the system is IO bound due to memory constraints and paging activity. I would guess that is the real cause of slowness with a dozen tabs and other applications running on a 3 GB RAM system.
    – bmike
    Mar 23, 2014 at 13:19
  • 1
    Well since you low on resources (CPU/RAM) I would not use external not optimized applications since they just eat more. I would use the build in functions like described above. However, I do not know if your Safari version has those options.
    – Ruskes
    Mar 23, 2014 at 13:45
  • in fact, after uninstalling the old ClickToPlugin 2.5.4, I did not have any extreme uses of RAM by Safari any more... I had installed the current ClickToPlugin 2.9.2, but have not activated it at the moment. Mar 25, 2014 at 0:42
  • Problem solved then, glad I could be of help :)
    – Ruskes
    Mar 25, 2014 at 9:02

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