Can anyone simply explain the reason of memory leaks? My Firefox seems to use up to 500Ms of memory though it is only for reading news Online. It seems that certain browsers use significantly less for the same pages viewed although I like how Firefox is mostly fast.

  • Please read Memory Leak.
    – klanomath
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 13:18
  • Really depends on site! If its full JavaScript "one page" its going to eat a lot. Remember, unused RAM is waste of RAM.
    – Kyslik
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 19:25
  • It boils down to the fact that programs do exactly what you tell them to do. Someone has to tell the software that it needs to release memory or there needs to be a managment system. But even managment systems are not perfect and can be fooled by programmers that are unaware of the flaws of the managment system. Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


Google and Bing are your friends.

A Memory Leak is due to bad memory management of the application. Basically, it allocates memory but fails to release it when finished. Therefore, as the application continues to run, it keeps allocating free memory until there is no more.

The fact that certain browsers use more or less memory has nothing to do with there being a memory leak. Chrome likes to have individual processes for each tab or session (more memory) where Firefox does the opposite. Memory is cheap now so there is less of a need to be efficient, but there is a need for higher performance.

The real issue is what to do about memory leaks - since most people don't reprogram and self-patch a program like FireFox - you can quit a program that has leaks or just log out. Mac OS (as well as most other operating systems) then release all the leaked memory and return it to the system pool. Leaks happen, so as an educated user you can watch for them and tend to leaky programs as opposed to letting them run continually.

  • I see, I think I understand it now. So basically the software isn't patched well enough by itself and some more memory is used to sustain the weight. :D By the way, what is the system pool?
    – GH05T
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 13:25
  • 1
    No on all points. "Patched well enough" really makes no sense. A patch could introduce a memory leak. More memory isn't used to "sustain weight." All applications have overhead, which require memory.
    – Allan
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 13:29
  • 1
    You might mention that because of Chrome's multi-process architecture, it is possible to kill just one tab that is responding poorly—not possible with Firefox.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 13:30
  • @GH05T - no, what you are seeing is very unlikely to be an actual leak, just the way each application uses memory. It's only a leak if the memory isn't given back to the System after the app quits [broadly-speaking]. The 'patch' alluded to by Allan is an 'update' released by the app makers to fix or adjust earlier behaviour.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 13:30
  • 2
    @GH05T - I am upvoting this question so you can gain some reputation. I also took the time to answer this so it can serve as an example of how to answer a question directly and not just create superfluous posts for the sake of providing an answer. Our goal is to help you write good answers that get upvoted so you gain reputation and credibility.
    – Allan
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 13:35

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