Catalina 10.15.6 (19G73)
MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
2.4 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9

While Chrome chews through memory, it seems to somehow do this through kernel_task. Eventually (after a few days), macOS will freak out and whatever is responsible for the system/OS UI (dock & menu bar) crashes. Dock and menu bar disappear. Open apps are still visible but unresponsive. Fans spin up to full blast. After 10-15 seconds, dock and menu will reappear, then eventually crash/disappear again. This continues (crash, open, crash, open) and doesn't seem to recover. I eventually have to hold the power button to restart the computer.

I recently migrated to this computer from a 2015 Macbook Pro. That computer behaved exactly the same in terms of Chrome memory but it simply just got slow over time, as Chrome ate up RAM and things moved to swap. It never freaked out this way. That computer was running Mojave and had 16GB RAM.

  • What do you qualify as 'too high for too long'? What does memory pressure look like when this happens?
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 3 '20 at 16:40
  • Unfortunately, I'm not able to open Activity Monitor when this happens.
    – Matt
    Dec 3 '20 at 16:47
  • Then leave it open & set it to All Desktops.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 3 '20 at 16:48
  • As far as "too high", I periodically check Activity Monitor to see how it's going. The pressure is actually never that high (was very high on the 2015 MBP) but memory usage does get close to 32GB. Again, this is when I'm looking at Activity Monitor before the crashing starts.
    – Matt
    Dec 3 '20 at 16:49
  • We don't have enough to go on. kernel_task itself shouldn't be using much RAM (mine shows about 50 - 100KB after 17 days uptime, no sleep). Chrome is a known memory-hog, but without specifics, we're just guessing. Unless memory pressure starts to show red, there is no issue. see i.stack.imgur.com/qvB06.png
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 3 '20 at 16:56

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