I have iTunes 11.0.1 running on Mac OS 10.8.2 with quite a large music library, some podcasts and my iPhone connected. According to Activity Monitor, the iTunes process is taking 1.6 GB real memory, and 4.26 GB virtual. How can this be? Of 16 GB in my machine, I have 60MB free. Is it automatically grabbing all free memory?

Does anyone know any tricks for reducing this and/or making iTunes less greedy?

  • This is not really an answer to the question you are asking, but have you considered using a different music player? cmus is a command line based music player which uses 10 MB of real memory and 96 MB of virtual memory on my computer. It's quite easy to use too. That way you only need to use iTunes when you are syncing your iPhone, and can quit it when you are finished. – daviewales May 19 '13 at 3:35
  • Thanks for the suggestions. Upgrading to iTunes 12 seems to have fixed this so looks like it was indeed a bug. – Nic Cottrell Jul 12 '17 at 8:42

If your iTunes is using this much memory, something is wrong.

Just how large your library is? My 700 GB audio + video library takes far less than 500 MB of physical RAM and I actually have my virtual memory disabled.

I will suggest you do the following,

a) Quit iTunes more often.

b) For testing, create a new clean library and monitor the memory usage

c) For testing, reinstall iTunes

Good luck. If you have any more question, comment below!


With a library around 65,000 tracks, I'm currently at 805 MB.

One thing to try: do you have a lot of smart playlists? They'll slow up iTunes, but they may also use a lot of memory (if Live Updating is checked).

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