I am running a simulation that deliberately uses a lot of memory. In fact, more than the available RAM and so the program should use swap space. However, after 60 GB of swap space are used, I get the following complaint from OS X 10.8.4:

OS X startup disk has no more space available for application memory

At this stage the RAM is fully used and virtual memory is used up to ~60 GBm as well as the swap, which Activity Monitor reports is around 60 GB.

I tried this program on two different Macs with the same outcome and the same critical amount of swap where everything goes wrong.

My machine:

  • Mac Pro
  • Two quad core 2.7 GHz processors
  • 32 GB of RAM
  • 1.3 TB of free hard-disk space

I checked my handcoded C++ program for leaks using Xcode and I understand where the RAM usage is coming from.

I would be glad if anybody has a suggestion what the root of my problem is.

  • As you have a powerful machine, I strongly suggest that you check your program again for a memory leak. That seems like a fare more likely scenario.
    – Andrew Ng
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 13:23
  • There’s a forum thread on Mac Rumors which describes a similar problem with MATLAB: hitting an apparently arbitrary 60GB limit on OS X's swap. I can't test the solutions because I lack both free hard drive space and memory intensive programs, but it might be useful.
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


Absolutely run sysdiagnose the next time you run out of disk space so that you can find out which processes are leaking memory (and/or just using all that RAM). As the commenter above stated on the question - this is clearly something amiss with one or more programs and not something that should happen routinely.

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