A Second Follow Up To Installing macOS Monterey 12.1

You might recall that I had use some extreme measures just to install macOS Monterey 12.1 last week. Then I gave you my impressions of it. Specifically if it fixes the memory leak issues that many have experienced. Well, I think memory usage is different, but I am not sure it is fixed. Let me explain.

When I have seen the memory leak issues in the past, it was due to two things. Starting with a pair of services:

  • WindowServer: It’s a liaison of sorts between your applications and your display. If you see something on your Mac’s display, WindowServer put it there. Every window you open, every website you browse, every game you play—WindowServer “draws” it all on your screen. You can read more at Apple’s developer guide if you’re technically inclined, but it’s not exactly light reading.
  • Control Center: This as far as I understand it is responsible for AirPlay functionality on your Mac as well as being behind the control center menu item.

Both of those would consume a whole lot of memory (sometimes up to 3+ GB of RAM or more) until the system required a reboot after displaying warnings about memory usage. So far I have not seen either service consume an insane amount of memory.

The next area that I would see it is macOS Mail. Specifically it would crash every 12 hours or so if left running. And when I read the crash reports, it was due to memory allocation. In short, it couldn’t get the memory that it needed so it crashed. I have not had Mail crash since I installed Monterey 12.1. Though by saying that I likely jinxed it.

Finally, I can confirm that the operating system is far more aggressive about freeing up memory after applications use it. It doesn’t happen instantly. But it does happen. Having said that, I do notice that Safari can take up to 2 of 3 GB or memory. Sure it will give a lot of that back to be used by other apps, but that’s very unusual. That’s one reason why I am not sure if this memory leak issue is fixed or not. Another reason is that I note that other applications like Bartender and Mail have started to slowly consume memory and not give it back for other applications to use. The only way to free up that RAM is to quit the app, wait a few seconds and go back into the app in question.

Thus my recommendation is that if you have had memory leak issues with early versions of macOS Monterey, you can give 12.1 a try. There’s some improvement in terms of memory usage that will make your usage of the OS better, even if it hasn’t fully addressed the memory leak issues. And if you’re wondering if now would be a good time to update to Monterey from an earlier version of macOS, I think it might be worth waiting until 12.2 to be sure that everything is sorted out properly.

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