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Firefox 26 on OS X 10.9.1 still has huge memory usuage (leak) which leads to crash

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Hi, The subject is sort of self explanatory but for the last few months (not sure exactly when) i have had regular Firefox crashes, it seems to happen when i'm out of memory and FF has used all the available RAM. I have a MBP with i7 and 8gig of RAM using the latest OSX 10.9.1 and latest FF 26. I always keep up to date with the software. Usually i have about 20 or so tabs open and go back and forth between these. I have googled and read allot on this topic and most people recommend starting in safe mode, without add-ons , creating clean profile etc and i have done these but slowly i get back into the same issue even after a clean profile.... It seems for every FF update the memory usage increases....back in the day FF was extremely fast and efficient. Or maybe latest FF just wants to remember so much and save just to much old information which leads to these ridiculous amount of memory usage, i tend to go over 3-4gig RAM after half a day alone before it crashes and all my tabs are lost which is extremely frustrating. Is there a way to limit the memory usage? Only helpful tips i have found so far that seems to remove allot of garbage from the cache and the footprint is going to about:memory and run the "minimize memory usage", this has been working great and so far after 2-3 hours its steady on 900meg (more or less) with 16 tabs open. Isnt this something FF needs to do regularly to get rid of old stuff ? i saw youtube and many other old stuff in the cache which i was not using and caused FF to go over 2 gig or so before i run this so why isnt this automated? as a user i shouldnt need to care about such thins really. I also used Safari for a few weeks with same amount of tabs and it never goes over 800-900 meg. I really hope you guys can explain and give me some tips as to how to limit the memory usage of FF and not the regular make a clean profile and generic tips. I really think the problem is FF and nothing else. I done extensive testing here and i'm using just a few add-ons Adblock plus All in one Gestures Swedish dictioanary Downloadhelper Screengrab Download Statusbar

Sorry if i sound irritated but having to lose my tabs daily and being forced to bookmark my tabs constantly just in case FF crashes has been bugging me for a while now and i'm on the verge to switch browser but frankly there is no other browser as good as FF (offering same amount of plugins/add-ons) so i badly want to use FF if possible.

If you need any more info let me know.


Geändert am von vampyren

Ausgewählte Lösung

Thanks MacKnickKnack,

Glad to see that although the problem turned out to be a Firefox bug that it is one that has been fixed in Firefox 28. So now no problems if running Firefox 28 ( Currently Beta )

* Bug 937878 - Extremely high layer memory usage on Mac when browser windows are minimized
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Alle Antworten (20)

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You didn't mention disabling Hardware Acceleration...

Could you try that?

You might need to restart Firefox in order for this to take effect, so save all work first (e.g., mail you are composing, online documents you're editing, etc.).

Then perform these steps:

  • Click the orange Firefox button at the top left, then select the "Options" button, or, if there is no Firefox button at the top, go to Tools > Options.
  • In the Firefox options window click the Advanced tab, then select "General".
  • In the settings list, you should find the Use hardware acceleration when available checkbox. Uncheck this checkbox.
  • Now, restart Firefox and see if the problems persist.

Additionally, please check for updates for your graphics driver by following the steps mentioned in the following Knowledge base articles:

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Thanks for the tips, i will turn hardware acceleration off and try it a week or two to see if there is a difference, but having used the "minimize memory usage" made allot of difference as well. I never been able to use FF for a few hours and not exceed 3gig but now it uses 1.1gig...... The problem i see is that FF dont seem to release the old stuff even when i close and restart it so maybe the short term solution is to just run the minimize memory usage now and then but hopefully it wont be needed with future updates.... Any other tips is welcome ofc...

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Still on Mac it goes up and crashes. I have to constantly use the "minimize memory usage" and close firefox and restart now and then to make it work without crash. I use FF on PC as well and this is never a problem on PC but specific to OSX. Its a shame cause its killing the experience :( Hope Mozilla digs deeper and fix the memory leak..... If anyone have other ideas please do share....

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Hello vampyren, please follow the steps below to provide us crash IDs to help us learn more about your crash.

  1. Enter about:crashes in the Firefox address bar and press Enter. A Submitted Crash Reports list will appear, similar to the one shown below.
  2. Copy the 5 most recent Report IDs that start with bp- and paste them into your response here.


Thank you

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Hi ideato

Here comes what you asked:

bp-21dd68d5-b1c6-48c1-bf47-85ff42140106 06/01/14 22:07 
bp-9162f750-a34b-4f7c-b091-7a86b2131223 23/12/13 11:36 
bp-fd189fe5-6026-4ed0-bb0e-c88922131218 18/12/13 10:31 
bp-c5922697-54b9-4bb6-829d-01cd92131211 11/12/13 15:59 
bp-2a396582-9418-41f7-a724-af0b22131206 06/12/13 20:34 
bp-d389b870-8596-4736-9324-570942131204 04/12/13 09:48 
bp-45291505-4ca2-4cdf-a8e7-6d5e92131203 03/12/13 18:44 
bp-34a82e12-1c02-4622-945b-d14392131129 29/11/13 15:42 
bp-cde23be5-932a-4659-ac75-6e6d02131129 29/11/13 15:41 
bp-d83d9b94-1f5d-4726-a647-0a2822131129 29/11/13 11:20 

Hopefully you can identify something from them. Strangely there should be many more but maybe it only record the ones i actually send in which is not every time as i got so used to the crashes by now. Also by using the minimizing memory and restarting the FF helps a bit.

Geändert am von cor-el

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Hi vampyren,
just someone else jumping in.

Clearly you do have a bad problem.
If my Firefox behaved like that I would have stopped using it. That is the problem. We need someone with issues to stick around and show us how to reproduce the issues.

.. It seems for every FF update the memory usage increases....back in the day FF was extremely fast and efficient. 

In fact Mozilla has developers working full time to make sure that is not the case. Having said that there will always be many known problems and improvements wanted.

Good to know minimising memory helps, but not something tha you should normally need to do.

Lets make it clear

  • Firefox should not behave like that something is sadly wrong.
  • Firefox will not behave like that for everyone with a Mac.
  • Rather than waste space repeating what I posted recently you may be interested in reading my post in
  • If it was an easy problem to fix you would not still have problems.
  • Clean profiles & safemode are intended as troubleshooting steps.
    • In a recent case someone reduced the addons to about 70 ! from over 100 and still had problems. Mostly we may expect Firefox to work ok with quite a few addons, but not with that sort of number
    • Additional clean test profiles may be set up. There is no need to remove working profiles.
      I imagine your 8GB machine would easily in fact run at least two separate instances of Firefox simultaneously !
      and probably should not have problems with a couple hundred open tabs

I have repeatedly seen mention of Memory leaks on Mac.s, but none where the person posting has been willing to do all we ask in order to get a bug filed for developers to look at the issue and try to fix it.

Are you feeling like a hero and wanting to help ?

(I can easily and quickly post detailed advice on any of the following steps if required)

That means using a test profile and getting crash reports, or proving it does not crash

  • In safe-mode (that disables Hardware Acceleration)
  • with a new clean profile
  • with all plugins disabled
  • best also in a new install of Firefox (but it is possible to install an additional version anyhow
  • if memory issues persist in that configuration probably output from about:memory will be needed.

This year we have the advantage of paid HelpDesk staff who will be able to assist if necessary with filing bugs, however even they will not be able to work miracles and file a bug saying Firefox leaks please fix we need to give engineers something to work with.

Crash Reports
I did glance at some of the Crash reports. I wonder if the js compiler is implicated in some crashes? but let's get down to a basic configuration and see what happens.

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Thanks for the kind offer @john99.

I have no problem doing the things you ask, for the next 2 weeks i have quite allot of time before i jump into my new project and even then i will be using my MBP allot during the evenings so i should be able to stick around. As long as i dont have to do nasty things that make my OS unstable i'm in.

One thing though, if i'm suppose to use the FF without plugins (such as flash, adblock) i wont be really "using" it properly but maybe that is for eliminating the possible cause (just not sure how its done i mean i cant watch videos on youtube which i do very often)? in any case i'm in and would gladly help, i love FF and want it to be improved. I been running FF with disabled Hardware Acceleration for a while already. I also only use very few plug-ins and addons (like 5-6 each) so let me know what you want me to do first?

ps. i just have a feeling all of this will end up being flash problem :D that crap is like the worst thing ever but sadly its hard to be without :(

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Post1 of 2 Vampyren
Great. This could help not only you but a lot of other unhappy Mac users.
I will say first off I don't know much about Mac's but if something is Mac specific I am sure someone will lend a hand as required. Other than the low memory crashes; and you have those already; there should be nothing to cause OS instability.

Anyone watching feel free to jump in if you have better ideas

First Stage The use of safe mode, clean installs, and no plugins, is to try to determine whether the issue is with the basic set, up graphics issues, Firefox itself etc. That is probably unlikely. If we find a problem at that level it will be unexpected but we can quickly file a bug for it.

If there is no problem then there will be no crashes no memory problems and we have a good starting point. We can immediately say the cause should be possible to find by a process of addition/elimination. Second Stage You may have your own ideas about what causes the problems. Possibly a good line of investigation is then to try the clean system with nothing other than the Flash Player plugin enabled.

Now as I said I am no expert on Mac.s IIRC they may share memory in a different way to other OS s but anyhow you mention you are having to clear memory and even so your crashes are showing up times in the order of 24hrs or less. I am guessing you will not need to wait too long before getting crash reports. As you say it is a huge memory leak I assume that is pretty quickly noticeable.

What I would suggest is that you install a second Firefox and have at least one additional test profile. Doing that will allow you to use your ordinary working profile and ordinary install as you wish. I would suggest downloading and using a custom install of Firefox Beta. That will be Firefox 27 but like the Releases that channel updates soon. In about a week or so it will upgrade to Firefox 28.

I will tag this thread as escalate that makes sure it will be watched by the HelpDesk and several of the top contributors.


Briefly First Stage

  1. Back up your current Firefox profile (Belts and braces, you do not want to loose anything important)
  2. Create two new test profiles. One may be a copy of the original profile. The other a clean profile.
  3. Install Firefox 27 Beta
  4. Run the Firefox Beta, in Firefox's safe mode. Use the clean profile. Have all plugins disabled.
  5. Browse around and see what happens.
    Do things improve dramatically ?
    Does the Memory still seem to leak ?
    Is this crash free ?
  6. Report on progress and paste in any Crash ID s from the clean configuration.
    • We may need somewhere to post the gzipped about:memory report files when you get memory problems
    • Part of the problem may turn out to be use of specific sites. The increase in memory content relating to specific sites may be a clue.

I will follow with more detail and links.

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part 2 of 2

I can explain about Flash Player at a later date.
As they say in the cookery programs "Here's one I made earlier"
Re-using something I posted before. This is an explanation about multiple installs and multiple profiles.

The emphasis on bookmarks is simply because I typed this out for another thread. The points remain valid. One point being usually it is safer to rename files rather than deleting them. Another is be careful with profile locations and do not delete or rename them without asking first you could loose things.

Using multiple profiles is not something we shout about on this forum. It is I think considered too advanced. It does have some dangers in that you may accidentally delete profiles for instance. It is however possible to manually backup profiles, and that may be a good precaution to take. I would also strongly suggest that you follow this good practice (At least until you are proficient enough to manually recreate and modify profiles)

  1. Normally use the locations suggested by Firefox
    It is easier and safer
    • Always use an empty folder
      Other contents disappear when the profile is removed
    • Never nest profiles within each other
      As above,delete mother, lose child also
  2. Do not rename profiles
    Confusing, profile names and folder names mismatch
  3. Do not delete profiles
    Just remove shortcuts if not in use. Delete the wrong one and you lose settings, passwords & bookmarks etc

Uses of multiple profiles include

  • Testing, with clean or temporary profiles
  • Different users, or different work type within the same OS account. That may include different bookmarks files &/or a different set of addons.
  • Running multiple Firefox versions &/or multiple instances of Firefox simultaneously.

There are other methods of creating profiles but the best is probably to use Firefox's built-in profile manager.

Read up some of the articles, and if you want to try anything and are unsure post back.

Clean Re-Installs & Profiles:

Let's try to offer a bit of a generalised overview.

What I guess I am saying is that Firefox can have custom install locations and multiple profiles, even multiple install of Firefox. These are all things an ordinary user is never going to even need to think about. We do not even document this in the Knowledge Base. As someone with a difficult to resolve issue you are needing to put a lot of effort into looking for a solution and testing various things, maybe you need to be aware of these concepts.

Now think about as an example deleting a file. Consider maybe a Word Processor (WP) one that includes Documents with many different versions as internal restoreable revisions. If you rewrite it and you know the old version with its sub versions is never to be needed again then you just delete it.

Say you are documenting your life story or writing a novel. If files (WP Documents in this scenario) are going to be needed again then it is worth considering instead of deleting them renaming and possibly moving them. That takes slightly more time, and more space on you computer but opens up greater possibilities; if you wish to look back at older versions and revision history for some reason.
Even if the WP program was toast, having the renamed Document file may help if that WP or a similar WP was reinstalled.

  • Now consider the situation with Firefox.
    We teach users to use safe mode or Firefox Reset. These are often effective solutions, or diagnostic tests and are easy for the user to do.
    • More advanced users may consider more advanced methods. The multiple actions of Safe Mode or Firefox Reset may be tried individually.
  • Consider Firefox Bookmarks, very appropriate in your thread !
    As a working database they are stored in and used from a profile file places.sqlite
    • The bookmarks database.
      As you may have discovered deleting that database file has consequences. You may never get your Firefox History back again (Windows OS & file recovery routines, and a measure of luck may help).
    • Had you instead, renamed the database file you would have had an easy escape route if you wanted the History back.
    • Other Bookmark Backups.
      Firefox has internal snapshots of bookmark files in a folder within the profile. Ordinarily they are used to restore bookmarks state to a state from several days ago. This overwrites current bookmarks and modifies the database. Had you had one or more backup profiles you would have had many more possibilities of restoring bookmarks and History. (Specifically in this instance it is only the database & backups folder that are required not the whole profile)
  • Consider Firefox Profiles
    Often a disused or discarded profile is broken, unusable and beyond the efforts of even attempting a repair. In a troubleshooting situation you may be trying deliberately modified profiles that you expect or know to work, and maybe successfully resolve some situation. It could be worth preserving at least some of those for use at a later date, without the time consuming and potentially dangerous steps of modifying the valuable and only working profile.

Totally Clean Re-installs & Profiles - In summary.

Whether reinstalls of Firefox, the OS or a Word Processor; are involved sometimes the only, and even the quickest option is a full clean reinstall. However especially where data is to be preserved be it revisions of Bookmarks, revisions of a novel or other stored information; then there are often various alternative backup and recovery options that may be tried instead; or less drastic uninstall & reinstall options . From a Firefox perspective multiple profiles may occasionally assist with some of the options that may be considered.

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Goody so lets start. Before that let me just say a few more things so you have a better idea about the system and all. I’m personally very careful with what i put on my system. Also i make a clean install now and then to make things in order. Lastly i only use something like 15 application in total and most are small things like remote desktop (CorD), text editor, iMovie, iphoto and such (can give a full list later when needed). So i’m pretty sure my system is stable unless Apple hasn’t done some crazy changes that makes some application incompatible with their latest memory compression shizzle in Maverick (OSX 10.9)

About the crashes, If i don’t use the clear memory and just use the system as i use to usually every 2:nd day i would get the crash, its all dependent how much i use the browser, the more i watch movies and go back and forth between the tabs the shorter time between the crashes so it much dependent how much i use my MBP. It can go 3-4 days if i use it very little and just check my mails for instance.

First stage: 1) As your suggestion i will tonight install another set of Firefox with a new profile for testing. Should i install beta version of flash that is available on Firefox page?

2) Not sure if i should keep using my FF 26 or move my plugins and suff to FF 27beta? most likely most things are not compatible so what would i gain by moving them to FF 27b? or are you thinking if some fixes from FF 27b can help?

I will continue reading part 2 in a bit, just got home so just wanted to post saying thanks for the detailed info and your help.

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Hi again,

Before jumping into FF 27b i wanted to see how long it takes me to get FF26 to crash during normal use and i feel its close ( 1,5 day so far). I attach the processes for better understanding. Usually when memory used gets close to 8GB and FF is using around 2GB the crash comes. As you can see i'm only running FF + Word at the moment although i do have about 38 tabs open. Will add crashlog once it goes down. Also i'm familiar with creating profiles and such, i actually backup my profile folder often so no worry in that area :D my profile folder is called "Shadow" so easy naming.


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Plugins register and so are installed and available automatically. So when you install Firefox from the Beta channel it will have your standard plugins.

For the main test profile you will need to disable all but Flash Player.

I am hoping that Firefox Beta in safe mode and with no plugins other than Flash player will not crash, or if it does at least maybe we will get a consistent and easier to understand crash Signature.

Presumably if FlashPlayer is not used you do not get the memory going up out of control and get no crashes. It is important that you test out that as a first step. If there is a problem at that stage it needs investigating.

Should this turn out to be a bug with Flash Player itself I am not sue what the detailed procedures will be. Adobe track their own bugs, but I have noticed bugs getting cross linked.

Mac.s do not have the protected mode problem that we see with Windows. I think it is best to test with the latest stable release of Flash. I know I suggested testing with Firefox Beta, but Mozilla has a rapid release cycle now. Most bugs and fixes occur in the nightly channel.

I note you mentioned it being a 8GB machine and you are having problems when the 8GB ram is all in use. What besides Firefox and your OS is using all the rest of the memory ?

A I said I do not understand Mac.s but presumably when Ram is low swap memory is used. You have not disabled your swap file have you ? Looking just at Firefox's about:memory results in isolation may be misleading if the whole system is out of RAM.

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quite surprised it hasnt crashed yet, usually about this time it always crashes so now 2 days and working, although i been only using the MBP for about 2h today so the night is long :D will report back once it crashes. I have downloaded the FF 27b so i will get started with it once i get the crash here, just want to have something recent to compare against. Hope you agree?

I dont usually have much else beside FF running, sometime i have word or note open on the side but they dont use that much memory (like 50meg or so). Or i could have itunes listening to radio. I have not disabled swap and if i check the process for FF i see it uses 6.5GB, see the image i include. Right now the FF is a bit slugish and feels it should crash anytime, high CPU usage, high memory usage are all signs before it happens so lets see.

ps. i have however removed hibernate functionality since i have a SSD and i dont want like 8GB data written to my SSD each time i close the lid but i dont think it has anything to do with this issue.

Geändert am von vampyren

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Strange i dont see the attachment i my previous post so i try to attach it again.

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The attachments / gallery seems to have been playing up recently for some reason.

I note that FlashPlayer 12 is now out. When you start testing I guess it would be best to test with that now.

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Hi, Thank you for reporting this and doing these tests, I have brought this to the attention of our user advocacy team and hope to find more information.

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Hi guys,

This is amazing, now that i report the issue it seems FF is refusing to crash, its working really slow and all videos plays almost in slow motion while sound is fine. I have never been able to get it to work this long and the memory being this high, maybe its a combination of latest FF and Flash which is working better together or other plugin update. I attach another snapshots of memory where FF is up to 3.43gig with more or less the same tabs as last so the memory keeps going up. See also the small box on the lower right corner with a bit more info. I'm not sure what you guys want me to do next? 1) continue using FF 26 until it crashes (although surfing is a pain as everything is slow) 2) only update flash player to version 12.x and continue using FF 26 3) start using FF 27b with latest flash beta

Please advice. Cheers /R

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Hi again, and as suspected it just crashed: https://crash-stats.mozilla.com/report/index/64128349-9fe7-4562-a865-a9c732140118

Will now setup 2 profiles with FF27 beta unless you want me to do something else first?

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Maybe someone from User advocacy will drop in with detailed or better suggestions, meanwhile it seems a good idea if you can try to test it out in SafeMode etc and confirm (or otherwise) that Firefox behaves and does not crash of have Memory problems.

Perhaps it would be an idea if you use about:memory and produce a gzipped report say after an hour or so then maybe each 6 hours. If you are getting odd memory usage that sort of info may be of use to the User Advocacy experts.

Thanks again for giving this a go.

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Hi John,

Did you mean continue using FF26 in safe mode or use the beta ? When it crashed as usual i loose all my tabs so i left it be with 1 tab open (this page) and this morning i see FF is using around 590meg which seems allot for just 1 tab. I tried to attach the memory file but this page dont accept the file format. So i put it into my Dropbox, hope you can access it? https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bpe778c337uauwm/DbDte4LAwh

Thanks also for the links and guideline mate.

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