How do I diagnose memory leaks

Are you running out of space on your startup disk for application storage?

I bought a new Macbook Pro (8.3) last April and used it extensively for Xcode development, and little else.

A message popped up this morning:

"Your Mac OS X startup disk is out of space for application storage."

Then it will be suggested to close applications and remove files from my startup disk.

I suppose this means virtual memory, but my hard drive has 600.26GB available on my hard drive, according to Finder. I also connected a time machine backup disk to the computer, but there is 664GB available.

What does this message mean if there is enough space left on the primary hard drive?

I have 8 GB of RAM, a 750 GB hard drive and OS X 10.6.8. If any of the other system information is relevant, please let me know.

bmike ♦

I would reboot in Safe Mode (hold SHIFT when you hear the post chime on boot - release when you see the gray apple) - it might momentarily feel like it can't map another paging file - if if this is repeatable, it will be a bizarre series of circumstances with so much free space.

Adam Davis

@bmike Hmm, thanks, I'll try that and get back to you.

Adam Davis

@bmike I restarted it (not in safe mode) and will visit again if it happens again.


This is a typical memory leak situation. IMHO Xcode is the reason for this.

Adam Davis

@mspasov Hmmm! That would mean my software is bad as I want to assume that xcode has no memory leaks ... right?


I've seen this message in programs like Photoshop that have their own virtual memory systems instead of just assuming that the operating system can handle the RAM and memory allocation.

A restart should help. (Starting in Safe Mode may be helpful if you want to do a full hard drive repair run and then want to restart normally.)

Adam Davis

Interesting. I should have taken a screenshot - it gave me the entire list of open apps and a force exit button so I could close it. I assumed it was from OS X, but maybe it wasn't. At the time, I've only been running Xcode, Safari, Terminal, Texedit, Finder, Preview, Quicktime, iTunes, and a few other Apple apps. In fact, I closed them all (restarted Finder) and the dialog persisted. So I assumed it wasn't attached to an application and was a system message, but that would have been the case in Windows, maybe OS X apps will allow exiting dangling threads with open system messages?

Peter B.

I had the exact same problem. Running "Repair Permissions" in Disk Utility resolved the problem.

My problem was likely caused by using CleanMyMac messing around with the booth system and app folders.


If you have a relatively new HP printer, the software that came with it can cause a massive memory leak. I have a 2 year old 27 "Core i7 iMac that suddenly gave the same error message. I traced it back to the HP software. After completely removing the HP software, the error never came back. HP didn't have this problem yet fixed -p / 655701

Adam Davis

Ah, that's right - I've found the HP software to be causing problems, too, but not to the same extent.

Adam Davis

I had slightly bad memory that occasionally crashed the system. Because of this, I reset the original memory and have not received this error since then.

In my case, it's probably related to bad RAM, strange as that may seem.