Widgets and Memory Usage


Like many Mac users out there, I find some of the Widgets available in OSX 10.4 (Tiger) fairly useful. However, everyone should be away that using them doesn’t come without a price. That price is paid in memory (RAM).

The average Widget uses 25-30MB of RAM, even when Dashboard is NOT active. You may want to be fairly selective on which Widgets you choose to leave open, and close down the ones that you don’t use very often.

You can check you memory usage through the Activity Monitor.app located in your Utilities folder. For an even easier way to continuously monitor your system resource usage, check out MenuMeters, an awesome little Freeware utility that places customizable system resource information in your main menu bar.

6 thoughts on “Widgets and Memory Usage”

  1. Your numbers are quite different from mine. For example, my Calendar client is 6.24 MB, my Dictionary is 10.43 MB and my Calculator is 6.19MB. I wonder if there are leaks in these processes that cause them to grow over time? My system had only been up for about a day when I took these values.

    Furthermore, the number reported in Activity Monitor is “Real Memory”, or resident memory pages, and includes shared pages. That’s significant, because I expect a great deal of the process space of these clients are shared frameworks like WebCore and WebKit. These things are only in “RAM” once, and they’re shared between all the processes that use them. So, I think that things aren’t as bad as they might look at first.

    Still, I wonder why there’s such a large difference between your numbers and mine. Interesting.

  2. Hi Kooz, Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you have much more technical knowledge about this than I do, so I appreciate your insight. My system has only been on for about a day also. That’s odd that the number are so different. I just checked my numbers again, and they are all down to about 17MB now.

    I’m running 10.4.4, what do you have?

    If anyone else has info about this, feel free to chime in.

  3. I’m running 10.4.3 at home (where I took those numbers), and 10.4.4 at work (now). Here, my Calendar is 3.71MB, Dictionary is 4.36MB and Calculator is only 1.86MB. These numbers change pretty dramatically when you start to use the widgets, though. If you activate Dashboard with the Activity Monitor visible in the background and do things like “flip” the World Clock around to adjust the time zone, it’s usage jumps a lot. I’m still not seeing things get as high as you did, but it’s clear that the way you use the widgets makes a difference. I still suspect that most of the large numbers you’re seeing are shared pages, but it’s interesting behavior.

  4. hmmm… this is strange. After a fresh restart, my numbers are at the high (25-30MB) amount. I just looked at my almost new iBook, and it has the same numbers (also running 10.4.4). I wonder why yours are so much lower than mine?

  5. Update: I ended up reinstalling my system due to other problems, and I checked the memory usage afterwards. The numbers were the same (25-30MB) immediatly after a clean install.

    I have 1.5GB of RAM, I wonder if this is one of those things like, the more your have, the more they take?

  6. I had heard about this, but didin’t look into it till I saw your entry. I was up around the same levels (weather was 25, Address was 20+, etc) I have been irritated with DB because they won’t just stay on the desktop like Konfab used to do, so I thought this was an even better reason to switch back (now they’re Yahoo widgets).
    So I loaded it up and checked and the Yahoo weather is 28. Then I opened a new DB weather and it’s only 9.80 now after about an hour. I wonder if there is some sort of DB cache that doesn’t clean out and grows over time?
    I’m also on 10.4.4 on a 1g Ti Powerbook.
    One more thing, DB stickies is 17.8mb A Stickie! whereas the stickies app is 17.5 for as many stickies as you could probably ever need. If you are really worried maybe you use the orig apps (stickies, calc etc.

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