Investigate why Firefox reaches 2-3 GB of heap-unclassified on OSX very quickly (~10 mins)




5 years ago
4 years ago


(Reporter: Noah, Unassigned)


22 Branch
Mac OS X

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)


(Whiteboard: [MemShrink:P2])


(2 attachments)



5 years ago
I've been seeing people report huge OSX memory usage problems in the Firefox support forums. We've tried all basic & advanced troubleshooting (including a new profile) and have gotten nowhere.

This user reports he first discovered the problem in Fx 21 but it still happens in Fx 22 as well.

"Firefox 21.0 on OS X 10.8.4 still has a memory leak that occurs with no Add ons, 1 tab and leads to 3GB of memory usage in 10 minutes."

I asked him to copy his about:memory dumps before & after high memory:

More context:

Per Nethercote's request, he grabbed the data at the beginning and end of his session. Although it was very hard to grab about:memory at the high memory mark b/c Fx was freezing.

It looks like it's reproducible with a certain site: - But it needs a login and limits you to 6 searches a month using the free account. :/

Nethercote told me this over irc:
njn: Noah: if memory is increasing fairly quickly, that indicates badness

Also this problem may date back to Fx 20 as per reported by this user:
^ Reported on 4/27/13

Other high memory on OSX reports:
(Reported on 5/31/13, using Fx 21)
(1 Win 7 report on Fx 21 + other mac users)
Have you tried starting in safe mode?  This one smells like hardware acceleration problems...

Comment 2

5 years ago
I don't believe hardware acceleration is to blame in this case. We weren't able to test in safe mode b/c he has to pay to perform any more searches on that site. The next time he has a legit reason to search, he will do a search w/ HWA disabled.

Here's his Graphics info from about:support:

       Device ID: 0x68a1GPU 
       Accelerated Windows: 0/1 
       Basic Vendor ID: 0x1002WebGL 
       Renderer: ATI Technologies Inc. -- ATI Radeon HD 5750 OpenGL Engine 

AzureCanvasBackend         quartz
AzureContentBackend        none
AzureFallbackCanvasBackend none

I also took the liberty of creating Nicholas & the Memshrink team a free account at the Doxpop site. ;)

Login details:
pass: memshrink

As a bonus, I also got repro steps from the bug reporter. :D

Steps to reproduce:

Execute a search on Doxpop with the following settings:

#1 Login here:

#2 Set the Marion County Open Cases Defendants search date range: 07/07/2013 to 07/19/2013 Small Claims

The critical factor is that your search should result in upwards of 600 results

#3 When the search results arrive, click on a link. Click the back button, click another link, then click on the back button. Keep repeating.

As long as you remain within that single search, you will only use up one of your searches, which are expensive (if you go over the free limit of 6 search per month, it's $6 per search afterwards).

That's the use case.

Comment 3

5 years ago
To clarify step #2:
Set "Case Type:" to "SC: Small Claims"

Set "Search Region:" to "Marion County, IN"

Set "File Date:" or "Disposition Date:" to 07/07/2013 & 07/19/2013

Click Search button.
Can you test with these steps please? Thanks
Flags: needinfo?(n.nethercote)


5 years ago
Keywords: qawanted

Comment 4

5 years ago
I can reproduce this issue up to some point on Mac OS X 10.8.4 with Firefox 21 and 23. Memory usage increases rapidly when performing the search and at step 3, but it stayed between 200MB and 400MB almost all the time. It increased to over 500MB at 2-3 times, but it never got to 600MB.

Regarding HW acceleration:
- HW acc. on => general usage of 200-400MB, increased 2 or 3 times over that.
- HW acc. off => general usage of 200-400MB, increased between 400 and 500 MB a couple of times.
Assignee: nobody → ioana.budnar
Keywords: qawanted

Comment 5

5 years ago
Created attachment 785762 [details]
Begining of about:memory.png

about:memory when over 500MB usage (HW acceleration on).

Comment 6

5 years ago
Created attachment 785763 [details]
End of same about:memory.png
Thanks, Ioana.

By the way, you can copy/paste the contents of about:memory.  In new builds, the preferred method of attaching about:memory to a bug is to dump it to a file (there's a button in the new about:memory to do this) and attach the file.  In older builds like the one you were testing, the preferred method of attaching about:memory to a bug is to open about:memory?verbose, copy-paste the results, and attach the contents to the bug.
Assignee: ioana.budnar → nobody
QA Contact: ioana.budnar
Flags: needinfo?(n.nethercote)
Whiteboard: [MemShrink] → [MemShrink:P2]
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