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Custom Mouse Pointers Blamed for Monterey Memory Leak

Many users of macOS 12 Monterey are reporting massive memory leaks, as high as 70 GB or more, which causes Macs to run out of memory entirely and require a restart. At his Eclectic Light Company blog, Howard Oakley writes that Mozilla has traced the issue to the custom pointer options in Monterey. Mozilla recommends using a standard pointer size and colors until Apple resolves the bug.

Wait, you didn’t know that Monterey offered options for customizing the pointer size and colors? You’re excused—it’s a little feature hidden away in System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Pointer that we just heard about recently too. Once it’s working properly, though, it might be a boon for anyone who has trouble finding the tiny black cursor on a large screen Mac.

If you have customized the pointer and are suffering from memory leaks, set the pointer size to Normal and click the Reset button to change the pointer outline and fill colors back to the default.

Pointer settings in Monterey

On 9to5Mac, Ben Lovejoy argues that the custom pointers aren’t the sole cause of memory leaks, although he says resetting the pointer is worth trying. However, Howard Oakley points out that this leak is associated with any pointer change—such as from the arrow to the text insertion bar—so any app with frequent pointer changes, like a Web browser, will suffer from this issue.

For right now, resetting your pointer is the only possible fix apart from frequent restarts. If you haven’t played with this feature yet, we strongly recommend waiting until Apple releases a fix.

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Comments About Custom Mouse Pointers Blamed for Monterey Memory Leak

Notable Replies

  1. This feature is not new. I’ve been using it for years many OSes back. It’s just been hidden away in Accessibility. No issues for me so far on my M1 Mac mini.

  2. Changing the pointer size is not new, changing its color is new in Monterey.

  3. I’ve used a larger mouse pointer for years and with no issues so far on Monterey. However, I did not change the color. Since the color feature is new, I wonder if that’s where the memory leak is located?

  4. I’ve used Mouseposè before. I’ve set it up a hot key to highlight the mouse position. Mouseposè’s track purpose is for screen recording. You can highlight the cursor, shows various tours of mouse clicks

    I wonder if the shake to locate feature causes any issues.

  5. I had a kernel panic a couple of days ago, on 12.0.1 on an M1 MacBook Air. I don’t use a custom pointer though.

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