Tip: Runaway process

Ted Landau
26 November, 2011
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The Safari Web Content process – a new component of Safari 5.1 – can cause your CPU to work very hard. I’ve seen CPU percentage levels in Activity Monitor in excess of 100 percent.

Even when Web Content’s CPU usage is at a manageable level, its Real and Virtual memory listings can be quite high. When this occurs, everything in Safari (and sometimes everything on your Mac) typically slows to a crawl.

Some users suggest that Safari add-ons are the culprit, although others speculate it is an inherent memory leak in the Web Content process itself. If it’s the latter, adding more memory to your Mac will be of little, if any, benefit. Rather, it is something Apple will have to fix

in a Safari update. If you quit and relaunch Safari (without reopening all its previously open tabs and windows), the symptoms should temporarily go away.

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