Apple Acknowledges App/Memory Problem On Some G4 Macs

by , 8:00 AM EST, December 17th, 2002

Do you have a G4 Mac with 1.5 GB of RAM? If so, you can run a boat-load of apps all at once in OS X, and your Mac won't even sweat, right? For some people, apparently, just getting some apps to load is a problem; certain apps will complain that your maxed-out Mac doesn't have enough memory. How is that possible, you wonder after attempting to install the errant app for the ump-teenth time?

According to Apple, the fault does not lie with your Mac or OS X, it's the app itself that's the problem. Apple has released a Knowledge Base Document which offers some insight into the problem, and what you can do about it. From Apple:


Application programs may not recognize the installed memory correctly and may report that more memory is required. One example alert is "This system does not have enough memory." Applications may quit unexpectedly or produce other errors that are resolved if you reduce the amount of installed memory to 1.5 GB or less.

Products affected


Mac OS X allows Macintosh computers with four memory card (DIMM) slots that can accommodate 512 MB DIMMs to utilize more than 1.5 GB of memory. Some software, including both applications and installers, may not be able to recognize the additional memory, or incorrectly report that only a minimal amount of memory is installed.

The computer and Mac OS X are operating correctly. A change in Mac OS X to attempt to correct this would likely cause applications that are working correctly to behave in unexpected ways.

Possible steps to resolve the issue:

You can find the full article at Apple's Knowledge Base.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This has to be frustrating for those who are experiencing the problem, but two points should be taken away from this bit of news:

  1. Apple has acknowledged the problem, thus keeping firm the face it wants to present its public that it is a company that listens and responds to the concerns of its customers.
  2. Rightly or wrongly, Apple has apparently tested the affected Macs and OS X enough to feel confident that the problem isn't Apple's. Of course, stating as much doesn't necessarily help the end user fix the problem.

The problem is that in many situations such as these, a finger-pointing war can break out, and the first casualties are always the end users. We hope Apple is also putting pressure on the vendors of the problem apps so that a real resolution is forthcoming.