How to remove the "Your computer is low on memory" pop-up window

Also Known As: "Your computer is low on memory" pop-up
Type: Mac Virus
Distribution: Moderate
Damage level: Medium

How to remove "Your computer is low on memory" from Mac computers

What is "Your computer is low on memory"?

"Your computer is low on memory" is a deceptive pop-up window displayed by rogue applications (e.g. adware, browser hijackers or other Potentially Unwanted Applications - PUAs). It is displayed by ScreenSaver.app, ScreenCapture.app, Spaces.app, MacSecurityPlus and other dubious apps. The pop-up is designed to trick users into giving the application displaying it various permissions such as control over browsers and the data stored therein.

Your computer is low on memory scam

The text presented in the pop-up claims that the computer is low on memory and suggests that the user close some opened applications to free up memory. This pop-up hides another window, and thus the "Close" button of the first window is also the consent option of the next pop-up. Therefore, when "Close" is clicked, users unintentionally click the hidden button as well. The disguised pop-up is a system window through which the rogue application displays requests to allow potentially harmful capabilities/actions. For example, in this deceptive manner, the app might request permission to control the browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Safari, etc.). Once such access is allowed, the app behind this pop-up can gain access to documents and data stored on the browser, and then misuse it in various ways. Furthermore, "Your computer is low on memory" is displayed when users attempt to uninstall the application displaying it. Therefore, if you encounter this pop-up, you are strongly advised to immediately remove the app responsible for it.

PUAs such as ScreenSaver.app, ScreenCapture.app, Spaces.app, and MacSecurityPlus display "Your computer is low on memory". These unwanted applications have various dangerous capabilities. Adware-types display intrusive ads (e.g. pop-ups, banners, surveys, coupons, etc.), which significantly diminish the browsing experience by limiting browsing speed and website visibility. Additionally, when these ads are clicked, they redirect to sale-based, untrusted, compromised, deceptive/scam and malicious sites. They can also be triggered (by clicking them) to download/install content (e.g. PUAs) without users' consent. Other unwanted apps called browser hijacker modify browsers, restrict or deny access to settings and promote fake search engines. Most PUAs (regardless of other capabilities) can track data. They can monitor browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and gather users' personal information derived from it (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This collected data is shared with third parties (potentially, cyber criminals) seeking to generate revenue by misusing it. To summarize, rogue apps can cause browser and system infiltration/infections, lead to serious privacy issues, financial loss and even identity theft. To ensure device and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.

Threat Summary:
Name "Your computer is low on memory" pop-up
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Mac malware, Mac virus.
Fake Claim Pop-up claims the device is low on memory.
Detection Names (rogue installation setup)
Emsisoft (Gen:Variant.Application.MAC.Koiot.939 (B)), BitDefender (Gen:Variant.Application.MAC.Koiot.939), ESET-NOD32 (OSX/Adware.MaxOfferDeal.M), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Ketin.d), Full List (VirusTotal)
Symptoms Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites, loss of private information.
Malware Removal (Mac)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your Mac with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

An example of a pop-up displayed due to rogue apps is "* will damage your computer. You should move it to the Trash.", which is caused by HelperamcHlpradcSmbstrhlprHelpermcp and others. While unwanted applications do not need express user permission to infiltrate devices, they can also be promoted by various deceptive/scam web pages. They are promoted as legitimate and useful software with a broad array of features, but despite how good these offers may sound, they are typically nonoperational. PUAs can cause serious problems. These apps are simply used to generate profit for the developers. PUAs run intrusive advertisement campaigns, force-open all kinds of untrusted and malicious websites, hijack browsers and collect private data.

How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?

PUAs proliferate via the download/install set-ups of other software. The deceptive marketing method of pre-packing normal products with unwanted or malicious additions is called "bundling". Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. skipping steps and sections, using pre-set options) endangers devices with potential infiltration and infections. Some PUAs have "official" download pages. When clicked, intrusive ads can stealthily download/install PUAs.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications

All products should be researched before download/installation and/or purchase. Use only official and verified download channels. Download sources such as free file-hosting sites, P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.) and other third party downloaders are untrusted and should be avoided. When downloading/installing, you are advised to read the terms, explore available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" options and opt-out of all additions (apps, tools, features and so on). Intrusive ads usually seem legitimate and harmless, however, they can redirect to dubious web pages (e.g. gambling, pornography, adult-dating and others). If you encounter these advertisements/redirects, check the system and remove all suspect applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins without delay. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate them.

Text presented in the pop-up window:

Your computer is low on memory.

To free up some memory, please close a few applications.

Screenshot of a rogue installation setup, promoting applications that display "Your computer is low on memory" pop-up:

Rogue installer promoting apps that display the Your computer is low on memory pop-up

IMPORTANT NOTE! Most rogue applications are hidden deep within the system and do not appear on any list of installed software. Therefore, the removal process might be complicated. Taking the aforementioned ScreenCapture.app as an example:

1) Navigate to the "~/Library/Application Support/.screencapture/" directory, right-click on the "ScreenCapture" application, and select "Show Package Contents":

Removing ScreenCapture application step 1

2) Navigate to the "Contents/MacOS" directory and delete the "ScreenCapture" application:

Removing ScreenCapture application step 2

3) Once the previous steps are performed, the process associated with the ScreenCapture application will no longer be automatically re-started and you will be able to easily terminate it and remove the remaining application files:

Removing ScreenCapture application step 3

4) After removing the ScreenCapture application, navigate to the "/Users/Test/Library/Application Support" directory and enable the display of hidden directories. Then, search for a directory with a dubious name (e.g., ".helper", ".dir", or similar), which contains an application called "Finder". Once located, this entire directory must be deleted. Note that MacOS actually has a genuine Finder application. Yet, the malicious version has a completely different icon (typically, a Terminal logo) and criminals simply use this as a disguise:

Removal of ScreenCapture application step 4

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Mac malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited three days free trial available.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove adware and browser hijackers from a Mac computer:

Potentially unwanted applications removal:

Remove potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX","NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove "your computer is low on memory" pop-up related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

"Your computer is low on memory" pop-up removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove "your computer is low on memory" pop-up related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove "your computer is low on memory" pop-up related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove "your computer is low on memory" pop-up related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

PCrisk security portal is brought by a company RCS LT. Joined forces of security researchers help educate computer users about the latest online security threats. More information about the company RCS LT.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Your computer is low on memory pop-up QR code
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