While using the Mac Operating System, some users complain that they receive a “too many open files” error. This error happens on busy servers when so many files, web service connections, or databases are open simultaneously.


Another possible reason includes connections not closed promptly. If you’re dealing with too many open files Mac error, the article is for you. Here, you will learn the causes and possible solutions to this issue.  


Why Avoid Too Many Open Files?


Apple has set limits on how many programs, files, or processes can run simultaneously. The maximum number of files on Linux or Mac that users can open for a Windows Iguana Server are 512 and 1024. Whenever the number of open files goes beyond this value, you’ll see the “too many open files” error.


Having too many files in active mode may lead to frozen processes and no response from right-clicks. It may drain all of the RAM and also create difficulty in force-quitting the apps. Hiding the apps or disabling unnecessary processes can be a potential option if you feel that your desktop is too crowded or the system is working sluggishly.


Open files on Mac consumes a fair share of system resources making the device slower than usual. If you are not using some of the apps on your laptop, disable them and then hide them. This way, the app exists on the device but in the hidden mode, which is sometimes good for security reasons as well. To unhide them, read about how to see hidden files on Mac.


How to Prevent Mac from Opening Multiple Files


  • Inspect the Code


Check the code to ensure connections are closed instantly the moment it has completed the use. Figure out if the code opens the least number of desired connections. This will help in ensuring the minimum number of determined connections.


Make sure that the code doesn’t allow several connections to increase constantly. However, in any case, when you require opening more files than the set limit, divide the processing between multiple servers.


  • Disable SIP (System Integrity Protection)

SIP avoids specific system-owned files and directories from being changed by the processes having no right entitlements. To disable it, you have to reboot your system into Recovery Mode. It can be done by restarting the Mac and holding Command + R.


Release them once you hear the startup sound and see the Apple logo. After rebooting, tap Utilities and then Terminal. Type the ‘csrutil disable’ command in the Terminal. Reboot and log in now.


  • Configure New File Limits


Open Terminal and enter the command ‘sudo nano /Library/LaunchDaemons/limit.maxfiles.plist’. Now, enter some specific content into the text editor in the Terminal window. The content may differ based on the macOS version.


If required, submit your password. 64000 is the soft limit at which your Mac starts stopping new files from being open, but still, let them go. It stops them completely when the value reaches 524288.


  • Use ulimit-n Command


The simple and quick fix for too many open files Mac error is the use of the ‘ulimit-n’ command. Here, the value of n seems to be critical to deciding whether this command is accepted by the Mac Operating System or not.


ulimit -n 10240 works much better than higher values of n. Typing the ‘ulimit – n 10240’ statement to the bash profile with sudo nano .bash_profile usually makes it lasting.


  • Increase ulimit Settings


Another way you can use it is to increase an ulimit setting on macOS. But, before you go ahead, first get the current limit of file descriptors. For this, use ulimit -n. If this value has not been modified earlier, the maximum number of open files can be up to 256.


Then, increase the setting by executing ulimit -n 12288. Here, 12288 denotes a required value. Note that it will modify the limit just for the active session. Hence, add this command to your bash_profile.


How to Prevent Too Many Open Files Error


Everyone knows that prevention is better than cure. So, it is good to prevent this error rather than trying several methods to solve it. There are multiple methods you can use to prevent the error from displaying on your Mac screen.


Try to open the connections less than the limit set. Immediately close the connections once you no longer use them. Make sure to set the limits on the maximum number of allowed connections.


Diagnose Too Many Files Open Problem

Mostly, this error appears due to a configuration smaller for the current requirements. However, in some cases, the reason may include a leaking file descriptor process. So, it is very important to find out the main cause of the issue.


For this, you can check the current limits and the limits of a running process. Try to track open files in real-time. You can also track a possible file descriptor leak. Other possible ways include extra notes specific to DB2.


The Conclusion


Not only on the Macs, but the limitation of opening the limited number of files is applied to all computer systems. It helps in preventing programs from running amok and also saves the RAM space from draining quickly.