Out of date: This is not the most recent version of this page. Please see the most recent version

Runtime statistics

mbed OS 5 provides various runtime statistics to help characterize resource usage. This allows easy identification of potential problems, such as a stack close to overflowing. The metrics currently supported are available for the heap and the stack.

Heap stats

Heap statistics provide exact information about the number of bytes dynamically allocated by a program. It does not take into account heap fragmentation or allocation overhead. This allows allocation size reports to remain consistent, regardless of order of allocation (fragmentation) or allocation algorithm (overhead).

To enable heap stats:

  1. Add the command line flag -DMBED_HEAP_STATS_ENABLED=1.
  2. Use the function mbed_stats_heap_get() to take a snapshot of heap stats.

Note: This function is available even when the heap stats are not enabled, but always returns zero for all fields.

Example use cases

  • Getting worst case memory usage, max_size, to properly size MCU RAM.
  • Detecting program memory leaks by the current size allocated (current_size) or number of allocations in use (alloc_cnt).
  • Use alloc_fail_cnt to check if allocations have been failing, and if so - how many.

Example program using heap statistics

#include "mbed.h"
#include "mbed_stats.h"

int main(void)
    mbed_stats_heap_t heap_stats;

    printf("Starting heap stats example\r\n");

    void *allocation = malloc(1000);
    printf("Freeing 1000 bytes\r\n");

    printf("Current heap: %lu\r\n", heap_stats.current_size);
    printf("Max heap size: %lu\r\n", heap_stats.max_size);


    printf("Current heap after: %lu\r\n", heap_stats.current_size);
    printf("Max heap size after: %lu\r\n", heap_stats.max_size);

Side effects of enabling heap stats

  • An additional 8 bytes of overhead for each memory allocation.
  • The function realloc will never reuse the buffer it is resizing.
  • Memory allocation is slightly slower due to the added book keeping.

Stack stats

Stack stats provide information on the allocated stack size of a thread and the worst case stack usage. Any thread on the system can be queried for stack information.

To enable heap stats, add the command line flag -DMBED_STACK_STATS_ENABLED=1.

Example program using stack statistics

#include "mbed.h"
#include "cmsis_os.h"

int main(void)
    printf("Starting stack stats example\r\n");

    osThreadId main_id = osThreadGetId();

    osEvent info;
    info = _osThreadGetInfo(main_id, osThreadInfoStackSize);
    if (info.status != osOK) {
        error("Could not get stack size");
    uint32_t stack_size = (uint32_t)info.value.v;
    info = _osThreadGetInfo(main_id, osThreadInfoStackMax);
    if (info.status != osOK) {
        error("Could not get max stack");
    uint32_t max_stack = (uint32_t)info.value.v;

    printf("Stack used %li of %li bytes\r\n", max_stack, stack_size);

Note: The stack statistics API is experimental and will change.