How To Free Memory on Mac: Top Tips

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Do you find yourself running out of RAM regularly? You have to learn how to free memory on Mac computers.

Depending on what kind of Mac you have, you may be equipped with as little as 8GB of random access memory. Once you factor in the RAM, it takes to run the OS, and you’ll only be able to run another program or two before you start experiencing crashing and freezing. If you’re trying to run Logic Pro or Final Cut, the frustration can set it within minutes.

Although your Mac is a high-powered machine, it becomes useless when it gets bogged down by apps and programs that take up lots of memory. In this post, we’re going to tell you how to free up memory, so keep reading, and your Mac computer will be fun to work with again.

Checking the Memory Usage

You may suspect that you’re having RAM problems when you get the “spinning ball of death,” a project you were working on crashed, or you end up searching things like “cursor disappeared Mac.” These are all very strong indications that too much is going on, but you can get confirmation by checking memory usage on Mac.

Go into the Applications section of your Mac and look for the Activity Monitor. Here, you’ll be able to pull up a window that shows you exactly what your computer is doing at that very moment. You’ll see a “Memory Pressure” graph and a breakdown of what your RAM is doing.

When the graph is all red and yellow, your computer struggles with memory. The breakdown on the side will tell you how much RAM your computer has, how much of that you’re currently using, as well as cache files, and what your OS is using.

If your computer has 8GB of RAM and the number underneath says you’re using 7.75GB, then you need to take action. Let’s now discuss how to do that.

Remove Login Items You Don’t Need

Start at the beginning when you’re looking at how to free up RAM on Mac computers. As your computer boots up, how much stuff is it trying to do right off the bat? The more apps that open on login, the worse your performance will be.

You didn’t necessarily tell your computer to do this, but they can sometimes covertly put themselves on the login items list when installing new programs. To stop this from happening, open “System Preferences,” then go to “Users & Groups.” Click on the “Login Items” tab, then select all of the programs you don’t want to run on startup (probably most of them).

When you’re done selecting, click “-,” lock your preferences, and you should be all set.

Clean Up Your Hard Drive

RAM and hard drive space go hand-in-hand. If you’ve got a packed and cluttered hard drive, you’d better believe it’s going to start affecting your computer’s ability to run properly.

When you run out of RAM, your physical space becomes virtual memory. No hard drive space, no backup plan.

As a general rule, you should keep 20% of your hard drive space free to perform this function. Consider moving them onto an external device if you’ve got large files on your drive that you aren’t using. Music, movies, and pictures are all great candidates to keep on an external drive.

You can also delete applications you no longer use, old downloads, and system junk. It can sometimes be difficult to tell – especially on a Mac – what your computer needs and what can be deleted.

For that reason, you may consider downloading a memory cleaner to go through the files for you. There are many of these programs out there, so choose a reputable one, and an hours-long process can be completed in a few minutes.

Declutter Your Desktop

Many people use their desktop as a junkyard of icons and folders, resulting in clutter. This isn’t only horrible to look at, but MacOS treats every icon as its little active window. When you have lots of things on your desktop, it’s straining your RAM.

Move everything you can off of your desktop and into a different location. You’ll notice your RAM free up in the Activity Monitor almost immediately.

Don’t Forget About Your Trash Can.

This goes without saying for some, but others forget to do it. When you send your files to the Trash Can, your files aren’t deleted from your drive when you send them to the Trash Can. They remain there until you empty it once and for all.

It’s easy to do but is often overlooked, leaving people wondering why their drive space hasn’t increased.

Cache Files

Cache files don’t take up a huge amount of space, but they can be a mysterious part of why you’re having RAM issues. These are around so that things like preferences in apps and previously visited web pages are remembered, allowing things to run more smoothly.

You can delete cache files by opening up Finder, going to “Go to Folder,” and typing “~/Library/Caches” into the field. This should bring up all of your cache files, which you can delete one by one or all at once. Remember that you may have to log in to certain websites or reset certain preferences afterward.

Don’t Run Too Much at Once

All of these things should work to free up RAM on your Mac, but if you’re still finding it sluggish, you’ll have to have some workarounds. The main thing is to not run too many processes at once.

If you have a penchant for multitasking with a Chrome browser open here and a Lightroom session open there, your Mac’s performance could suffer. Just be mindful of how much strain you’re putting on the RAM, and you can make your computer work better for you.

Learning How to Free Memory on Mac Computers Makes Life Easier

Now that you know how to free memory on Mac computers, you can have a better computing experience. Whether you’re learning how to free up space on a Macbook Pro with 32GB of RAM or how to free up space on a Macbook Air with 8GB of RAM, doing so will make life easier.

Did you enjoy this post? Come back for more computer tips.

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