How to Free RAM on Mac
If your Mac has become as slow as a snail, you might check its RAM, it may be used to the maximum! I’ll show you how to clean RAM memory and reduce its usage without restarting your Mac.
What Is RAM
Random access memory provides temporary storage for processes and tasks. Most Macs have 8Gb or this memory, however, older models are equipped only with 4Gb.
If there is a lack of RAM on your Mac, you will notice the following things:
- A spinning ball will appear more often,
- ‘The system has run out of app memory’ message will appear,
- Apps will be crashing all the time,
- You will have to wait for ages to load files.
It’s a pity, but upgrading Mac’s RAM is not easy, sometimes, this can’t be done at all. So, the best solution is to free some RAM and continue working.
Here are tips for clearing your Mac’s random access memory:
1. Restart your machine
This is the simplest way to free RAM. When your Mac is shut down and turned on again, its RAM starts the work from the zero point, so all the processes run smoother.
Though, constant restarting might be very inconvenient for a user. The good news is that you can use other ways for getting the desired result, without waiting until your Mac turns off and on every time.
2. Update your MacOS
Another possible issue is old MacOS. Find out if you are using the latest version and update it, if necessary. In many cases this really works, though, this may sound weird: how do updates influence your Mac’s functioning?
3. Visit Activity Monitor
Going to Activity monitor is one of the first things people do when their Macs are stuck of frozen. This app comes with your Mac and everyone can check it. Go to Spotlight and start typing ‘Activity monitor’. Launch the app.
It will show you how much RAM is used at the moment and what types of activity are using it. Find out the details on every process or app by clicking on them. Also, by right-clicking on the panel, you may add extra graphs such as Memory Pressure, Cached files, Memory used, and so on.
This section will show a graph with an overview of the pressure on RAM from the system. An ideal option is green. If things go worse, it is yellow, and if everything is bad with your Mac, it is red.
How to Stop Processes in Activity Monitor
Once you know which process freezes your Mac, stop it!
- Go to the Memory tab in Activity Monitor
- Select the Memory column and sort all the processes by RAM usage. See which tasks and processes eat the most of RAM.
- Select the culprit and click (i) in Menu.
- Find out whether you can get rid of this process, and whether it is not very important for the system.
- Shut it down. Select the process in Activity Monitor and click ‘X’. Confirm your choice when the app asks you to do that.
Keep in mind that there are important processes required by MacOS, so be careful when quitting them!
4. Close Unnecessary Apps
Even if they don’t show up in Activity Monitor as the causes of the disaster, you can close the apps you are not currently using. What’s more, some of them may be working in the background, so you may not realize they are turned on.
Just take a look at your Dock. Maybe there are some apps you don’t need right now.
- RIght-click on the app in your Dock.
- Click ‘Quit’.
5. Remove Apps from Startup Items
Also, check if those apps are starting with your system, you can prevent them from doing that, and you won’t need to quit them every time your MacOS says about the shortage of RAM.
Here is how to do this:
- Go to ‘System Preferences’.
- Visit ‘Users and Groups’.
- Find your username on the left sidebar and select it.
- Proceed with ‘Login items’, see the list of apps that start with your Mac every time.
- Select apps you don’t need and click on a button with a minus on it.
6. Check Your CPU Usage
Well, RAM is not the only one that can cause frozen apps. Too much pressure on CPU may have the same effect. You can see whether it is overused in Activity Monitor.
- Launch Activity Monitor.
- Go to the CPU tab.
- Sort the processes (this point is the same to what we did while sorting apps by RAM usage).
- Look whether there are some apps that overuse CPU.
- Quit those apps.
In addition, I want to remind you that keeping your Mac clean (both on Desktop and in folders) will make you happy, as this influences its performance greatly.