Fixing a Slow Mac: Checking Your RAM

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Fixing a Slow Mac: Checking Your RAM

Fixing a Slow Mac: Checking Your RAM

RAM or Random Access Memory is the cause of about 60% of all slow Macs. The problem here is typically that you are running a program that requires more RAM than your computer has. This is especially relevant for older computers with newer OS X installed because the operating system requires more computer resources than it should just to run, because it was designed for a newer and more powerful computer.

If you are having problems with a slow Mac, there are a few simple ways to check your RAM to diagnose issues.

Checking Your RAM Capacity

You can easily see how much RAM your computer has by clicking the Apple icon in the far left corner of the top menu bar. Click “About this Mac”. Your RAM is listed under Memory, in the case of my computer, 8GB.

How much RAM do you need? That typically depends on your computer, but at least 4GB and hopefully 8 is a good standard. Some smaller laptops need less, but it eventually depends on what you are doing.

Checking RAM Usage

Start out by opening programs that you are typically running when your computer is slow.

Activity Monitor – Activity Monitor is a free tool available through Mac OSX that will allow you to check and diagnose system usage including RAM. To open it:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Go to Applications
  3. Go to Utilities
  4. Open Activity Monitor

From here, you can easily diagnose your RAM usage.

  1. Make sure you’re running programs that you would normally run when your computer is slow.
  2. From Activity Monitor click on the “Memory” tab

Here, you can see programs that are taking up the most RAM, as well as a Memory Pressure chart at the bottom. If your RAM is overloaded, the graph will be yellow or red. If it’s green, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

How much RAM should you have available? You usually want to aim for at least 10% free, but the more RAM you have free, the faster your computer will run.

Clean My Mac  – Clean My Mac is a premium program for Macintosh computers that offers easy system diagnostics from a drop down menu. If you frequently have memory usage problems, a tool like this may be useful for diagnosing and clearing up issues. Here, you can easily see how much free RAM is available in the drop down menu. Clean My Mac can be a useful tool if you want to save time or have a less technical way to maintain your Mac.

Upgrading RAM

If you frequently do not have enough RAM for tasks that you want to complete, you may be able to upgrade your RAM. However, new Mac computers do not typically allow you to install upgrades. If your Mac is 2016 or newer, this is likely the case. You will have to purchase a more powerful computer if you want more RAM.

Luckily, the secondhand market for MAC computers is high, and you can likely sell your current Mac for a large portion of the cost of a new one.

RAM is just one of the issues that can cause a Mac to run slowly. An overloaded CPU is another. Click through to the next page to learn more about it.

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About The Author
Brandy
Proliferate writer, sesquipedalian, techie, Apple fangirl (don't judge),tree hugger, yogi, tea drinker, zombie hunter. Into philotherianism & philomathy. Love my job. Visit me on Google +

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