Guide to Clear Memory and Reduce Ram Usage on Mac

Have you ever noticed the “Your system has run out of application memory” message on your Mac screen? If yes, your computer is running scarce of RAM, and you will have to clean it to fix it. Let’s learn how to clear RAM in your Mac to optimize its performance. 

What Is RAM?

As we know, RAM is a standard acronym used for Random Access Memory which provides storage resources for ongoing processes and tasks. RAM is faster than other storage resources, so your computer uses it to speed up things. Macs usually ship with 8 GB RAM, which is optimal for handling high-end tasks. 

However, if you require running resource-heavy applications and games together, anything higher than 8 GB is recommended. If you are running short of memory space, you will experience issues such as spinning beach balls, performance lags, unresponsive apps, freezing apps, crashed programs, slow page load speeds, etc. 

what is ram
what is ram

The fact that you cannot upgrade RAM in your Mac computer adds to the problem; so, it is advised to buy as much memory as you can afford while purchasing a Mac. 16 GB is more than your app’s needs, and you actually are not required to spend on more than that unless you are using resource-heavy apps. 

Sometimes, resource-consuming apps like Photoshop save data to scratch disk when there is not enough RAM available which slows down your computer. You need to fix the scratch disk error by clearing the disk manually or using third-party tools. 

Some Mac computers are upgradable, which means you can add more RAM, but this is not an ideal solution for all. So, before you buy more RAM, read out the tips given below to clear the memory and bring your computer to normal working condition. 

Let’s jump to the workaround procedures that you can use to reduce RAM usage on a Mac computer. 

Update macOS

Your problem can be a byproduct of the inappropriate functionality of the macOS. Check if you are running the latest version of the operating system; if not, update it now for improving the overall performance of your computer.

The updates that Apple offers frequently include security patches and bug fixes that can solve the problem.

Update macOS
Update macOS

To update to macOS Big Sur from Mojave or Catalina, open System Preferences from the Apple menu and get to Software Update. If an update is available, click on Upgrade Now for downloading the installer to download the new version of the macOS. As the operating system update is installed, your Mac will be out of action for a couple of minutes. 

Check Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor is your first go-to place when you notice a freezing app or a slow-performing Mac. It is a native application that helps you to figure out the resources that the running applications might be consuming, leading to system slowdowns. Go to Utilities to find the Activity Monitor or simply type the name in the Spotlight. 

You can see the details of each process and application, such as the memory each app is consuming, the number of threads running, etc. Under the Memory tab in Activity Monitor, you can view the graph for Memory pressure, Cached files, Physical memory, Swap used. Also, you can check information about the App memory and Wired memory. 

Ways to Reduce RAM Usage in Mac

The above-mentioned fixes let you resolve the performance issues that arise out of RAM overuse. However, you can prevent your computer from running out of memory by maximizing the available resources, and there are more ways than just quitting resource-heavy processes, such as video games

Clean Up Your Desktop

If you are storing a lot of files, folders, documents, and app shortcuts on the desktop, take some time to clean it up.

Clean Up Your Desktop
Clean Up Your Desktop

You can store all the items into a folder and stack them to save data by date or category. macOS treats every icon as an active window, so the more icons you store on the desktop, the more memory they will consume. 

Fix the Finder App

In the older versions of macOS, you normally see Recents on opening the Finder app. You can change this by tweaking settings as all the information about the location of the files stored on the computer is logged in RAM. This consumes a considerable memory without letting the user know about the same. 

Stop Apps Running Automatically

The startup apps on your computer consume RAM, making your system run slow. These apps run in the background and eat up system resources, so it’s important to minimize these apps to improve the system performance.

You can stop the startup apps from running automatically by disabling them in System Preferences. 

Shut Web Browser Tabs

In the latest versions of macOS, the websites that are open in Safari are listed as separate processes in Activity Monitor.

Each open tab consumes its share of RAM, which impacts the system’s performance. If you open multiple tabs in a web browser, try to minimize it by closing the tabs that are not in use.