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How to free up RAM on Mac

Is your Mac paralyzed by lack of free memory? Don’t panic. Here I will show you my go-to methods to free up memory on Mac. These tips require zero technical skill and anyone can try them and follow along as you read this article.

What is critical memory usage?
Critical memory usage is easy to spot. Usually, your Mac will hang up occasionally and become hotter.

Signs of memory overloaded
  • beach balls of death
  • fun sound and overheating
  • apps crashing

How to check memory usage on Mac

First, let’s check out your Activity Monitor that will do an X-ray of your memory usage.

  • Open the Launchpad. in the search bar, Start typing Activity Monitor.
  • Click on the Memory Tab.

How to free up RAM on Mac

Below you’ll see how your Mac’s memory is shared between your apps and processes. Notice the colored graph under Memory Pressure. If this graph is approaching yellow or red, your Mac needs to free up memory. The memory is measured in gigabytes or megabytes.

Here in the column, you can see how much memory in megabytes each app is consuming. You can click on memory to sort these by size. The memory is measured in gigabytes or megabytes.

Here in the column, you can see how much memory in megabytes each app is consuming. You can click on memory to sort these by size.

  • If you find suspiciously memory-heavy items, click on the cross button to the left.
  • This will force quit it.

How to free up RAM on Mac

You’ll be surprised at how numerous these little apps are — and most of them occupy your memory completely unbeknownst to you.

How to free up RAM automatically

To quickly remove items consuming memory — without entering any commands in the Terminal — you can use an app that many of you heard about, it’s called CleanMyMac X. It will take a few seconds to install.

  • You launch and open CleanMyMac X.
  • Then you click on the Maintenance tab.
  • And here it is. Free up RAM. Click on it — and this will free up memory slots, occupied by apps and cached data.

How to free up RAM on Mac

You can use this simple button whenever your Mac freezes up or you need to process some very massive file that causes your Mac to stall.
Bingo! Also, check out other tools under Maintenance in CleanMyMac. You can try more tune-ups and little optimizations that improve the performance of your Mac. Like “Free up Purgeable space” or “Run maintenance scripts” Okay,

How to free up RAM on Mac

The previous step involved an app but there are also things you can do on your own manually.

Use Chrome task manager

Chrome browser is so helpful, alas at the cost of much of your memory being used. There are hundreds of small operations running in the background and a constant back and forth between your Mac and Google servers. But you shouldn’t just passively witness it, you can change things a little bit.

  • While in Chrome, go to Settings.
  • It’s a 3-dot icon in the top right.
  • But don’t go to the Settings themselves, just click on More Tools to find Task Manager.

How to free up RAM on Mac

  • Now, sort everything by Memory Footprint. Cool!
  • Now you’re in a secret part of Chrome and you can disable unseen tabs and memory items that are too heavy.

How to free up RAM on Mac


Disable login items

Login items are another category of memory-demanding objects on Mac. 

  • Go to System Preferences.
  • Find Users & Groups. 

How to free up RAM on Mac

  • Here you can view and edit apps that launch when you boot up your Mac. Keep them at a bare minimum to free up memory.

How to free up RAM on Mac

That was easy.

Clear cache files

Another way to free up RAM on Mac is to clear it of cache files.
Of course, this will not help you save gigabytes of space, but by regularly removing the cache, you can help your Mac run faster & avoid system problems.

  • Open the finder. > From the Go menu, > choose Go to Folder.
  • Type ~/Library/Caches in the field and press Go.

How to free up RAM on Mac

What you see here is data that is cached by all your apps for reuse. You can go into each of these folders and remove what’s contained inside. But don’t delete the folders themselves. It’s kinda critical. For best results, you can use a cache cleaner tool.

How to free up RAM on Mac

  • Or you can once again run CleanMyMac X.
  • Open CleanMyMac X and click on System Junk.
  • Scan your Mac with this System Junk cleaner.
  • And when the scan is done, I click Review Details.

How to free up RAM on Mac

You will see all categories of junk files. You can select more if you like but study them closely beforehand. How many gigabytes were you able to free up?

Clean your disk space

Since I’ve mentioned CleanMyMac X, I’d like to remind you about cleaning disk space. Because disk space is very much connected with memory. When your Mac lacks free memory, it begins to borrow some of it from your disk space, this is called memory swapping. That’s why you have to keep at least 15% of disk space free at all times.

As you just saw, I’m freeing my disk space with CleanMyMac X. It looks super cool visually and so user-friendly. If you decide to use this app, make sure to check the Large & Old files feature. Here you can sort large massive files by size and by usage frequency to figure out if you still need them.

How to free up RAM on Mac

Okay. How to free up more space: You can delete a few old apps. Also, you can comb through your Downloads folder and move large media content onto an external drive.

  • Then, you can try a few options built into your macOS.
  • Go to Apple Menu
  • About this Mac > Storage.

How to free up RAM on Mac

Now, choose Manage... You will see lots of ways to free up space that should help you fix your memory issues on Mac.

How to free up RAM on Mac

Clean up your desktop

Without even looking at your Desktop I would assume it’s cluttered with piles of icons. The noticeable thing is, your macOS was designed in such a way that it treats every desktop icon as a slightly active window. More icons, the heavier memory usage on Mac. It is therefore recommended to keep your desktop clean, to release available memory resources.

  • Are you on macOS Mojave or Catalina?
  • Just Control-click somewhere in the middle of the desktop and choose Use Stacks.

How to free up RAM on Mac

Now the mess is sorted out — look at these neat folders! Nice!

More tips to free up RAM

I’ve shown you a couple of basic tips to free up memory on Mac. But there’s a lot more:

  • Keep minimum open tabs
  • Delete browser extensions
  • Close all Finder windows
  • Choose a lighter browser, rather than Chrome

The brave browser could be a good replacement. That was it, folks. I hope you found this article helpful then give it a share and comment below.

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