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Apple computers are loved for their form factor, design and performance. Great software that comes with a matching hardware make up for a package that Mac users appreciate. However, with the rate technology develops, machines purchased a few years back, despite being in great condition, are not as fit for some tasks anymore. Fortunately, there is a way of giving your Mac a hardware boost without having to cash out for a brand new machine. In particular, consider the memory upgrade. Here is what you need to know.

What Is RAM and Why Should I Add RAM to Mac?

Random Access Memory, RAM for short, is a hardware component inside a computer which is used by the CPU to temporarily store data. It’s your Mac’s “working” memory where actively used information is processed. To put it simply, the more RAM your computer has — the more information it can work with at once, which greatly impacts the overall system performance.

Does this mean you need to go out and buy as much RAM as possible? Not at all. Deciding upon what’s the right amount of RAM you need really comes down to what you are using your Mac for, as well as other hardware components it has. First of all, you need to understand whether your RAM is enough for your needs. Press ⌘+Space to open Spotlight Search, then look up Activity Monitor.

spotlight activity monitor

In Activity Monitor switch to the Memory tab. When you’re working on your daily tasks, you will need to monitor the Memory Pressure Graph in the bottom. If the graph shows green or yellow — you’re good to go, yet in case the graph has gone red — your memory is due for an upgrade.

mac RAM pressure

Can I Upgrade My RAM?

While memory upgrades are usually among the easiest ones to pull off, the process of installing new RAM varies for iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. Not to mention, that not all Mac computers feature upgradable RAM.

To check how many empty RAM slots, you have available (if any), go to Apple Menu > About this Mac and click on System Report. Next, choose Memory in the hardware dropdown. You will find information about your memory slots, see if any are available, and determine whether your Mac is eligible for a RAM upgrade.

mac upgrade ram

After making sure that your Mac is fit an upgrade, head over to the Apple's Tech Spec page and see how much RAM your computer can handle.

Once you have that figured out, your next step is purchasing additional memory and installing it. Apple provides detailed installation guides based on your product.

Should I Be Clearing RAM on Mac?

Say, you check up on your System Report and realize your memory is soldered onto the logic board. What should you do next? Buy a brand new computer? That, of course, is an option. But instead of spending that much, you can clean up and manage what you’ve got. Here’s how to make the most of your RAM.

Close Unused Apps

Fully quitting apps is a simple yet effective way of freeing up available memory. After completing your task, instead of letting the app “hang” in the background, Right Click it in the Dock and choose Quit. The apps that are running are indicated in the Dock. To enable the indicator, open System Preferences > Dock and check the last box on the list Show indicators for open applications. By running the apps you actually need you will be utilizing your Mac’s hardware a lot more effectively.

dock indicators mac

Use Memory/RAM Cleaner

Your best shot at getting the most of your Mac is opting for a third-party utility. It’s worth mentioning, that the toughest part is picking up one that actually works. Try handing over the wheel to MacFly Pro. Download the app and head over to Cleanup section. Clicking the Clean under Memory will clear out your RAM from unneeded processes and, therefore, help shifting its focus on the tasks you need.

macfly pro manage ram

Besides cleaning up your memory, MacFly Pro can be used for a number of things: removing apps, outdated caches, old logs, forgotten app leftovers, etc.

To conclude, RAM upgrades is the second best thing you can do to your Mac to make it run quicker. Upgrade your RAM if it’s the weak link in your hardware, manage your memory to its fullest potential, especially if it’s non-upgradeable, or opt for a more powerful system if all else fails.