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Jonathan Jenkins
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Jonathan Jenkins   My Press Releases

Does Your Mac Need More RAM?

Published on 11/12/2016
For additional information  Click Here

There's been a lot of chatter about recent product announcements from Apple. Some people are confused about how RAM usage works, so I thought this post from MacRumors was worth reading...

There are some knowledge base articles from Apple that explain how the memory system in OS X/macOS works which you really need to go through (Use Activity Monitor to read system memory and determine how much RAM is being used (OS X Mountain Lion and earlier) & Use Activity Monitor on your Mac; these are also available via the help function in Activity Monitor). These are for many ordinary users; those with a better and more technical understanding can head over to for a more in-depth version.

Any current operating system will try to use all available memory and it does so by allotting a bit more generous than normally as well as use it for caching. If an app is opened that requires more memory then the OS will take away the extra unnecessary memory it had allotted and give it to the app that really needs it.

In some cases you'll also see a rise in swapping. In more recent OS X/macOS versions there is a better and easier way of displaying how well your memory usage is going. In the Activity Monitor there is a graph called "memory pressure" and only when that graph is red you can say you need more memory although this requires further investigation (there are quite a few very bad written apps that cause memory leaks; even extensions in web browsers such as AdBlock Plus are known to have memory issues and thus use up considerable amounts of memory). If it stays green or yellow then you clearly do not (yellow is more of a "maybe" and this may require further investigation).

Boot camp is something very different btw. It's not some process or thread in the OS but a more generic term for the set of apps and drivers that allow you to partition, install and run Windows on your Mac natively right next to OS X/macOS.

Also check whatever drivers and other kernel extensions you have installed as well as how long you haven't rebooted your machine. All these things greatly affect the kernel_task memory usage negatively.

Understand what memory is, what it is used for and how operating systems handle them (especially OS X/macOS) and you'll actually be able to tell if your memory usage requires additional physical memory. Until then you are just summing up numbers you don't know the meaning of. As with any issue you need to base your conclusion on the causes you found, not on what some app was displaying. Software can come with bugs causing heavy memory usage where the actual solution is to fix the bugs, not upgrade your RAM.


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