How to Free Up RAM on Mac Without Losing Data

Dany updated on Feb 22, 2023 | Home >Computer Instruction

Your Mac will slow down and experience various issues if its RAM runs out. You can speed up your Mac and increase productivity by lowering your RAM usage. But how to free up RAM on Mac? Check here for quick navigation.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Restart Your Mac Restarting the Mac is a quick way to clear up RAM on a Mac. This will free up the disk...Full steps
Fix 2. Update Your Mac MacOS software problems can occasionally cause RAM problems on Mac...Full steps
Fix 3. Quit Your Open Apps You can free up Ram by stopping using memory-intensive programs or apps...Full steps
Fix 4. Activity Monitor You may also utilize Activity Monitor on your Mac to see which programs or processes...Full steps
Fix 5. Clear with Terminal You can release RAM by clearing cache files and locating and launching the Terminal...Full steps

Your RAM likely is to blame if your Mac routinely performs slowly or encounters MacBook frozen issues frequently when you don't have enough RAM to support your needs. So, your Mac takes forever to load, and you'll receive alerts like "Your system has run out of program memory." You should check the Mac's Activity Monitor to see how much memory is used.

You should free up the RAM on your Mac in this situation. This article will outline how to check RAM usage and what to do to clear up RAM on Mac.

Overview: What Is RAM on Mac

Data from active programs and system processes are stored in RAM (Random Access Memory), a temporary data storage. While macOS operates, it can move files to and from the system disk to its RAM. Simply said, RAM is a temporary area of your hard drive where the programs and operations you are using are stored.

In contrast to your hard drive or SSD, which would serve as the long-term storage, you may think of RAM as "short-term memory." All of your data and documents on your Mac are stored on your hard drive, which serves as internal storage.

related articles

Memory vs. Storage on Mac: What Are The Differences?

Memory vs. Storage on Mac is the priority this post should determine so that users can learn more to manage their Mac better.

Mac Storage

Therefore, more memory will be used the more applications you keep running. You can reduce the memory on Mac by clearing outdated files and congested caches. Additionally, a system flaw could occasionally cause RAM to run out.

Processes: How to Check RAM Usage on Mac

Your Mac may occasionally run slowly for many reasons, such as incompatible software or memory shortage. So you can use Activity Monitor to check the RAM usage on your Mac.

The Activity Monitor window lists each running program's current memory usage under the Memory tab. The Memory Pressure chart is also located at the bottom of the window.

Apps and browsers like Google or Safari frequently take up RAM. You may see a pop-up warning similar to the one below if your system memory isn't enough to handle a program's demands. Then you need to delete downloads on Mac.

Check RAM Usage on Mac

Other widespread symptoms of inadequate RAM on your machine include:

  • Everything on your Mac is sluggish, including watching videos, accessing apps, and typing papers.
  • The text you type on your keyboard takes a while to show on your screen.
  • Your entire Mac freezes, and the cursor changes to the recognizable, multicolored pinwheel motion.

Numerous of these problems are brought on by insufficient RAM on your system, so you should check your RAM usage and clear recent on Mac to improve your Mac's performance.

Solutions: How to Free Up RAM on Mac

In this video, you can find some tips on RAM and how to free up RAM on Mac.

  1. 02:18 - Use Chrome task manager
  2. 03:00 - Disable login items
  3. 03:20 - Clear cache files
  4. 04:20 - Clean your disk space
  5. 05:26 - Clean up your desktop

Here are more fixes to help you free up more RAM on your Mac.

Method 1. Restart Your Mac

Restarting the Mac is a quick way to clear up RAM on a Mac, freeing up the disk cache and any running processes.

Simply select restart from the Apple menu by clicking on the icon in the upper-left corner of your screen, and you can check if you have cleared up the RAM.

Restarting your Mac isn't always sufficient. Here are a few other things you may try if, despite a restart, your Mac is still running slowly.

Restart Your Mac

Method 2. Update Your Mac to Free Up RAM

MacOS software problems can occasionally cause RAM problems on Mac. In this case, updating your macOS will frequently solve the issue.

Click on the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of the screen.

Access to System Preferences - Software Update to download macOS Ventura, the latest version of Mac.

Wait, and don't close the Mac device.

Update Your Mac

Similarly, upgrading your Mac App Store apps can optimize system efficiency by using less memory.

Method 3. Quit Your Open Apps

You can free up Ram by stopping using memory-intensive programs or apps. If you have many open apps, close the ineffective ones from the Dock. Right-click each one individually and choose "Quit".

You can check which apps are using up your memory or taking up a lot of space under the Memory tab. Then, to force quit it on Mac, by clicking the "Force Quit" icon in the upper left corner.

Quit Your Open Apps

Method 4. Using Activity Monitor

You may also utilize Activity Monitor on your Mac to see which programs or processes are consuming the most RAM. How to do it:

  • Start your Mac's Activity Monitor. Select "Applications" > "Utilities" > "Activity Monitor" from the Finder to perform this action.
  • Select the "Memory tab" from the top menu. Your Mac's processes should now be sorted according to how much memory they are using.
  • Select the process you wish to end and click the info button to learn more about it.

Activity Monitor

This technique can also check for suspicious activity in the system's background.

Method 5. Clear Cache Files with Terminal

If the above methods are inconvenient for you and you are experienced with Mac and computer, you can release RAM by clearing cache files using the Terminal.

  • Utilize Spotlight to locate and launch Terminal.
  • Enter the command: sudo purge to the window.
  • After entering your administrator password, press your keyboard's Return key.

Your memory will then be restored.

Clear with Terminal

What if: How to Get Back Data That Accidentally Deleted

How should you respond if you discover that you deleted some files that are still valuable after freeing up your Mac's RAM? This section will show how to use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, a reputable Mac recovery program, to recover permanently deleted files.

Because the data recovery software is compatible with macOS 10.9 to 13, this method of recovering files is entirely professional. The process is the same regardless of the macOS version.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac

  • Recover deleted files, whatever the reason—corrupted data, accidental deletion, or misoperating
  • Recover permanently deleted files Mac from a formatted hard drive and a crashed operating system or even an infected PC.
  • Support recovering more than 1000 types of files and previewing the deleted files for free.

Follow the instructions below to recover deleted files on a Mac using this data recovery program.

Step 1. Select the drive to be scanned

In the main EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard window, there will be a list of the drives connected to your Mac. Select the drive you need to recover lost/deleted files from, and click the "Search for lost files" button.

select a location and scan for lost Mac data

Step 2. Select your lost data/files

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane. You can sort the results to find the wanted files if you are looking for certain files.

Select your lost data/files

Step 3. Recover lost/deleted data

Once you have found the desired files, preview the files and then click "Recover" to begin the recovery of your deleted/lost Mac files.

recover lost Mac data

To Wrap It Up

This article has covered many topics related to RAM management on your Mac. We hope the fixes in this post are beneficial for you. To safeguard your data security, try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac to get back the files you deleted by mistake.

Free Up RAM on Mac FAQs

Here are some related questions about how to free up RAM on Mac. Read and solve your problems quickly.

1. Why is my RAM total on Mac?

The programs and actions you use are stored in RAM, a temporary portion of your hard disk. As you run more applications, more memory will be required.

2. How do I see what's taking up RAM on my Mac?

The Memory tab of the Activity Monitor window displays the amount of memory each active program currently uses. At the bottom of the window, you can also find the Memory Pressure chart to see what's taking up the RAM.

3. How to clear RAM Mac by keyboard shortcut?

After opening Spotlight by pressing Command + Space, double-click Activity Monitor to start clearing RAM.

Additionally, Ctrl - Alt - Delete can be used as a shortcut to end running apps and free up RAM on Mac abruptly.

4. How do I fix total RAM usage?

  • Start your Mac's Activity Monitor.
  • Select "Applications" > "Utilities" > "Activity Monitor".
  • Select the "Memory tab" from the top menu.
  • Clear the files.

Was This Page Helpful?


Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and loves various electronic products.

Read full bio

Written by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

Read full bio

EaseUS Data Recovery Services

Request a free evaluation >>

EaseUS data recovery experts have uneaqualed expertise to repair disks/systems and salvage data from all devices like RAID, HDD, SSD, USB, etc.