Optimizing your Mac's Memory

Free memory is a key requirement when we want to open up new apps or begin new processes, but unfortunately there may come a time when we just don’t have enough and things just seem to slllllooooowwwww dooowwwwnnn!!!

Previously we could just simply upgrade our RAM, but with the way Apple seem to be heading with the design of the new iMacs and MacBook ranges, upgrading may no longer be an option.

So what is the answer?

Well firstly we need to confirm that the issue is with the memory and not anything more drastic. Activity Monitor is stored within /Applications/Utilities, if you’re more familiar with Windows it is the Mac equivalent of Task Manager.

how to optimise your mac's memory

It is a multipurpose application but we where need to focus on is the “System Memory” Tab. If you are unsure about what System Memory is telling you then this Apple Support Article will help explain each type of Memory.

What we now need to do is, free up more Memory by forcing OS X to clear out inactive Memory. We can do this in a few ways:

Launch Terminal, this can be found in /Applications/Utilities and enter the command

purge

OS X will take a minute or so to complete the process and may appear to freeze briefly.

Once complete, however, you will have full control as before and by checking Activity Monitor we can see that we have now freed up almost 2GB.

freed up memory after using activity monitor

 
OS X Mountain Lion does not require any software to be installed to run the purge command, however previous versions of OS X may need to have Xcode & Developer Tools installed in order to use the purge command. These can be downloaded for free from the Mac App Store

My main issue now is that I had to use multiple applications to check, resolve and confirm the resolution of my memory issues. So, I created an Application to run the purge command using Automator (/Applications) but this still required checking Activity Monitor before and after.

While trying to find a solution to save time I came across a free Application called “Memory Clean” by FIPLAB Ltd. This ties in the required features of both Activity Monitor and Terminal in one easy to use application.

memory clean FIPLAB

 

memory clean mac os x

 
The interface is simple and easy to use, and I also like that the added preferences gives you the option to “Auto Clean” your inactive memory once free memory falls below a user specified threshold. Although during heavy Memory usage this can become frustrating with the system freezing briefly from time to time.