Free Up Memory On Mac

Posted on  by admin

Let me start by saying that I’m no computer-whizz or Macbook expert. I am, however, someone who constantly had to clear space from their laptop because of all of the photos and videos I import. I just didn’t understand how so much space was being taken up when I transferred pictures, files and videos to a USB regularly.

It’s recommended that you keep at least 15-20% of your Mac’s memory free to keep it running smoothly. Optimizing storage is an efficient way to do this. But there are also several other steps you can take to free up space on MacBook Air, Pro, or any other macOS device.

This isn’t at all the kind of post I’d usually put up, but if you’re a blogger/YouTuber/file hoarder, hopefully this will be of some help to you and stop the dreaded “your startup disk is almost full” notification.

So I looked up a few ways to clear storage online, and while some were helpful, I found a good few ways to free up storage by looking around my laptop myself. If you’re deleting files, photos and documents from your laptop, all I can say is be careful. You don’t want to end up deleting critical files and losing things of high sentimental or functional value.

Restarting Mac solves a lot of problems, so it should help you in freeing up memory on macOS 10.15. It involves turning the Mac off and turning it on again. During the restart process, Mac will clear RAM on macOS 10.15 and present disk crashes. Therefore, when you turn it on processes run smoothly. Here is how you can clear RAM on Mac. How to free up Mac memory manually? Open launchpad and Find the Activity Monitor. Check the details from the Monitor. Choose to close the unwanted app & activity. How to free up Mac memory in an easier Way? Obviously, it is pretty inconvenient if you try to free up the memory as you have to close them one by one.

To check how much storage you’ve free on your Mac and what’s taking up memory, click on the apple in the top left hand corner of your screen. Go to “About This Mac” and then click “Storage”. This shows you a breakdown of the memory on your computer.

From there you’ll be able to see what’s taking up the most storage. I transferred old photos/videos/files to a USB and deleted whatever I didn’t need. Yet, while those categories went down in memory, “Other” remained quite high. “Other” is basically everything except for photos, videos, apps, music and backups. Basically, it’s a load of files and messy things (there’s a technical term for that I’m sure, but anyway).

Here’s how I reduced my “Other” storage and created 50GB of free storage on my Macbook Air:

Free Up Memory Macbook Pro

  1. Go through the Mail app – I had four different mail boxes on my Mail app. FOUR! That’s thousands and thousands of emails, and therefore a huge amount of memory being used up. I removed three of the accounts and now just check them on the actual Outlook/Gmail website instead.
  2. Go through “recently deleted” in Photos – Photos has its own trash can in the form of “recently deleted”. Once you’re sure you don’t want those photos anymore, delete them for good. I also went through “iPhoto events” which had copies of photos I’d already deleted.
  3. Organise your files by size – Go into Finder, click “All my files” and then “arrange by size”. This will show you the biggest files on your computer and what’s taking up the most memory.
  4. Check for duplicate files – Once you’ve done that, arrange the files by name and delete duplicate files. Make sure that you’re deleting the file that you don’t need or use, otherwise you could cause some problems. I used the Duplicate Detective app to do this and found it really helpful, although there were a few duplicates I found manually after this.
  5. Empty your trash – See all of the files you’ve deleted? They’re still sitting in the trash can. Empty it.
  6. Check your messages – My phone is synced up to my laptop so every time I get a text, iMessage or not, it goes to my laptop too. If you text a lot, like me, you could have thousands of messages taking up space on your computer.
  7. Go through “On This Mac” – This was something I only found out this week, but it freed a huge amount of space on my computer. You’d think that “All my files” shows all of your files, wouldn’t you? Well it doesn’t. Go to Finder, then click the search bar. Type in anything at all. You’ll see that the option comes up to search “This Mac” or “All My Files”. Select “This Mac” and you may find hundreds of hidden files. I went through all of these files by searching by file type. So I searched the terms JPEG, emlx (loads of saved emails were hidden here for some reason), message and so on. Look at the file types (PDF, etc) in “All my files” and then search for them by file type on “This Mac”. I found loads of photos that came with the laptop that were useless to me and using up huge amounts of storage.
  8. Delete apps you don’t need – There might be some apps that you downloaded and forgot about, so go through “Apps” in Finder and delete the ones you don’t use.
  9. Clear out iMovie – If you make YouTube videos, files in iMovie are probably taking up a huge amount of storage. Go through your projects, events, iMovie theatre, iMovie library and delete what you don’t need. As soon as I save a finished video as a file, I delete everything to do with that video from iMovie and save the file to a USB before deleting it totally off my laptop. Movie files can be massive so try to clear iMovie regularly.
  10. Find iPhoto -I’m not sure why but the iPhoto app recently updated to Photo. You’d think that the update would just move everything over to Photo and have one copy of it, but no. When I was going through my apps I found iPhoto lurking there, with four thousand photos in it. I made sure I’d already copied all of them to a USB and then deleted all of the photos and the app itself. Sneaky iPhoto.

There are hundreds of different ways to find files on your computer and to find what’s taking up your storage, but these are the ones that have helped me the most. As I said, make sure you’re not deleting anything important. So don’t go sweeping through your laptop deleting everything in sight. If you can, delete everything one by one. That way you know exactly what you’re getting rid of and you won’t have any disasters. And grab a cup of coffee (or three), it’s gonna take a while.

As I said, I’m no expert so this is just what I’ve learnt myself. I hope this is helpful – let me know if there’s anything I can explain further and I’ll get back to you!

System cleanup in one click
Make your Mac fast and secure with CleanMyMac X.

Few things are more frustrating than your Mac telling you it has run out of memory when you're trying to be productive. It's more frustrating when you've ignored the problem for quite some time and your Mac's limitations simply won't let you put a solution on hold any longer.

  • How to get rid of low memory notifications

Usually, a popup warning isn't the first sign that something is amiss. You may have noticed that your Mac isn't running as fast as it used to, with the fan louder than normal as if it's struggling to carry a heavy load up a hill.

Although Macs are wonderful computers, they have limitations. Thankfully, there is plenty you can do to resolve this problem and get your Mac operating smoothly again.

Reduce memory usage with Setapp

Instead of manually deleting files, get Setapp. It not only removes the clutter but also gives you full control over memory usage.

Your system has run out of application memory - Fix it

Mac memory usage is often occupied by apps, even browsers like Safari or Google Chrome. In the most dire circumstances, your Mac will toss a warning at you: 'your system has run out of application memory.'

Free Up Memory On Macbook Air

Don't despair – it's solvable. The first thing to note is this is a natural issue; your Mac has a limited amount of RAM. Though more expensive Macs have more RAM, even they can butt against limitations when too many applications are running.

It may also be an app that is hogging all of your resources. This is especially true of older applications which haven't been optimized for modern computer architecture. Websites may also be a culprit.

Check RAM usage on Mac

To check your RAM use on any Mac, take the following steps:

  1. Open Activity Monitor from your list of applications
    Note: You can do this is the Mac's control center, via the Finder in your Mac's dock, or by pressing command-space and typing 'Activity Monitor' in the Spotlight search field.
  2. Toggle to the 'Memory' pane in the Activity Monitor window

As you see in the above screenshot, Activity Monitor shows you all of your processes, sub-processes, and how much memory each is taking up. The most pertinent portion of the window is the bottom, where it shows you the total memory usage, and how it's affecting your Mac.

A better way to monitor your Mac's memory use is with iStat Menus. After installing the app, it makes a home in your Mac's menu bar, and monitors just about everything, including memory, CPU, GPU, disks, and network usage.

You can choose which systems you'd like to monitor in the app itself. Only the items you're monitoring will have an icon in your menu bar. A simple click on the menu bar icon surfaces a drop-down menu of how your Mac is performing at the time, and hovering over each graphic brings up a larger menu, as you can see below.

How to check CPU usage on Mac

Checking CPU use on your Mac is similar to the steps above for checking memory use. For Activity Monitor, you'd make sure to highlight the 'CPU' section of the window. This will show you all the processes using your Mac's CPU at the time.

Similarly, iStat Menus has a 'CPU & GPU' toggle just above the memory section. Activating that will add a CPU and GPU monitor to your Mac menu bar, which has the same interactivity as the memory icon and menu shown above.

How to free up memory on Mac

Knowing how to clear memory on Mac is important, especially if you have a Mac with limited resources. One option is using Activity Monitor:

  1. Open Activity Monitor on your Mac
  2. Select an app using a lot of memory
  3. Click the 'x' icon on the top left of the screen

Free Up Space On Mac

This is straightforward, but there's a better way. CleanMyMac X has an automated CPU and memory monitors built-in, which can give you a real-time view of memory usage in your Mac's menu bar. It also has a really quick and easy way to free up memory without digging through Activity Monitor and manually shutting down apps.

All you have to do is click the CleanMyMac X icon, select 'Free Up' in the memory pane, and the app takes care of the rest! Oftentimes, it doesn't even shut apps down.

Free up memory on mac

This is a quick fix, but CleanMyMac X takes it a step further in the app itself. Under the app's 'Maintenance' section is an option to 'Free Up RAM,' which helps you clear RAM on Mac. Once you've got this option selected, simply select 'Run' at the bottom of the window, and CleanMyMac X will do a thorough scrubbing of your Mac's RAM, and clear unused files out of the way.

How to get rid of low memory notifications

Most apps are pretty good about how they use your Mac's resources. Having too many open or running in the background can severely limit what your Mac can handle, and is often why a Mac overheats or slows down.

Here are a few tips to reduce high memory usage manually if you're experiencing unique warnings or issues:

Fix 'kernel_task', a high CPU usage bug

You may have noticed through Activity Monitor something called kernel_task absorbing a large amount of processing power. One of the functions of kernel_task is to help manage CPU temperature; you may find that your Mac fan is loud and always on, even if the device isn't hot to the touch.

kernel_task usually performs this way when one or more applications are trying to use too much CPU. Unfortunately, one of the potential downsides is a Mac can overheat to such an extent that internal systems are damaged, sometimes irreparably.

Working through the following steps in this article is one way to avoid similar problems. If none of this work and kernel_task is still absorbing a high percentage of your CPU, then one or more of the following could be the cause:

Free Up Memory On Mac
  • Cooling system inefficiency
  • A failed or disconnected temperature sensor
  • Another hardware issue, including a worn out batter
  • Your System Management Controller needs a rest

If you're experiencing severe issues, Apple recommends a system management controller (SMC) reset. It's essentially a hard reset for your Mac, and should help your RAM and other hardware components start from scratch. Keep in mind you won't lose any data in this process.

Reduce memory usage in Finder

One common culprit for RAM issues is Finder, your Mac's file manager. If iStat Menus or Activity Monitor has highlighted Finder as using hundreds of MBs of RAM, there is an easy solution: change the default display for a new Finder window so it doesn't show All My Files.

  1. Click on the Finder icon in the Dock and click on the Finder menu, then select Preferences
  2. Click on General. Under 'New Finder windows show', click the dropdown menu and choose any option except All My Files
  3. Close Preferences, press Alt-Control, and click on the Finder icon in the Dock. Click Relaunch

Finder will now relaunch with new windows opening at the option you selected in step two.

Improve Chrome's Task Manager

Chrome is a popular browser, but it's a resources hog! Chrome uses a GPU Process as standard, which means it speeds up the loading of web pages, which can be great except at times when your computer is struggling with insufficient RAM.

Here's how:

  1. Open Chrome on your Mac
  2. On the right side of the Chrome window, select the three-dot menu
  3. Select 'More tools'
  4. Select 'Task Manager'
  5. Select a Chrome process you'd like to kill
  6. Select 'End Process' at the bottom right of the window

Here's another way to reduce Chrome's use of your Mac's memory:

  1. Open Chrome on your Mac
  2. On the right side of the Chrome window, select the three-dot menu
  3. Select 'settings'
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select 'advanced'
  5. Scroll down to 'System,' and toggle 'Use hardware acceleration when available' off

This will affect how Chrome runs on your Mac, and your experience won't be as smooth. You can also remove unused or unwanted Chrome extensions to help it use less resources on your Mac.

Get CMM X to free up space

Install CleanMyMac X and streamline the entire process of memory management on Mac. Clever memory usage control done for you.

Clean up browsers

In every browser you use regularly, there are always going to be extensions and popups that take up space and use RAM. You can manage each one manually, or use a tool such as CleanMyMac X to identify and delete them.

In the CleanMyMac X app is a section titled 'Extensions,' which lists each extension you have for your browser or browsers. All you have to do is view the list of extensions, select the ones you no longer want, and remove them. It's really that simple!

Disable login items

Login items, browser extensions, and preference panes, such as Flash, are another common source of memory usage. Most of us have several installed that we rarely use, but which hog memory and reduce performance.

One way to do this is through System Preferences:

  1. From your Mac menu bar, select 'System Preferences'
  2. Select 'Users & Groups'
  3. Select 'login items'
  4. Deselect items you no longer want active at login

Another way, one that is even quicker, is to employ CleanMyMac to identify and cleanup login items.

  1. Open CleanMyMac X
  2. Under 'Speed,' select 'Optimization'
  3. Select 'login items'

You can remove all login items, or select the ones you'd like to remove individually on the right side of the window.

Disable desktop widgets

Older Macs running a version of macOS older than Catalina can disable widgets. Desktop widgets can provide a useful shortcut to apps you need to access fairly often. But they can take up processing memory that is slowing your whole Mac down. One way to close them completely is in System Preferences.

Go to: Mission Control > switch off the Dashboard

Declutter your desktop

Apple's built in decluttering tool is handy for many. All you have to do on your cluttered desktop is right-click, then select 'Use Stacks.' This places all of your desktop files into folders unique to their filetype, like 'screenshots' and 'images.'

A better way is to use Spotless, an app that gives you far more control over how your Mac is organized. It has several triggers for automated cleanup of files on your desktop, placing them wherever you see fit. It's particularly useful for power users who produce several files daily, but don't want to take the time to place each in a respective folder.

You can also select many files on your Mac desktop, and tell Spotless to tidy them up. You always have full control!

Schedule regular cleanups

Constant use of your Mac, or leaving it on all the time, will slow it down over time. Shutting it down and restarting is a traditional way of 'cleaning up' a computer.

We also like CleanMyMac X's scheduled cleanup feature. Telling the app when you'd like to perform a thorough cleaning up of your Mac's system is a method many prefer to shutting down and restarting often. It has the upshot of removing files and folders you no longer use, and cleaning up tasks that are slowing your Mac down behind the scenes. A simple shutdown may not do this.

Free Up Memory On Mac

Keeping your Mac in tip-top shape is critical. While we'd all like to think computers are brilliant little devices that can handle anything, they need some care, too.

All of the apps mentioned in this article help with taking care of your Mac, and protecting your investment. Best of all they're each free as part of a seven day trial of Setapp. Give it a try today!

Setapp lives on Mac and iOS. Please come back from another device.

Free Up Memory On Mac Pro

Meantime, prepare for all the awesome things you can do with Setapp.

Read on

Sign Up

Free Up Ram Mac

Setapp uses cookies to personalize your experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our cookie policy.