How to check memory on Mac

Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
June 22, 2023
5 minutes to read

The Mac’s performance speed depends on Mac’s memory volume. If any app you open on your system runs out of memory, it may slow your Mac down. In this article, we will explain how to check Mac RAM usage and how to free up RAM to fix a slow Mac. Checking RAM usage on Mac


  1. Why is my RAM usage so high on Mac?
  2. How to check the memory on Mac.
  3. How to check memory usage by apps on Mac.
  4. How to free up memory (RAM) on Mac.
  5. How to reduce memory usage on Mac?

Why is my RAM usage so high on Mac?

RAM means random access memory, where your Mac stores temporary data. The more RAM you have, the more tasks you can perform simultaneously without slowing down your Mac. Your RAM usage might be high because you have too many apps or processes running in the background. You can check this with the help of an Apple default application called Activity Monitor or use third-party tools like Memory Cleaner from Nektony.

Another reason why your RAM usage might be high is that your Mac is swapping unused files to and from your startup disk. This happens when your Mac runs out of free memory and needs to free up some space for active apps. Keep reading, and we’ll share tips on detecting processes hogging memory on your Mac and how to free up memory on your system.

How to check the memory on Mac

Follow these steps to get Mac memory information:

  1. Go to the menu bar and click the Apple icon.
  2. Select About This Mac.
  3. About This Mac menu command

  4. Here you can see your computer’s memory, i.e. how much memory is installed on your Intel Mac.
  5. About This Mac window

On macOS Ventura, this panel has another design:

How to check memory usage by apps on Mac

There are different ways to check application memory usage on Mac. This tutorial covers two of them: using the Activity Monitor and using a special tool Memory Cleaner. Learn both of them and choose the easiest for you way to check memory usage and free up inactive RAM memory on Mac.

How to check memory usage on Mac with Activity Monitor

  1. Launch the Activity Monitor application. You can find it in the Launchpad.
  2. Switch to the Memory tab.
  3. Here you can view the detailed information about the memory usage by apps and all processes of your system. At the bottom of the window, you can see the memory pressure graph, an amount of physical memory, used memory, cached files, operation diagram and other information of random access memory usage.

Memory consuption panel in Activity Monitor

How to check memory usage on Mac with Memory Cleaner

You can view Mac memory usage with a free application Memory Cleaner. With Memory Cleaner you view how much RAM each application uses and clear inactive RAM memory.

  1. Launch Memory Cleaner
  2. Click the application icon in the toolbar. Here you will find the next information about memory on Mac:
    • the total size of available RAM
    • size of used RAM
    • Memory usage by apps

Memory Cleaner window showing Memory usage

How to free up RAM memory on Mac

The simplest way to free up RAM on Mac is to restart your computer. Restarting the system empties the RAM and disk caches and as a result, helps to fix a slow Mac. However, the idea of restarting the system each time you need to free up RAM is not the best choice. It is inconvenient at least since it interrupts your work on the computer. So read on to learn the best way to free up memory on Mac.

You can use Memory Cleaner to clear RAM on Mac with just one click. Also, the apps can automatically clear RAM each time your Mac is running out of free memory or each time you close apps that are using a lot of memory.

So follow these steps to free up RAM on Mac:

  1. Launch Memory Cleaner.
  2. Click on the application’s icon in the toolbar.
  3. Click Cleanup. It will take just a few seconds to complete the cleaning of Mac RAM memory.

RAM cleaning with Memory Cleaner app

How to reduce memory usage on Mac?

When your Mac’s memory is full, your computer has to swap some data to the hard disk, which slows down the system. To avoid this problem, try some tips to reduce memory usage on your Mac and make it run faster and smoother.

Disable startup programs
Startup programs (or login items) are applications that launch automatically when you turn on your Mac. Some may consume a lot of memory and CPU resources, even if you are not using them actively. To turn off startup programs, go to System Settings → General → Login Items and remove the ones you don’t want to run at startup. System setting window

Free up disk space on your Mac
Disk space is your Mac’s permanent storage space as virtual memory to store files and data. When the disk space is low, your Mac may have trouble swapping data to and from memory, affecting your system’s performance and speed. To free up disk space, you can delete cache files, empty the Trash bin, uninstall unused applications, large and unused files, etc. You can use MacCleaner Pro to scan and remove all junk files on your disk. MacCleaner Pro

Tidy up your desktop
Each item on your desktop takes up some memory and CPU resources, especially if they are large or complex files. To clean up your desktop, you can organize your items into folders, move them to other locations, or delete them if you don’t need them anymore. Mac desktop with many icons

Free up RAM automatically when needed
Memory Cleaner can monitor your memory usage and clean up inactive memory when it reaches a certain threshold. Here’s how to set up automatic RAM cleaning:

  1. Launch Memory Cleaner.
  2. Click the Memory Cleaner icon in the menu bar.
  3. Enable the “Automatically Free Up” option.
  4. Open the drop menu and configure the frequency and conditions when to free up RAM.
Memory Cleaner window

This way, you can optimize your memory usage and improve your system performance without doing anything manually. Memory Cleaner is free to download and use on your Mac.


Now you know how to check the memory on Mac and what to do when your Mac is running out of free memory. You can use a free Memory Cleaner for all these tasks. If clearing RAM didn’t help you to speed up your Mac, read our previous article 7 Steps to increase Mac’s speed.

FAQ about memory pressure on Mac
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How to speed up my Mac?
What is the best memory cleaner for Mac?
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