Buying Memory For Your Mac

If you want to upgrade the memory in your older Mac, you can find the information you need on the Apple website. Apple maintains specific pages for different types of Macs. You can find out what type of memory you need to buy and how to install it.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Buying Memory For Your Mac.

If you have an older Mac you may be able to add more memory to it. But the trick is knowing the right memory to buy and how to install it. Now if you're unsure always get a professional to do it for you. But you can do it yourself. As a matter of fact Apple actually gives you instructions on how to do it.

What you need to do is a site specific search for How to remove or install memory. Apple has specific pages for different types of Macs. For instance, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mini, older Mac Pros, newer Mac Pros, etc. So, for instance, let's take a look at the MacBook Pro and look at that page.

Now here you can see a list of fairly recent models but not the newer ones. You can see the most recent model that you can actually add your own memory to is 2012 MacBooks. This page goes back to some 2008 MacBooks.
So you find the model that you've got and you take a look at it. It will tell you how to install.

So first you've got to look at the memory specifications and make sure you get the right memory. So you find all this stuff here including memory card specifications. That's the important thing. It tells you all this information but the most important part is the one that combines a lot of these into one. You see where it says here PC3-12800 DDR3 1600 MHz type RAM. Okay. So this is what you need to know and some other information too like 204-pin and all that. You can't get away with doing something that's not quite this like, for instance, a slightly different number here or there. It's not going to work. You have to get this specific type of memory. So how do you find it?

Well, an easy way to do it is to simply copy the spec here and do another search. I'm going to open up another tab. Do another search and sure enough I come up with lots of hits for different online stores like Amazon, for instance. is a place I've bought from before. Even some retail stores like Best Buy and there's New Egg as well, another place I've bought from.

Now you want to make sure when you look at the memory that it's exactly what you want. So, I'm going to go in here to this Amazon listing and I'm going to check the specs here. Check to make sure it's the right speed, it's the right type, there, etc. If these things match then chances are it's going to work in your Mac. It's not guaranteed. You may have to return it if it doesn't. But chances are if all these specs match then it's the right thing.

Now you can also go to some sites like, for instance, and they actually have a thing where you walk through and specify your Mac model and it will tell you exactly what type of memory you've got. Then sometimes these search results will also show you where you can buy directly from Apple. So I click here and here I can get it directly from Apple. Now usually this is a pretty expensive option here. It's usually a lot cheaper elsewhere. But you can get it directly from Apple if you want.

So once you've gotten it, installing it is a matter of following the instructions. You can see here on those pages at it gives you specific instructions and you should read through them very carefully before you even purchase your memory to see whether or not you feel comfortable doing them. If you don't it is very easy to find a computer expert, maybe a technical friend that has done this before, or a Mac specific shop that will install it for you. They may even let you buy your own memory somewhere else cheaper online and then install it your you or they may get for you at a very similar price.

So that's how you go about installing memory. The important thing is and the mistake I see people making all the time is buying memory that looks like, it's about the same specs. But not exactly the same specs and finding out that it won't work at all. If it's the wrong speed or something then it's just not going to work in your Mac. It has to be exact!

Comments: 6 Responses to “Buying Memory For Your Mac”

    2 years ago

    Hi Gary, I have a late 2009 27″ Mac which has 4 x 4GB slots of 1067mHz DDR3 RAM. Am running Mac Sierra 10.12.3
    Is it possible to upgrade that memory to say 32Gb?

    2 years ago

    Colin: I couldn’t tell you without more details (it is an iMac or MacBook, for instance? etc…). But the point of the video is that you can look it up yourself. Give it a try.

    Dally Messenger
    2 years ago

    Good one Gary. Very helpful. You could mention how extra memory gives greater speed or helps avoid the ceaseless spinning red ball – if it does. Much thanks. D

    2 years ago

    Dally: More memory can speed up your Mac and can cut out delays. But it isn’t a given. Memory mostly helps intense work: video editing, photo editing, audio editing, compiling code, etc. If you are just surfing the web and sending email, you may not see much of a benefit. Also, a spinning red ball could be a sign that an app is having problems and memory won’t help that. A first-hand look by an expert might be more what you need.

    2 years ago

    I highly recommend if you want to upgrade a Mac and have questions about what kind of RAM to use. There’s also an app called MacTracker (available on the App Store, or see their site at that has great info as well. As for the instructions, go to or to see step-by-step instructions.

    2 years ago

    Spinning beach ball on an older 2009 Colin, too can be your hard drive, back then they were the Serial ATA aka SATA drives. Slower, can’t move any faster than the 7200 RPM. In that case with RAM, having a bit more can be a balance. Your iMac won’t act as if new, but it will breathe a different life into it, for paging I have a Late 2009 it was 4GB of RAM. I took it to 12GB and the performance is much better. Actual Apple supported is 16GB taking it to 32GB on that processor won’t be a boast.

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