Memory Pressure and How Your Mac Uses Memory

Learn how your Mac uses memory and makes it seem like you have more memory than you actually do by compressing and swapping memory. Learn what Memory Pressure is and how you can use this measurement to improve performance in extreme situations.

Comments: 10 Responses to “Memory Pressure and How Your Mac Uses Memory”

    Eric
    2 months ago

    An excellent and informative explanation of what is being shown in the Memory tab of Activity Monitor. Thanks Gary.

    Mark
    2 months ago

    why do many of my safari tabs take up so much RAM?I have one tab taking up 7GB, another 1.99, another 1.58GB, another 1.29GB, another 1.14GB, etc. Running M1 iMac with 16GB of RAM?

    2 months ago

    Mark: First, see this video. I explain how macOS doesn't want memory to go unused. So the page may not need 7 GB, but if it has plenty of RAM it will use it. Also, distinguish between real RAM and swap memory. Also, consider what is going on on the page itself. A web page can be just some text, or it can be a complex collection of text, graphics, styles, media, scripts and more.

    Steve
    2 months ago

    AWESOME VIDEO GARY!!!!! Incredibly informative - Thanks!

    Alan Driver
    2 months ago

    That was really informative and explained the topic in nice plain simple English, Many thanks for covering this topic

    JasonB
    2 months ago

    Hi Gary. Great video! Question - how do computers compress files/memory, etc. I mean, how do you squish the 1's and 0's to make them still readable by the OS? I've never quite understood it. Thanks!!

    Milner Erlank
    2 months ago

    Most informative. My rehab Late 2013 iMac/ Catalina has a major SPOD problem and I was hoping your tutorial would help to discover the cause. While listening to you I checked the Activity Monitor/Memory. Noticed the memory pressure panel was solid yellow – for ever. There was a power outage and on re-boot with only Safari and Photos running the panel is a nice green. Strange: the user column shows mainly admin and root with Safariusing 81.7MB. It would appear the SPOD issue is something else.

    2 months ago

    JasonB: Not sure what algorithms they use exactly, sorry. But imagine if you are editing an image with a black background. That would be a lot of black pixels (#000000) in a row. So instead of 4,000 bytes all containing zeros, it can just remember "run of 4,000 zeros." That's just one example of a compression algorithm.

    Kathy
    2 months ago

    Hi Gary, great video thank you! I know you're talking about M1 Macs, but if you don't mind I have a question about memory on my iPhone 10s (64GB with 36.93GB Available) with 3G of RAM. Does the phone 'run out' of memory unless it's restarted frequently I wonder? It seems one banking app's notifications occasionally don't come through unless I restart the phone. Then I have the notification visible. Just curious why this would be happening. Thanks so much. K

    2 months ago

    Kathy: I doubt the cause of a notification issue with one app is being out of memory. If that happened, somehow, you would have much more going on than just that. It is probably an issue with that app.

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