Low available ram on MacBook pro

Hi everybody,

What available ram is normal on a 8 GB Ram MacBook Pro (mid 2014)? As you see in the picture below I have very often very little available ram, never seen more than 3GB. Is that normal or is something fishy going on?11

Take it with a salt of grain, since such values may differ hugely dependent on the software you are running, but I would say “Yes”. Here is my ram consumption:

A lot of software these days is a terrible memory hog (especially everything related to browsers and JS in general). For the next MBP I will go with a 32-gb model, but I am pretty sure it will be full as well because writing software in electron is cool. It is a pest.

qick tip (from mac geek gab podcast):

this could lower your memory consumption a bit more, did for me on my wife’s macbook air. (also with 8 Gb)

I like to think that unused memory is wasted memory.
I find that CleanMyMac is effective at spotting when memory is really low (a few hundred MB) and pops up to let me clear some space.
If you don’t notice any problems with apps crashing or acting oddly, just don’t worry about it is my advice.

When I had 8MB I only had problems using 2 or more resource-hungry apps at once (eg Graphic, Logic, Final Cut, Xcode). With lighter apps (Numbers, Safari, even Chrome) I never had a problem even running lots of apps. Memory got low at times, but not so you’d notice really. At least that’s how I remember it.

macOS, like most other *NIXes (and even Windows) use memory to cache things aggressively so that you aren’t going to disk as frequently. If the system needs more memory for applications, the caches will be flushed and memory freed up for those applications. If you’re short on memory for applications and their data, you’ll start using the pagefile heavily and that indicates an issue worth investigating.

TL;DR: Don’t worry about it unless your system is noticeably slow.


I’m seeing memory problems more often on my 2015 iMac. When I investigate, the main culprit seems to be Chrome. The worst was when I was trying out a Chrome tabs manager called Workona. I really liked it but I ended up with no free memory so I had to give it up. I’m trying to be disciplined and stick to only a minimum number of open browser tabs.

Bingo! Free RAM means wasted RAM that could/should be used for I/O caching until it’s needed elsewhere. I’ll add that you can tell you’re low on RAM if you see your swap use growing to a significant percentage of your physical RAM.

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Chrome (and a lot of apps built on the Chromium base like Slack) is a notorious memory consumer.

Agree with @Alevyinroc. Watch your memory pressure, that’s a more useful statistic.

Thanks for all the help.
I notice Spark is running really slow sometimes and even more that the cursor is weirdly sluggish at times, just so much that it annoys me. I see some spinning beach ball here and there. Shall check further:)

What is memory pressure? How can I check it?

Activity Monitor (included with your system) will show it on the bottom of the memory tab. Also, iStat Menus (obtain it here) lists it. There is an Apple Support article that will help you understand how to interpret the information. Read it here.

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Wow, thanks for the help!!!

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