Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to download a movie so you can watch it later, or your office files so you can complete that work at home, only to find out your memory storage is full. Unfortunately, this probably happens more often than you would like.
Additionally, insufficient memory causes your device to act up and malfunction. That is when your screen starts to freeze, it gets longer to open an app, not to mention the annoying frequent pop-up notification of “storage full/ full memory”.
Fortunately, these problems can be easily solved with Mac memory cleaners that free up RAM.
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What is RAM
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, which means your computer must be able to process, store, and access data quickly for your apps, software, and programs to work efficiently. Simply put, it is a short-term memory that stores the processor’s current data.
RAM is like a temporary memory bank that stores any data that your computer needs to access quickly. While all computing devices store data for longer-term access (on Cloud, SSD, Hard Disks, etc.), they need RAM to process, store, and access information you are currently working on.
What is Unified Memory
With Apple producing its own processors, the M1, and M2 chips, RAM would soon be removed from any Apple device using these processors, which is essentially all future iterations of the Macbook. This is because the company now uses Unified Memory, which is a part of the device. This means no more portals for RAM on the motherboard.
Simply put, a unified memory is like an upgraded version of RAM. It not only processes and stores data that you need to access fast, temporarily but also for a longer period of time. While RAM can only access the CPU or GPU, one at a time, a unified memory can access both of these at the same time.
It does all the work of RAM only that RAM is temporary and Unified Memory is persistent and much faster. This means that with the latter, you can access different apps, software, programs, and other content simultaneously, while with the former, you can’t.
The downside is that this cannot compare to SSD and memory storage. As much as it processes and stores data faster and longer than RAM, keep in mind that it doesn’t store data permanently.
Also, unlike RAM, you cannot upgrade a Unified Memory. So if you go for these models you will also need to ensure you get enough memory, which is why your new or old Mac needs a memory cleaner app.
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Why does the memory (RAM) get full
There could be a ton of reasons why your memory continues to max out, so it is important to identify the specific cause so that this issue can be fixed.
- You have multiple apps running at the same time
It is a common habit to let multiple apps run at the same time. This means you are accumulating more and more apps in the background, which is taking up more and more space. Your system will run out of application memory, and when this happens, more problems can occur.
- You have multiple apps running in the background
What if you are not running multiple apps and software at the same time, but you are still getting memory problems?
There could be apps running in the background without your knowledge. So technically, you are still running too many programs. To stop this, you can just ‘quit’ or ‘force quit’ these apps.
- Too many browser extensions
Browser extensions make work easy, but excessive extensions on your browser could be the root cause of your memory problems because as soon as you open your browser, you activate these extensions and plugins too. While they are all running at the same time, they are taking up more space.
If this is your issue, it is time to declutter, sort out, and delete the ones you rarely or never use at all. You may also want to deactivate or turn off some extensions that you don’t need when running your browser.
How to clear memory and reduce RAM usage on Mac
If you use up your RAM, chances are your Mac will start to slow down. To speed it up, you need to free up memory and reduce RAM usage.
Restart your device
Your problem could be easily solved by something as simple as restarting your device. You have probably even had your own device prompt you to restart or shut down your Mac and then turn it back on.
When you restart your Mac, the system empties RAM and other disc cash. That is why in most cases when you turn it back on or restart it, you find it to be running more smoothly.
The only time this is not a great option is when your system freezes up and hung, and you don’t want to lose some information and data you are working on.
Check Activity Monitor
Activity monitor is the Windows Version of Task Manager. It displays your memory usage and shows you apps that are using up more space than they should.
Select the memory tab to see the detailed graph of each process and how much memory it is taking up. Details of Memory Pressure, Swap Used, Memory Used, and Cached files are displayed here. You can then find out the processes and apps hogging RAM and take the necessary steps.
Check your apps
You may want to delete some apps that you no longer need and use or close apps and programs running in the background. The point is to get rid of unnecessary apps and programs hogging your RAM.
Top apps to free up memory/RAM on a Mac
Quitting or Force quitting an app doesn’t always solve your ‘Memory Full’ problems. That is where memory cleaners come in. These are apps and software that clean out unnecessary junk from your device and give you an easy time working on your computer.
We have compiled some of the best memory cleaners for Mac to free up RAM in 2023 below. Some of them are free, some are paid. It just comes down to how they work, their features, their technology, and more. They are all reliable and have great functionality.
Why it made the cut: Nektony Memory Cleaner is an industry-standard memory cleaner that provides a high-quality service that includes multiple features, all of which are free.
- Cost: Free
- MacOS: 11 and after
- Hardware Support: Intel processors, M1 and M2 chips, and after
- 8 out of the standard 5 stars overall rating
- Excellent reviews from real users
- 5-star customer support
- 5-star training on how to use the app (provided in the documentation, videos, and in-person)
- Lacks more advanced features that some other paid options offer
- Limited customization of the UI and software interface
Once you install it, you can even set up automatic mode and forget all the manual settings.
It monitors and diagnoses your app’s CPU usage, available memory, removable files, and recent RAM cleanup, and takes the necessary actions for you.
More options and features in the ‘Preference’ menu offer multiple functionalities. You can select how you want the memory usage to display on your menu bar, automatically free app space once you stop or quit apps, or set up memory clean-up frequency according to your needs and preferences.
Why it made the cut: If you don’t mind investing a few bucks in more advanced features, then MacKeeper is your best option. It is not only a memory cleaner app for your Mac but also provides a range of excellent security features.
- Cost: $5.57/month on the 12-month plan, $10.95/month on the 1-month plan
- MacOS: 11 and after, requires 100 MB of space on your hard drive
- Hardware Support: Intel processors, M1 and M2 chips, and after
- Frequent software updates
- High praise from reputable sources like Forbes, Techradar, and Macworld
- 24/7 chat tech support
- Advanced cleaning features
- Notarized by Apple
- Free trial
- Must pay to access advanced features
- Requires significant free storage to install
MacKeeper includes adware protection, performance optimization, ID theft protection, an antivirus scanner, and a VPN that comes with unlimited data, among many others. Read our full MacKeeper review for more.
What really makes it stand out is the RAM cleaner and performance tools. This shows currently used memory in real-time, and with just one click, allows you to flush the full memory slots by hitting the ‘Memory clean up’ button.
Other notable mentions
Besides Nektony memory cleaner and MacKeeper, there are multiple other apps that work just as great.
CleanMyMac X is a multipurpose app which has been notarized by apple so you can be sure it is safe for your computer. It has also been proven malware free and comes with multiple features that speed up your device’s processors and help it run smoothly.
As a memory cleaner app, it can detect hidden apps and sort multiple unseen clutter, freeing up your memory up to 3 times. Other features help you to run maintenance scripts, system updates, and more.
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The app doesn’t have a free version but you can download it for free and enjoy the free new user trial period to determine if you would want to invest in it. Pricing starts at $39.95 per year.
Fiplab Memory Clean 3 is a powerful tool to use to speed up your Mac. It works by freeing up memory used by unnecessary apps so you can have enough space to allow necessary programs and apps to run.
It helps you discover memory hogs by exposing apps and programs that are using up the most space and automatically recovering the most memory when you close them. Other features include inactive app notifications, controlled cleaning, interface themes, customizable features, and more.
To get started, just download it for free and take advantage of the free trial period to test it out. After that, you can buy it for as low as $9.99.
AppYOGI monitors your RAM usage and sends you notification reports to let you know if you have enough space, if you are running out of space, or if there are apps running in the background, so you can take the necessary action.
It offers advanced features that keep the performance of your computer high. All you need is just one click and you can optimize your RAM. The ‘Intense Optimize’ feature is an advanced feature for an extreme optimization process. It takes a little more time but frees up more space.
Download the app and use the free trial period to determine if it is what you need. You can then buy it for $9.99.
Parallels Toolbox lands a place in this list because of its great functionality and multiple advanced features. Just like the name suggests, this is a toolbox with multiple tools that perform different functions to keep your Mac running as it should.
Besides cleaning up the junk in your system and freeing up more space, other tools you will find in this toolbox include archiving files, screen recorder, do not disturb features, do not sleep, hide desktop, mute microphone, and more.
The app is free to download and incredibly easy to set up. The subscription is renewable yearly and starts at $69.99 for the Standard and Pro Editions.
What is the best free memory cleaner for Mac?
There are only a few free memory cleaner apps that are great and reliable. One of them is Nektony memory cleaner. This comes with advanced features that greatly improve the speed and functionality of your Mac PC.
Is it safe to clean your Mac’s memory?
There are many safe ways you can free up memory on your Mac. You can delete apps that you aren’t using, deactivate some extensions and plugins you don’t need when running your browsers, or use a memory cleaner app to boost memory.
What is the best paid memory cleaner to free up RAM?
Some of the best Memory Cleaners to free up RAM are CleanMyMac X and MacKeeper because of the multitude of options and features that make it easier to clean memory.
RAM is an important part of your computing device. If it is not well-taken care of then your system functionality will be disrupted. It will become slow, hang on you, and even shut down.
To prevent this from happening, always ensure you have enough RAM to run the processes, programs, and apps smoothly. Check out the best memory cleaner for Mac to free up RAM in 2023 alongside other tips to solve RAM and memory issues on your Mac in this article.