Expired

MacBook Air RAM Issue- Help!

Banned 11 replies
Found 14th Dec 2014
I have a problem with my 2012 MacBook air (4gb RAM) and I was wondering if someone could help me out. Basically, iStatNano is telling me that I have minimal 'free' RAM, less than 100mb usually, but it also says I have 1gb of 'inactive' RAM. This is when I've only got a couple of windows of Safari open. The laptop does struggle when I have lots of programs open.

My question is, how do I get the laptop to use this so called 'inactive RAM'? and why is my 'free' ram so low?

11 Comments

Original Poster Banned

http://s24.postimg.org/cferos9th/Screen_Shot_2014_12_14_at_15_44_56.png

try app called Memory Clean to free up unused RAM. Free from App Store.

Also worth looking at CCleaner.

Original Poster Banned

krazyasif786

try app called Memory Clean to free up unused RAM. Free from App … try app called Memory Clean to free up unused RAM. Free from App Store.Also worth looking at CCleaner.



wow that's odd, I just ran Memory Clean and my free RAM went up from 20mb to 1000mb!

Thanks!

But still, considering my laptop has 4gb of RAM, why is only 900mb available if I've only got 2 windows of safari open?
http://i.imgur.com/bdh02gQ.png
Edited by: "hukdealz" 14th Dec 2014

Original Poster Banned

weirdly it's just dropped back to what it was before- 30ish mb

http://i.imgur.com/SNNXbs5.png

Original Poster Banned

http://i.imgur.com/FFCQ6XU.png

surely that isn't right?!

You can free inactive ram but there's no point. Full explanation when I'm on the desktop

Safari and other browsers are serious memory hogs. Opening up multiple tabs has severe consequences on RAM usage.

4gb isn't a huge amount, especially if you're running yosemite, but nonetheless should still suffice.

You should have 4gb space on your hard drive as this is required for what I think is called page swapping/virtual memory i.e. it moves stuff from RAM to your hard drive temporarily. Not having this spare space will cause issues with this.

I use an app called memory freer. It sits on the menu bar and can display a pie chart of the 4 types of memory and their proportional usage. It can then free inactive memory. I recommend installing this and monitoring RAM use this way. It's unintrusive and very useful.

I've been using macs since 10.5 and have to say the performance and efficiency of inactive RAM has gone up exponentially. I used to get long hangs from insufficient RAM issues when inactive RAM was hogging all my spare capacity. It's now far more fluid.
The main memory intensive tasks I do are browsing multiple tabs. For a while, this uses active RAM, but every now and then it moves it to inactive RAM. Although all of my RAM is being used, it can now quite easily drop this in favour of a program that requires it.
The inactive RAM is there because the machine assumes that you may come back to that task at some point and rather than letting it go completely, it keeps it there ready, thus improving performance and speed. Technically it shouldn't cause any problems and you shouldn't see lag because of it, and if you do, you should consider closing safari and re-opening.

Number of windows of safari is irrelevant, it's all about the number of tabs. You seem to have at least 9 open, but I've had 100 open on my 8gb machine without it missing a beat (RAM usage is maxed out but it moves it to inactive quickly enough).

Try this and see if things improve.

Original Poster Banned

DennisG

Safari and other browsers are serious memory hogs. Opening up multiple … Safari and other browsers are serious memory hogs. Opening up multiple tabs has severe consequences on RAM usage.4gb isn't a huge amount, especially if you're running yosemite, but nonetheless should still suffice.You should have 4gb space on your hard drive as this is required for what I think is called page swapping/virtual memory i.e. it moves stuff from RAM to your hard drive temporarily. Not having this spare space will cause issues with this.I use an app called memory freer. It sits on the menu bar and can display a pie chart of the 4 types of memory and their proportional usage. It can then free inactive memory. I recommend installing this and monitoring RAM use this way. It's unintrusive and very useful.I've been using macs since 10.5 and have to say the performance and efficiency of inactive RAM has gone up exponentially. I used to get long hangs from insufficient RAM issues when inactive RAM was hogging all my spare capacity. It's now far more fluid.The main memory intensive tasks I do are browsing multiple tabs. For a while, this uses active RAM, but every now and then it moves it to inactive RAM. Although all of my RAM is being used, it can now quite easily drop this in favour of a program that requires it.The inactive RAM is there because the machine assumes that you may come back to that task at some point and rather than letting it go completely, it keeps it there ready, thus improving performance and speed. Technically it shouldn't cause any problems and you shouldn't see lag because of it, and if you do, you should consider closing safari and re-opening.Number of windows of safari is irrelevant, it's all about the number of tabs. You seem to have at least 9 open, but I've had 100 open on my 8gb machine without it missing a beat (RAM usage is maxed out but it moves it to inactive quickly enough).Try this and see if things improve.



great explanation, thank you very much.

I do understand what you mean about there being low free RAM yet everything working smoothly. I occasionally do have circa 40 tabs open but only see minimal lag/hiccups. However, it's ridiculous to see that safari is using 700mb of RAM just having 5 tabs open (as I do now).

I'm currently running a similar application to the one you're talking about, suggested by 'crazyasif786' called memory clean- it seems to be working well enough and it wipes the RAM every time it drops below 50mb or so which is a cool feature.

thank you for all the help, looks like it really isn't a massive problem for me at the moment. Looks like the only fix is a long term one, and that is to upgrade my laptop when I get the chance- I'll definitely be going for 16gb!

Yep. 16gb is the way to go!
My original macbook mentioned above that ran 10.5 was 4gb and it just couldn't handle it, but that was mainly down to the way the memory, especially inactive, was handled.

I don't understand either why webpages use so much RAM, as they don't seem particularly fancy or resource intensive to my untrained eye compared to video playback or document editing for example. It's worth noting as well that I get 3 hours of battery max for a machine that's advertised as 10 hour battery (or something like that) and that's due to the energy demands of web browsing too!

Does your app show RAM performance anywhere e.g. dock or menu bar? If not, then you can set activity monitor to show this (just checked and you can't apparently, but you used to be able to). I also have CPU LED installed (although processor use is less of an issue for me) and my activity monitor shows CPU history (so if CPU LED flashed red, I could go to the dock and see how the processor's been used for the last minute or so. Just for good measure, freespace tab and battery health allow me to stay on top of the metrics that matter to me.

Original Poster Banned

DennisG

Yep. 16gb is the way to go!My original macbook mentioned above that ran … Yep. 16gb is the way to go!My original macbook mentioned above that ran 10.5 was 4gb and it just couldn't handle it, but that was mainly down to the way the memory, especially inactive, was handled.I don't understand either why webpages use so much RAM, as they don't seem particularly fancy or resource intensive to my untrained eye compared to video playback or document editing for example. It's worth noting as well that I get 3 hours of battery max for a machine that's advertised as 10 hour battery (or something like that) and that's due to the energy demands of web browsing too!Does your app show RAM performance anywhere e.g. dock or menu bar? If not, then you can set activity monitor to show this (just checked and you can't apparently, but you used to be able to). I also have CPU LED installed (although processor use is less of an issue for me) and my activity monitor shows CPU history (so if CPU LED flashed red, I could go to the dock and see how the processor's been used for the last minute or so. Just for good measure, freespace tab and battery health allow me to stay on top of the metrics that matter to me.



The app I'm using does indeed show memory usage in the menu bar, shown below. I've been keeping an eye on it and it's doing better than it was before, mainly because I've restarted my computer for the first time in weeks. http://i.imgur.com/vStjlKm.png

I don't think CPU usage is particularly a problem for me. I only really use my laptop for web browsing and emails, plus word docs and excel occasionally. I do keep an eye on it using a widget called iStat nano (I mentioned it before, I think) which sits in my dashboard. It's a really nifty app, in the sense that it shows pretty much everything you'd want to know about your device including things like temperatures, fan speed, battery info, disks, network info and so on. You should check it out!


by the way, thanks again for all of the help, I really appreciate it

Cool - yeah a reset is needed every now and then just to clear the junk from the system.
I looked into iStat nano but I'm not a fan of dashboard.
no worries, hope it all works out and the RAM starts behaving!
Post a comment
Avatar
@
    Text
    Top Discussions
    1. Dog advice please. Think my Labrador is dying after catching the cold99
    2. Driving anxiety.2739
    3. Incorrect Amazon refunds - how can I make sure they don't owe me any more m…820
    4. Aliexpress - To be trusted?68

    See more discussions