How to Clear Memory on Mac: Easy Steps to Free Up Space

Welcome to this comprehensive guide on how to clear memory on your Mac. As you use your computer over time, it’s common for some memory to become cluttered and slow down your system. If you’re experiencing sluggish performance or receiving alerts that your disk is full, it’s time to take action.

In this article, we’ll provide you with 12 simple steps to clear memory on your Mac and optimize its performance. We’ll also explain how your computer’s memory works and give you some tips and tricks to keep your system running smoothly. Let’s get started!

Steps to Clear Memory on Your Mac

Step 1: Update Your Software

The first step in clearing your Mac’s memory is to update your software. This includes your operating system, applications, and any drivers you may have installed. Updated software often includes bug fixes and performance improvements that can help free up memory and speed up your system.

To check for updates, click on the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your screen and select “Software Update.” If any updates are available, click “Update” to download and install them.

Step 2: Close Unnecessary Applications

If you have multiple applications open at once, it can quickly eat up your computer’s memory. To free up some space, close any applications you’re not currently using. You can do this by clicking on the application and selecting “Quit” from the menu bar or using the keyboard shortcut “Command + Q.”

If you want to see which applications are currently using the most memory, open the Activity Monitor. To do this, go to “Applications” > “Utilities” > “Activity Monitor.” From there, you can sort applications by memory usage and close any that are using too much.

Step 3: Restart Your Computer

If you’ve tried closing applications and your computer is still running slow, try restarting it. This can help clear out any temporary files and processes that may be using up your memory.

To restart your Mac, click on the Apple menu and select “Restart.” Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Control + Command + Eject” or “Control + Command + Power Button.”

Step 4: Manage Your Startup Items

When you start your computer, it automatically launches certain applications or processes. If you have too many startup items, it can contribute to a slow startup time and reduce available memory.

To manage your startup items, go to “System Preferences” > “Users & Groups” > “Login Items.” From there, you can select which items you want to remove or disable.

Step 5: Clear Your Cache and Temporary Files

Your web browser and other applications store temporary files and caches to help speed up loading times. However, over time, these files can build up and take up valuable memory.

To clear your cache and temporary files, open your web browser and go to the “History” > “Clear History” menu. You can also download third-party cleaning applications like CleanMyMac to help clear out temporary files from other applications.

Step 6: Remove Unused Language Files

Your Mac comes with language files for many different languages. If you’re only using one or two languages, these files can take up unnecessary memory.

To remove unused language files, you can use a cleaning application like Monolingual. This tool will scan your computer and remove any language files you’re not using.

Step 7: Disable Visual Effects

Your Mac comes with various visual effects like animations and transparency. While these can make your computer look nice, they can also use up valuable memory.

To disable visual effects, go to “System Preferences” > “Accessibility” > “Display.” From there, you can check the box next to “Reduce motion” and “Reduce transparency.”

Step 8: Optimize Storage

Your Mac comes with a built-in feature called “Optimize Storage” that can help free up space. This feature automatically removes old files and moves them to iCloud or other cloud storage services.

To use Optimize Storage, go to “Apple Menu” > “About This Mac” > “Storage” > “Manage.” From there, you can select “Optimize Storage” and set up rules to automatically remove files.

Step 9: Remove Unused Applications

If you have applications on your computer that you rarely use, it’s a good idea to remove them. This can free up valuable disk space and memory.

To remove applications, drag them to the trash or use a cleaning application like AppCleaner that will also remove associated files.

Step 10: Clear Out Downloads Folder

The Downloads folder is often a repository for files that you don’t need or want anymore. Take a few minutes to go through your Downloads folder and delete any files you no longer need.

Step 11: Disable Automatic Login

If you have automatic login enabled, your computer will launch certain applications or processes as soon as you turn it on. This can use up memory and slow down your startup time.

To disable automatic login, go to “System Preferences” > “Users & Groups” > “Login Options.” From there, you can select “off” under “Automatic login.”

Step 12: Upgrade Your Memory

If you’ve tried all of the previous steps and your computer is still running slow, it may be time to upgrade your memory. Adding more RAM to your computer can help improve its performance and speed.

To upgrade your memory, you’ll need to know which type of RAM your computer uses. Check your computer’s manual or search online to find out. Once you have the right RAM, you can install it yourself or take it to a professional.


We’ve covered a lot of steps, but how do they actually help clear memory on your Mac? Let’s dive into the details.

First, updating your software can help free up memory by fixing bugs and improving performance. Closing unnecessary applications and managing your startup items will reduce the amount of memory being used. Restarting your computer can help clear out any temporary files and processes.

Clearing your cache and temporary files, removing unused language files, and disabling visual effects will all free up additional memory. Using the “Optimize Storage” feature and removing unused applications and files will also help clear out space.

Finally, if all else fails, upgrading your memory can give your computer the boost it needs.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use a Cleaning Application

There are many third-party cleaning applications that can help automate many of the steps we’ve outlined in this guide. Some popular options include CleanMyMac, CCleaner, and Disk Doctor.

2. Use External Storage

If you have a lot of files that you don’t want to delete, consider using external storage like an external hard drive or cloud storage.

3. Monitor Your Memory Usage

Keep an eye on your computer’s memory usage by regularly checking the Activity Monitor. This will help you identify any applications or processes that are using up too much memory.

4. Use a Solid State Drive (SSD)

Upgrading your hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD) can also help improve your computer’s performance and speed.

5. Keep Your Desktop Clean

Your desktop can quickly become cluttered with files and folders. Keeping it clean and organized can help reduce memory usage.

6. Use Low-Quality Graphics

If you’re running an older Mac or have limited memory, consider using lower-quality graphics settings.

7. Close Tabs in Your Web Browser

Having too many tabs open in your web browser can quickly use up memory. Close any tabs you’re not currently using.

8. Remove Unused Plugins and Extensions

Plugins and extensions in your web browser can also use up memory. Remove any that you’re not using.

9. Use the Cloud

Storing files and documents in the cloud, like iCloud or Google Drive, can help free up space on your computer.

10. Restart Your Mac Regularly

Restarting your computer regularly can help clear out any temporary files and processes that may be using up memory.

We hope this guide has helped you clear memory on your Mac and improve its performance. By following these simple steps and tips, you can keep your computer running smoothly and efficiently.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Clearing Memory on Mac


1. Improved Performance – Clearing memory on your Mac can help improve its performance by freeing up RAM and allowing you to run more applications smoothly.

2. Increased Storage Space – Clearing memory removes temporary files and frees up space on your hard drive.

3. Enhanced Security – Clearing memory can help protect your computer from malware and other security threats by removing potentially harmful files.

4. Improved Battery Life – By freeing up memory, your Mac will use less power, which can extend your battery life.

5. Reduced Crashes and Errors – Clearing memory can reduce the chances of crashes or errors due to insufficient memory.

6. Faster Startup – Clearing memory can speed up the startup process on your Mac, allowing you to get to work faster.

7. Better Multitasking – When you free up memory, you can run more applications at the same time, allowing you to multitask more effectively.

8. Optimization of Resources – Clearing memory can optimize resources on your Mac, making your computer faster and more efficient.

9. Improved Internet Browsing – Clearing memory can speed up internet browsing by removing old data and freeing up memory for new information.

10. Improved Overall User Experience – Clearing memory can provide a better overall user experience by making your Mac faster, more responsive, and easier to use.


1. Potential Loss of Data – Clearing memory can cause you to lose unsaved data if you haven’t saved it before clearing memory.

2. Incomplete Removal of Files – Clearing memory may not always remove all temporary files, which can clutter your hard drive over time.

3. Risk of System Instability – Clearing memory can cause system instability if you clear too much memory at once.

4. Time-Consuming Process – Clearing memory can take some time depending on the size of your hard drive and the amount of memory you want to clear.

5. Reduced Battery Life – Clearing memory too often can reduce battery life as it can cause your Mac to use more power than necessary.

6. Risk of Deleting Important Files – Clearing memory manually can be risky as you may accidentally delete important files or cache data.

7. Unstable Applications – Clearing memory can cause applications that require a lot of memory to become unstable or even crash.

8. Reduced Search Functionality – When you clear memory, your Mac may take longer to perform searches due to the removal of temporary data.

9. Limited Benefits – Clearing memory may not provide a significant performance boost if your Mac is already running efficiently.

10. Risk of Damaging Hardware – Clearing memory can put a strain on your hardware over time, potentially reducing the lifespan of your Mac.


1. How do I clear my Mac’s memory?

To clear your Mac’s memory, open the Activity Monitor and select the app or process you want to quit. Click “X” icon on the toolbar, then click “Force Quit” to close the process.

2. Will clearing my Mac’s memory speed up my computer?

Yes, clearing your Mac’s memory can help speed up your computer as it frees up resources for other programs to use.

3. How often should I clear my Mac’s memory?

There’s no set schedule for clearing your Mac’s memory. You can clear it as often as you feel necessary, or when you notice your computer slowing down.

4. Will clearing my Mac’s memory delete any files or applications?

No, clearing your Mac’s memory will not delete any files or applications. It only closes running processes and frees up resources.

5. Can I clear my Mac’s memory while I’m working on it?

Yes, you can clear your Mac’s memory while you’re working on it. However, be aware that clearing memory may cause the app or process you’re working on to close.

6. Is clearing my Mac’s memory the same as restarting my computer?

No, clearing your Mac’s memory is not the same as restarting your computer. Restarting your computer will completely shut down all processes and applications, while clearing memory will only close running processes.

7. What happens if I don’t clear my Mac’s memory?

If you don’t clear your Mac’s memory, it may slow down as more and more processes run in the background and use up resources.

8. Can I automate the process of clearing my Mac’s memory?

Yes, you can use third-party apps like CleanMyMac or Memory Clean to automate the process of clearing your Mac’s memory.

9. How much memory should I aim to always have free on my Mac?

It’s recommended to always have at least 10% of your Mac’s total memory free to ensure optimal performance.

10. Is clearing my Mac’s memory safe?

Yes, clearing your Mac’s memory is safe. However, be sure to only close processes and apps that you know are safe to quit.

11. Do I need to be an expert to clear my Mac’s memory?

No, clearing your Mac’s memory is a simple process that anyone can do. Just follow the steps mentioned earlier.

12. What other ways can I speed up my Mac?

You can speed up your Mac by updating to the latest version of macOS, removing unused apps and files, cleaning up your hard drive, and upgrading your hardware.

13. Can I clear memory on my iPhone or iPad?

Yes, you can clear memory on your iPhone or iPad by closing all apps running in the background and restarting your device. Hold down the power button until the “slide to power off” message appears, then slide to turn off your device. Press and hold the power button again to turn it back on.

How to Clear Memory on Mac

Mac computers are well-known for their high-performance and superior-quality, which make them a popular choice for professionals and personal use. However, over time, computers can become slow and unresponsive, affecting their overall speed and efficiency. One common reason for a slow Mac is insufficient memory. If you’re facing memory issues with your Mac, then it’s time to clear your memory and boost your system’s performance. Here’s how you can do it:

Conclusion & Closing

Clearing memory on your Mac is a straightforward process, but it’s important to do it correctly to avoid any mishaps. By following the steps mentioned above, you can ensure that your Mac runs smoothly, efficiently, and without any glitches. So, if you’re experiencing issues with your system’s speed and performance, then clear your memory and enjoy a smoother and faster Mac experience.

We hope this article was helpful in guiding you on how to clear memory on your Mac. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Thank you for reading, and until next time!