Free Up Memory (RAM) and Speed Up Mac

free up memory

Photo by Paxson Woelber on Unsplash

When You Free Up Memory You Give Your Mac Room to Work

Are you receiving errors on your Mac indicating, “Your Startup Disk is Full”? Maybe you’re just noticing that your Mac is significantly slower than it used to be and you suspect you have too much loaded on your machine? We know for a fact that giving your Mac plenty of free space to do its job results in increased performance. To put it simply, space = speed.

What is memory?

RAM (Random Access Memory) or computer memory does the work for you while you’re actively using programs or apps. While you are working with Photoshop, for example, you need sufficient computer RAM to run the program. For the sake of keeping things simple, think of RAM as short-term, active memory.

How do I free up memory?

You can give our computer more space to think by completing the following simple tasks:

  • Remove junk files and folders from your storage
  • Uninstall programs and applications correctly
  • Empty your trash

Remove Junk Files and Folders

To do this I used two apps made by MacPaw.

First, I used Clean My Mac 3 to do a high level cleanup of my machine. I installed the free trial version and ran that within minutes of download.

A basic Clean My Mac 3 scan runs through the following items: system junk, photo junk, mail attachments, iTunes junk, and trash bins. It cleans up each of these areas creating more space on your hard drive and speeding up your Mac. It also identifies files on your hard drive that are particularly large and/or old, allowing you to make cleaning decisions on these individual items.

My first scan with Clean My Mac 3 cleared up over 10 GB of space. It also identified nearly 12 GB of large and old files for me to review. And at its conclusion, it succinctly reported its actions, without asking me to investigate complex technical issues like my PC software had done back in the day.

clean up mac

Second, I ran a free trial version of Gemini 2. This program identifies files that are duplicates, or nearly duplicates, and helps you make decisions about eliminating them.

After downloading Gemini 2, you are directed to a simple screen prompting you to select a folder for review. You may drag and drop or click and select any folder on your hard drive, or any folder currently running via external hard drive or cloud drive. Once you select a folder, Gemini 2 will review the folder structure and then begin a scan — searching for files that are either identical or very similar.

All of my scans completed quickly, in about 30 to 90 seconds. Gemini 2 then let me know it had automatically identified duplicate files or folders. I was able to select Smart Cleanup or Review Results. I always chose to Review Results, in order to get a better idea of how the program worked and to ensure my files truly were duplicates.

Uninstall Programs Correctly

You can delete some apps directly from the Apple Launchpad. To do this click the Launchpad icon in the Dock, click and hold the icon until all the icons on your screen begin to jiggle, then click the X in the upper left-hand corner (if it appears).

I the X does not appear in the left-hand corner then this app cannot be uninstalled in Launchpad and you need to use an alternative method.

Drag to the Trash

For some apps, you can drag and drop them in the Trash Can to delete them. Navigate to the program via your file structure: Finder > Applications. Grab and “hold” the icon and drag it over to the trash and release. This deletes the application. Empty the Trash immediately following this action.

Note: Leaving behind related files is one of the biggest issues with uninstalling apps via Simple Delete or Drag to the Trash. For example, you may install a photo editing program. If this program came with several read only files and/or bonus features, you may overlook these files when you delete the main app. These smaller files are often buried in your file structure.

Mac Cleaning Program

 

I’m always paranoid that I will mess up my uninstall or leave behind related files. For this reason I use a Mac cleaning program. These programs obviously clean your Mac, but they also have an uninstall feature. Many Mac cleaning programs will do the dirty work of uninstalling a program you select. This ensures you uninstalled an app correctly and that no related files remain on your hard drive.

I personally use Clean My Mac 3 for this task. To remove a program you can simply open Clean My Mac 3, select a list of Applications, and select the one you want removed. Click uninstall and the cleaning program will let you know when the job is done. Voilà!

Empty Your Trash

This one sounds silly, but seriously, you waste a lot of space on trash. Open your trash, go up to Finder, and click Empty Trash.

Done and done.

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About the Author
Kylie Larson is a content wrangler, helping both small businesses and large organizations get their message up and out. When she's not writing and organizing online, you'll find her walking the dog, with a camera in hand, riding the Chicago blue line, and in the midst of a home renovation project that never ends. Connect with her at KylieLarson.com.

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