How to Upgrade Mac Memory and Speed Up MacBooks

upgrade mac memory

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Learn if You Can Complete a Mac Memory Upgrade

If your Mac is running slow and you've tried all of our tips to speed up your Mac, you may be looking to upgrade Mac memory. First off, you need to understand what Mac memory is:

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.

If you run power-hungry programs such as photo and video editing software or video games, you may be asking your computer to do more at one time than its built to do. If that's the case, you need to consider a Mac memory upgrade or a new machine.

Stop: before you do anything, make sure you've given your Mac a thorough cleaning. Using a professional cleaning software can save you thousands.

Is your Mac able to upgrade its memory?

Apple installs memory directly on the motherboard of many of its Macs, such as the MacBook Air and the Retina MacBook Pr0. As a result, you get a lightweight machine, but you cannot upgrade Mac memory on these devices.

If you have a Mac mini purchased in 2014 or before, you can install additional memory. More recent models do not allow the upgrade.

If you have a MacBook Pro purchased in 2012 or before, you can install additional memory. More recent models and all retina models do not allow the upgrade.

You can still upgrade Mac memory in the iMac machines.

If you are able to upgrade Mac memory

Apple provides incredibly comprehensive guides for how to upgrade Mac memory:

If you are ready to purchase additional memory, we recommend the following products:

If you have an older MacBook Pro, we have specific recommendations for these models in your Best RAM for Your MacBook Pro? post. 

If you are unable to upgrade your Mac memory

If you have a newer model computer or any model MacBook Air or MacBook Pro Retina, you cannot install additional memory to make your computer run faster. In this case we beg you to run through all of your options first, including:

If you have exhausted all of your options, it's time to consider a new machine. We know many individuals who purchased a Mac at the beginning of a new business or hobby and as that venture quickly grew, so did their memory needs. You need your Mac to run at peak speed and performance. If you're already having this problem on an existing Mac, you need to not purchase the new base model. The MacBook Pro 15-inch comes with a possible 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory and 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD. If you already have slow computer problems, consider the 512GB or 1TB SSD.

May the Mac force be with you!

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
  1. Jerry Obrien Reply

    What is the price

    • Depending on how much memory you add, the price runs from $80 – $150 for the memory we recommended in the article. The prices change on Amazon regularly so click on the links to check the most up-to-date price.

  2. Pingback: What is a Mac Mini? And Should I Buy a Mac Mini? - Mach Machines

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