11 Replies Latest reply: Feb 16, 2013 4:27 AM by martur
Spac3Monkey Level 1 (25 points)



Looking for some advice. I have a Macbook Pro and have recently upgraded its 4gb to 8gb. There hasnt been much difference to be honest however when in Activity Monitor I do seem to get a high Inactive Memory volume.


At the moment it reads


Free - 2.76gb

Wired - 1.06gb

Active - 2.30gb

Inactive - 1.88gb

Page In - 4.48gb

Page Out - 2.0mb



I understand that Inactive is RAM reserved for recent applications in order for them to open quicker, however I have rebooted and the only application I have open is Safari and yet still 1.88gb Inactive memory, surely this is too high


Can anyone offer any advice? Could this be faultly memory?


Also how high should VM memory be?


Thanks All



MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    It's actually for programs that are still open but not active (No windows displaying). So try shutting down the programs you no long are using.

  • fane_j Level 4 (3,660 points)

    Spac3Monkey wrote:


    I do seem to get a high Inactive Memory volume.


    Could this be faultly memory?

    No. Inactive memory is memory allocated which hasn't been requested recently; it may become active, or it may be paged out. Explanation here


    Using Activity Monitor



    For the average user, Page Outs would be the most relevant figure -- it shows if excessive swapping occurs. You have no such problem. So, unless you are experiencing specific problems, stop worrying about this stuff and start enjoying your Mac and being productive -- that's what you got it for, right?

  • fane_j Level 4 (3,660 points)

    Shootist007 wrote:


    It's actually for programs that are still open but not active (No windows displaying).

    I'm afraid that's incorrect (see HT1342).

  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    It is not totally incorrect. Open a bunch of programs, then close their windows leave the programs running. Shut each one down one at a time and watch Activity monitor. Inactive memory stays the same while the programs are open and no windows displayed, the same as when the windows were open. As you close the the programs inactive memory drops.



  • fane_j Level 4 (3,660 points)

    Shootist007 wrote:


    As you close the the programs inactive memory drops.

    Sometimes, yes. But I just quit that well-known memory hog, iTunes, and inactive memory went slightly up, from 584MB to 585.6MB; so, sometimes, no.


    I think you are misled by your Windows experience; although the two OSs are similar, there are some fundamental differences, and memory allocation to apps and windows is among such differences. Read HT1342; if it's not detailed enough, follow the link to "Memory Usage Performance Guidelines" (a fundamental doc for understanding Mac OS X VM) and read About the Virtual Memory System > Page Lists in the Kernel.

  • Spac3Monkey Level 1 (25 points)

    Thanks all, so this will not be faultly memory thats good. I'll keep an eye on it

  • egremyl Level 1 (0 points)

    There are evident problems in memory management in os x ...


    please, take a look at my post: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3899357

    also, i recorded a screen video, where the system starts to hang when all the free memory is gone, and inactive memory is 4-5 GB !http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5wZwZh61_4&feature=player_embedded

  • jamesfoldenauer Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes i have this problem too I upgraded 4gb to 8gb to 16gb ram and it says inactive memory 6gb any ideas how i get more space without using any memory cleaners app?

  • secretkillerofnames Level 1 (0 points)

    So I just had this problem.  I have just upgraded to Mountain Lion AND upgraded to 8GB.  I've been watching Activity Monitor a lot lately as I use a lot of music programs.  So far it's been great with the system rarely going beyond 5gb and no page outs.  Until just before...


    I had Chrome, iTunes and Evernote running.  I was copying a link from Chrome to Evernote while iTunes was playing music in the background.  When I tried to Command+V, Evernote locked up with the spinning beach ball for 20seconds.  iTunes continued to play fine throughout.  I went back to Chrome to get more stuff to copy... back to Evernote and the same thing happened again.  I look at Activity Monitor and notice I have 5.8gb inactive, 3.8mb Page Outs and 8.1mb Swap used.   The only other thing i've had on in this session is Spotify for an hour or so.  


    I've since closed everything... an hour has passed and there is still 5.8 gb inactive.  I'm going to reset now but this seems pretty abnormal. 

  • tucketdog44 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just so you know, you can free most of your inactive memory using these steps:

    - Quit all open applications

    - Open Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal)

    - Run this command: purge

    If you view activity monitor, most of your inactive memory has been freed!

  • martur Level 1 (0 points)

    You can also use a third-party software called Free Memory or Memory Clean which can be found in appstore.