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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:43 PM   #1
RThom
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"Free" vs "Inactive"

On the Activity Monitor graph, I'm curious as to the difference between free memory and inactive memory: isn't "inactive" the same as free memory in the sense that it's available to use?
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:45 PM   #2
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On the Activity Monitor graph, I'm curious as to the difference between free memory and inactive memory: isn't "inactive" the same as free memory in the sense that it's available to use?
Yes. Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:46 PM   #3
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On the Activity Monitor graph, I'm curious as to the difference between free memory and inactive memory: isn't "inactive" the same as free memory in the sense that it's available to use?
Supposably but it isn't the case in practice. I have found apps will continue to page out if there is little free ram and loads of inactive (when it should not be paging out if inactive was free)
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:50 PM   #4
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Thx! So if "inactive" is basically "free" to be used, why the distinction?
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:50 PM   #5
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Thx! So if "inactive" is basically "free" to be used, why the distinction?
Did you read the link I posted? It answers your question.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:52 PM   #6
RThom
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"Inactive memory is available for use by another application, just like Free memory." So, what am I missing?
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:53 PM   #7
GGJstudios
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"Inactive memory is available for use by another application, just like Free memory." So, what am I missing?
Read the rest of the description to find out what inactive memory is.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:56 PM   #8
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Thx! So if "inactive" is basically "free" to be used, why the distinction?
The distinction is that if you close an application, the memory that it used goes to inactive. You then open that application up again, and instead of re-loading the app, it uses what was already in memory (as inactive).

So basically inactive ram is memory that is free but an application could reuse it if restarted. The benefit of this is that app opens up much quicker.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:56 PM   #9
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Thx! So if "inactive" is basically "free" to be used, why the distinction?
"Inactive" contains data that _might_ be useful. For example, if you read a file, the OS might keep the contents of the file cached in "Inactive" memory, just in case you read it again. "Free" memory contains nothing useful.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 12:57 PM   #10
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Okie doke. Gotcha. Thanks for the prompt response!
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