Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Applications > Mac Applications and Mac App Store

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:43 PM   #1
RThom
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
"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?
__________________
21.5" iMac, Mid 2011, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 12 GB RAM; Grado RS-1 headphones, AKG K701 headphones, Headroom Ultra Micro Amp, Headroom Ultra Micro DAC; Harman/Kardon Soundsticks II
RThom is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:45 PM   #2
GGJstudios
macrumors Westmere
 
Join Date: May 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by RThom View Post
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
GGJstudios is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:46 PM   #3
dukebound85
macrumors P6
 
dukebound85's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: 5045 feet above sea level
Quote:
Originally Posted by RThom View Post
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)
dukebound85 is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:50 PM   #4
RThom
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Thx! So if "inactive" is basically "free" to be used, why the distinction?
__________________
21.5" iMac, Mid 2011, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 12 GB RAM; Grado RS-1 headphones, AKG K701 headphones, Headroom Ultra Micro Amp, Headroom Ultra Micro DAC; Harman/Kardon Soundsticks II
RThom is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:50 PM   #5
GGJstudios
macrumors Westmere
 
Join Date: May 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by RThom View Post
Thx! So if "inactive" is basically "free" to be used, why the distinction?
Did you read the link I posted? It answers your question.
GGJstudios is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:52 PM   #6
RThom
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
"Inactive memory is available for use by another application, just like Free memory." So, what am I missing?
__________________
21.5" iMac, Mid 2011, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 12 GB RAM; Grado RS-1 headphones, AKG K701 headphones, Headroom Ultra Micro Amp, Headroom Ultra Micro DAC; Harman/Kardon Soundsticks II
RThom is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:53 PM   #7
GGJstudios
macrumors Westmere
 
Join Date: May 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by RThom View Post
"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.
GGJstudios is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:56 PM   #8
maflynn
Moderator
 
maflynn's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Boston
Quote:
Originally Posted by RThom View Post
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.
maflynn is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:56 PM   #9
gnasher729
macrumors G5
 
gnasher729's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by RThom View Post
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.
gnasher729 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:57 PM   #10
RThom
Thread Starter
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Okie doke. Gotcha. Thanks for the prompt response!
__________________
21.5" iMac, Mid 2011, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 12 GB RAM; Grado RS-1 headphones, AKG K701 headphones, Headroom Ultra Micro Amp, Headroom Ultra Micro DAC; Harman/Kardon Soundsticks II
RThom is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Applications > Mac Applications and Mac App Store

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Why does OSX crawl when "free" memory runs out but I still have inactive/wired ls1dreams OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion 0 Nov 30, 2013 09:47 PM
Does clicking on "Free Upgrade" in the App Store "download" or "download & upgrade"? darngooddesign OS X Mavericks (10.9) 1 Oct 31, 2013 01:48 PM
"iLife" and "iWork" free for iPhone 5S 8CoreWhore iPhone 18 Oct 16, 2013 09:58 PM
2010 27" iMac screen issue..."dirty", "cloudy", image retention issues MMcCraryNJ iMac 1 May 18, 2013 05:02 PM
Start a new tab similar to "iOS blog" and "Mac blog" but make it "IPhone Leaks?" Dewroo Site and Forum Feedback 2 Aug 23, 2012 10:47 AM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:52 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC