Apps not quitting ok or creating slowdowns or other issues?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Crunch, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Crunch macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2008
    Crazy L.A.
    Hey everyone!

    Alright, so it's been a week since I got my iMac and I am loving it as well as the operating system that runs it. I have just a quick question about OS X regarding application and resource management.

    I understand that clicking the red button on the top left of almost every window border only rarely shuts down the application that is attached to it completely. In fact, as I am typing this, I have 14 little reflective lights on the bottom of my dock which indicates the fact that 14 apps are actively using resources. Is this assertion a correct one? If so, does OS X ever shut down an application or process or service if it needs memory that is being used by those "inactive" but open programs. Do open apps really not ever get in the way of the fluidity of the OS and the overall computing experience, or is it possible that some of those "open" apps may use enough RAM to potentially slow down the responsiveness of the operating system or an application, or both? Worse yet would be if the stability of the OS was compromised because of this.

    Having said that, I know that I can quit any application from the :apple: menu or from the dock, but there must be a reason for OS X to manage resources this way and cause the user to have to take an extra step, unless it's truly not necessary.

    Finally, I was bewildered as to why my system seemed to somehow slowly but surely gobble up all of my RAM. After doing some research, I realize that the "Inactive Memory" that shows up in Activity Monitor can be counted as fully available RAM, and that OS X manages RAM this way so as to be able to quickly re-allocate this free RAM if the user were to go back to an application that was previously used since the last system start. It makes sense to me that this process would potentially create a better and faster user experience. My question here is as to whether or not the "open app issue" that I described above has anything to do with the amount of Inactive RAM. At first glance, I would venture to say that there is no correlation between the two, because I have found that even when I quit every last app, and with that "turn off all the lights" in the dock, the amount of Inactive Memory does not change.

    Taking all of the above into account, is the bottom line here that it is not necessary to even pay attention as to what applications might be open? Is OS X that smart and efficient that even when resources are tight, it does not matter if the user does not bother to fully quit every application that is not actively being used, and that there may even be a benefit as a result of OS X's management of available resources in the way that it does?

    Thanks very much for any advice and clarification of this. I am, after all, still a n00b when it comes to OS X and the Mac, although I've felt very much at home since day 1. ;)
  2. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Not entirely, but it does have quite intelligent memory management. You do want to make sure to quit open applications if you have trouble, but in general, applications that are running but not actively performing a task will tend not to use much RAM or resources. You still should manage your open applications and don't have tons of them running at once, but it's nowhere near as fickle as Windows tends to be about having 10-20 apps running all the time.

    I currently have 13 applications running in my Dock, and I'm sure I have at least another dozen apps (not system related) running in the background, in addition to the system itself. This is an average load for me, probably, and I often have more. With the exception of apps like iPhoto, which consume a significant portion of the computer's resources when open, I rarely have to quit apps to keep the computer running quickly.


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