ML Memory Crisis: Inactive Overload

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by Nimoy, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Nimoy, Jul 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012

    Nimoy macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2010
    ML is holding 4.85gb of inactive memory leaving me with nearly zero free memory! I've only got the basic apps running: Calendar, Mail, Twitter, Messages, Safari, iTunes. This shouldn't be happening! Not with a mid-2010 MBP and 8gb of RAM! Even after a purge or reboot, the RAM fills up FAST.

    What's going on? Is this a BUG?

    How embarrassing for me. Looks like the reason my memory was going mental was because the App store got hung up on a big App update. It just finished and freed up a whole bunch of memory. I apologize for wasting your time. Please remove this filth from the forum. Crisis averted and aborted.
  2. benthewraith macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Miami, FL
    Inactive Memory is the memory that was used by a now closed app, and is still linked to that app, to make it start faster when started again, when memory is needed for a newly starting app, and there is not enough memory for it , this inactive memory is freed automatically. Thus for practical purposes you can add the amounts of "free" and "inactive" when you want to know the amount of memory that can be claimed by a new starting app.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, it's not a bug. Inactive memory is just like free memory, but with an added advantage. For details, read this:

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor

    You don't need to worry about memory usage or readings, unless you have page outs under normal usage.
  4. dennis-vartan macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2012
    This is perfectly okay -- what you're seeing isn't a bug. Mac OS memory management is fairly advanced -- it actively manages the available RAM and can sometimes allocate memory ahead of time as an optimization.

    In other words, having low "free" memory doesn't actually mean that your Mac is out of memory. There is also no particular benefit from specifically "freeing" memory (or using apps that claim to free memory) since the OS takes care of managing it.

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