Why does my Macbook Pro eat up memory just using basic apps?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ralphiatto, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Ralphiatto macrumors newbie

    Ralphiatto

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #1
    My MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) keeps on using memory from my 120gb "Macintosh HD" from doing simple things such as reading news, watching netflix etc.. I had to reinstall OS and start from scratch yesterday because my computer was using memory for the reason listed above, I thought starting from scratch was going to make it run normal again but it's still using memory for no reason. I've only downloaded two very basic applications to my comp and it's used 3gb in one day. What is causing this and what can I do? I'm selling my computer in a few months and don't want the buyer to have this problem. Thanks.

    MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
    2.7 GHz Intel Core i5
    8 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
     
  2. MacInTO macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

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    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Canada, eh!
    #2
    This is normal operation of any computer. It's called a swap file or memory swapping.
     
  3. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #3
    Please post a screenshot of your activity monitor with memory tab open.
     
  4. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Location:
    Shanghai
    #4
    As @leman said post a screenshot.

    Otherwise it can be considered normal activity. You don't want things such as Netflix eating up valuable system RAM, so it'll put it on a slower drive instead as it doesn't need the speed.

    You don't need to panic or spend hours problem solving unless it's causing an issue. If it was getting into system hangups and stuff it's a different matter. It just sounds like you've been exploring areas that you don't fully understand and gotten concerned, which is fine. Just know it's not a problem and no need to worry.
     
  5. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #5
    Because OS X uses all the memory it can as unused ram is wasted ram this means it sometimes uses a bit of swap for non speed dependant processes, the only relèvent metric on the ram monitoring screen is the pressure graph, as long as that is green you are all good.
     
  6. Ralphiatto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ralphiatto

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #6
    Do you want to see "Cpu" or "Memory" on activity monitor. It doesn't make sense though, my brothers don't have a problem whatsoever with using up memory but I do. I use the computer more for recreational activities while they use it for school and work. This is the second time I've had to reinstall OS because of running out of memory from doing basic things and not downloading much at all. I can't imagine someone having to restart from scratch twice within 4 months because their computer uses unnecessary space. And theres no way to recover that space the computer uses for activity? I have dr. cleaner from the app store and it recovers about 100mb daily or so. The photo posted below is with 1 page open on safari(this page) and activity monitor open.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2017 ---
     

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  7. MacInTO macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

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    Canada, eh!
    #7
    http://www.linfo.org/swap_space.html
     
  8. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #8
    Ok, can you now post the memory tab ;)

    What you posted is cpu activity which is less relevant here. Although I can see that your kernel extension cache is being rebuilt. Did you install some new weird software or drivers recently? It’s very uncommon for this to occur.
     
  9. Ralphiatto, Sep 20, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017

    Ralphiatto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ralphiatto

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #9
    No I did not. I've only downloaded two very popular programs. Which I'd rather not name. Also on Dr. Cleaner it shows how much RAM is being used and since I got my new OS up yesterday it has been using more than usual(4.37gb) or so but I push "Optimize" and it usually frees up about 1.5gb-2gb. Is that a lot of RAM being used for reading articles?
    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2017 ---
    My computer has used 1gb of storage in 13 mins from searching articles of how to free storage. Wow.
     

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  10. MacInTO, Sep 20, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017

    MacInTO macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Canada, eh!
    #10
    It seems rather normal amount of memory usage. You're using less than half of the installed RAM. The OS will devote as much memory as it can to whatever task is running. If your machine had less RAM, it would use less RAM, however, the cache and swap files would be larger, but your machine would probably be slower also. If you were able to limit the RAM usage, your computer would be slower because it would need more of the secondary memory, like, cache, compressed and swap.

    For comparison, I have 16GB of RAM in my machine. All that is running is Activity Monitor and Safari with one window open (Macrumors) and I'm using almost 6GB of RAM. You have way more open and are using less RAM but have more compressed and swap.

    [​IMG]

    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2017 ---
    ps. If you're curious about how the OS and memory works, you would probably enjoy the history and story of how OS X came about and computer technology in general.

    The predecessor of OS X came from NeXT (my avatar), the company Steve Jobs started when he left Apple. NeXT created the NeXTSTEP OS. This was an amazing OS for the time (late 80s) but the hardware was too slow (and expensive) at the time. IBM OS/2 is another great OS for the same period, but also suffered from slow hardware.

    When Steve Jobs came back to Apple he brought the NeXT OS with him and that eventually became OS X.

    However, the basis of all of these operating systems is UNIX BSD. The grandfather of all OSes.

    In university I wrote a paper about the NeXT OS (I'm old). I still have the book and several articles.

    [​IMG]
    The NeXT Book (1989) and the recent SJ biography.

    [​IMG]
    A page from a promotional NeXT article from 1990.

    /GeekOut!
     

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  11. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Location:
    Shanghai
    #11
    It's absolutely fine and you needn't worry. As others have pointed out, you are not running out of RAM as this isn't how the system works. It looks like you're seeing a high RAM usage and correlating that to indicate you are using up the system RAM doing medial tasks. However, the system will just use RAM regardless of what you're doing, and will balance it depending on current use. So if you fired up some intensive applications you'd probably see the number rise, but it would give less to less intensive applications such as Safari.

    Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 09.56.11.jpg

    Here's a screenshot of my current system, the only real App open is Illustrator, then some ridiculous number of internet tabs and other stuff. It's using a fairly high amount of system RAM but crucially it is still 'green' on the pressure, meaning the system is in no way being stressed. I'll open a few more things to show you what I mean.

    Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 10.05.39.jpg

    As you can see, the memory use has actually gone down whilst the swap has gone up. This is because I've suddenly given the system some real use, so it's put the browsers into the swap and started to use the RAM for the Apps instead. Suddenly it has work to do so very quickly mitigates things around for you.

    Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 10.22.03.jpg

    Lastly is a screenshot of the system on a cold start as it's opening things up, it's still using a lot of RAM but again it's just because it's stretching its legs as it optimises things. No swap is being used as I haven't asked it to do anything yet that means it needs to think fast and juggle things around.
     
  12. Ralphiatto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ralphiatto

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #12
    Thanks y'all I appreciate it. So it's normal to use up a whole SSD 120gb with only downloading a few items? Today I've lost 1.3gb from simply using Safari. That sounds just so ****ed up and not usual. Thanks for the suggestion MacInto, I read the biography written by Isaacson when it came out, was a great read.
     
  13. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Location:
    Shanghai
    #13
    You aren't using 120GB, or the entire SSD. It's using a swap space, this is say a 4GB area that acts as memory. If you use 4GB one day and 8GB another this does not mean 12GB of your SSD is used up, as it constantly gets overwritten with new data. It would be insane if the system just used up your SSD to capacity and then that was it... You'd realise this was happening after a few days use!

    Just stop worrying about it, nothing is being affected. You've got a machine with a very small SSD so you will always get issues when trying to use it for anything other than light browsing and office work. But everyone here can assure you the RAM is not working in the way you think it is.
     
  14. Ralphiatto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ralphiatto

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
    #14
    Oh no I don't think my RAM and my SSD are the same, it's just that if I click "About this Mac"->storage it shows a storage bar that shows what all my 120gb is being used for such as "other,music,movies" and that memory keeps on being consumed.
     
  15. leman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #15
    Your RAM usage is perfectly fine. In fact, the only issue I can see with your RAM is that "Dr. Cleaner" thing. Not only it wastes resources on its own, it also completely messes up the memory management of your computer, again wasting resourceses and forcing the system to rebuild caches and various other structures it keeps in RAM to accelerate operation.

    The most relevant thing for you is to stop looking at RAM usage. The system aggressively preloads stuff into RAM trying to guess what you will do next, so that these things are already loaded. RAM is an always-on thing, so you don't want it to be wasted idling. What the Mac does it trying to use as much of it as possible to improve your user experience.

    If you want to know whether everything is fine RAM-wise, instead look at the memory pressure graph on the bottom of the window. If its green, everything is perfect, no matter how much RAM is being used. Once its getting yellow, you are starting to have a problem, and once its red, then you HAVE one.

    P.S. With your small SSD, I'd advice you to do a clean reinstall of High Sierra once it gets out. The new filesystem does wonder for disk space.
     
  16. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68030

    PBG4 Dude

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    #16
    The SSD is storage space, not RAM. If you have Time Machine activated and do an install, Time Machine will do a local backup of the changes. This will reduce SSD space until you run a Time Machine backup to an external disk.

    You can see if you currently have any local backups by opening Terminal, then typing the following commands:

    cd /Volumes
    ls -ah

    If you see “MobileBackups” after typing the ls (list) command, you have local Time Machine backups taking SSD space that will migrate when Backing up to external.

    Depending on the size of the programs you installed, this could easily eat up a bunch of space holding all the added/changed files. Especially if you installed say Office 365, it some other large software package, like Logic Pro or Final Cut Pro or something.
     

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15 September 19, 2017