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Optimise your Mac’s memory

Use Memory Clean to purge inactive memory and speed up productivity

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The amount of memory in the Mac has an affect on its performance and the more you have, the better OS X runs. Upgrade the memory if you can, but if not, try a memory manager like Memory Clean. OS X does a great job of managing memory, but under some circumstances, it may be useful to force a clear out using this free app from the Mac App Store (apple. co/1HRf1KY). It works by forcing OS X to compress unused memory and reduce the file cache. On the one hand it makes switching to apps in the background slower, but on the other hand it frees up a lot of space so you can then run a large memory-hungry new app. This may help the Mac to run faster.

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1. Check the memory

The amount of free memory is displayed in the menu bar. Click it to open this panel that shows the memory usage in detail. The large figure at the top is the important one.

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2. Load some apps

As you open app after app, the amount of free memory falls. Click the menu bar item to open the panel and check the amount of memory left. It has fallen to just 18.3MB.

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3. Clear the memory

Click the Clean Memory button at the bottom and the amount of free memory increases enormously. This could be useful, for example if you wanted to run a very large app.

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4. Help with memory

Memory in the Mac is used in many different ways and if you find the information in the Memory Clean panel confusing, there are brief explanations of each type. Click the ? button.

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5. Access the menu

Click the gear in the Memory Clean panel or Ctrl-click the menu bar display to access the menu. There is a Quit option at the bottom, but ignore that and click Preferences.

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6. Configure the options

There are several useful options and the first one automatically starts Memory Clean when the Mac starts. Turn on the third and fourth options to keep the app on the screen.

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7. Undock Memory Clean

Close the Preferences and click the down arrow in Memory Clean’s window. Drag it and drop it anywhere you like on the screen. It is useful if you want it permanently visible.

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8. Set Auto Clean

Return to Preferences and select Advanced. Turn on Auto Clean, set the Threshold Level, which is when automatic cleanup is triggered. Try it on and off to see which is best.

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9. Triggering a clean up

When memory dips below the threshold, the memory indicator in the menu bar turns red and this triggers an automatic cleanup if the option is set in the Advanced Preferences.

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