Software

How to monitor and tune macOS RAM operation using Memory Clean 3

Memory is a critical performance-impacting resource. Using Memory Clean 3, you can easily monitor and tweak macOS memory operation. Here's how it works.

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Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

Most macOS users know memory is required to power open applications and underlying processes. Run too low on memory, and the computer's performance suffers noticeably; webpages take longer to load, files take longer to render, processes require more time to complete, processes can freeze, and programs can abruptly crash.

While macOS typically allocates memory well depending upon the tasks being executed at any given time, FIPLAB Limited's Memory Clean 3 simplifies monitoring active memory, while also helping free memory dedicated to inactive and no longer needed operations.

The compact utility displays, both graphically and numerically, metrics to better assist users in understanding how a Mac's memory is being used. For example, when the application is running, Memory Clean 3's macOS menu bar widget displays the amount of memory currently free. Users can click the corresponding menu bar field to open the application, which subsequently displays memory allocation using a color-coordinated graph as well as a table (Figure A).

Figure A

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App, Available, Compressed, File Cache, Used, and Wired memory are all displayed. Clicking the app's handy question mark symbol provides ready access to a quick reminder of which memory categories collect which information. Meanwhile, the program also lists active applications consuming large amounts of memory (the Memory Hogs) and programs that are open and consuming memory but inactive (the Inactive Apps). Further, the Clean and Extreme Clean buttons permit users to perform basic or extensive purging of memory processes. In tests I used the Clean and Extreme Clean options to free significant memory, sometimes up to 50%, with no discernible complications.

Just knowing how much free memory was available helped me better manage my Mac's operations. Whenever my Mac's available memory dropped below 2 GB, I found myself closing applications I'd opened earlier but was no longer using and no longer required. You can configure the program to automatically perform cleaning operations when specific thresholds are reached, too.

With preferences set accordingly, Memory Clean 3 will also prompt you with alerts to remind you that an application that was open earlier but is now inactive is needlessly consuming memory (Figure B).

Figure B

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I set the program to run automatically at startup, which is easy—you just open the program, click its gear icon to access the application's preferences, and check the box for Start At Login. You can also choose to automatically clean memory after a memory-hogging app is closed and display notifications confirming how much memory was freed, as well as adjust the thresholds for when apps should be marked inactive, among other options.

With multiple themes, including Dark Mode, and the ability to specify programs that should be ignored by the utility, at $9.99 Memory Clean 3 has become a trusted utility I use daily. My Mac performs more efficiently throughout each business day, as a result.

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About Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

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