RAM or random access memory plays an important role within the Mac.
It helps act as short-term memory where data is stored instantly. This is then optimized based on what the processor requires to function throughout the usage period.
A common misconception is to associate RAM with a MAC’s hard drive. These are two different things with differing responsibilities.
Along the same lines, you are going to wonder, can you use an external hard drive as RAM for a Mac?
You cannot use an external hard drive as RAM for a Mac. The hard drive is used as storage, which is not the same as RAM within a computer. The RAM is solely responsible for short-term memory, which cannot be managed using an external hard drive.
It’s easy to get the two things mixed up.
Most people will assume since data can be stored on an external hard drive, it can act as RAM within the Mac. This is untrue and it is not something that will work as you want it to.
This guide will explain a few tips on how to increase RAM for a Mac even if you can’t do it using an external hard drive.
How To Increase RAM For Mac
1. Check The Activity Monitor
The desire to increase the RAM in a Mac is common.
Many users feel their performance begins to wane as time goes on. This is due to the amount of pressure that’s exerted on a device such as this and how important it becomes to do things the right way.
Your best option is to check the activity monitor.
You will want to make sure there is a reason to increase the RAM in a Mac before doing anything else. In some cases, you will not and it might be more of a luxury than anything else.
So, how do you go about checking the RAM in your Mac?
You will want to open Spotlight Search (Command + Space), Type in Activity Monitor, and click the Memory tab on the top.
Check the Memory Pressure graph to see how the device is performing. If it is green, you do not need RAM. If it is not, this might be a sign the RAM is getting pushed to the limit and perhaps an upgrade is needed moving forward.
2. Check For Available Slots In Your Mac
Next, you are going to see whether or not it is possible to upgrade the RAM in your Mac.
Some models will not allow for this as there will be no additional space for RAM to be added. This is why many users prefer spending additional funds when buying the Mac because it’s fitted into the slots beforehand based on how customized you want it to be.
Now that you can’t do that, it’s time to see what’s available on your Mac.
To check the available slots, you will have to click the Apple icon, click “About This Mac”, click System Report, and click Memory on the left.
This will showcase everything about the memory including the available “Banks”. If all of them are taken then you don’t have an additional spot. If not, you can add RAM.
3. Purchase Compatible RAM for Your Mac
Let’s assume a bank is open.
You are going to want to look for compatible RAM that is going to suit your Mac. Most tech stores will sell these upgradeable RAM solutions and it comes down to finding the one that works with your model.
Always make sure to verify what you are using and go with a verified seller.
4. Restart The Mac
Once you have inserted the RAM into the bank, it is time to restart the Mac.
This will reset everything.
You can always go back and take a look at the memory to see whether or not the RAM has been read. This can be done by clicking the apple logo on top, clicking About This Mac, clicking System Report, and then clicking Memory on the left.
Can you use an external hard drive as RAM for Macs?
You cannot use an external hard drive as RAM for Macs. External hard drives act as storage and do not offer short-term memory solutions. RAM is solely responsible for short-term memory, which means it can only be done through specialized sticks that are designed to be added to the bank inside the computer.
Take your time to see whether or not you need it for your computer. This information can be found through the Mac itself.
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