How to Upgrade RAM In a Mac? – Step by Step Guide

When your Mac starts slowing down, upgrading RAM in your Mac can help greatly to improve efficiency and performance. It gets annoying when you have to wait for things to process.

A RAM upgrade can make a significant impact on your MAC’s performance, and it allows you to run different programs at a time. 

In this guide, we have covered each and every aspect that might trouble, so you don’t need to worry. Read the article carefully so that you don’t miss any important point.

Here is the topic that we will cover this guide:

  • Updating RAM and Risks
  • In What Mac Models I can Do RAM Updates?
  • How To Find The Model Of Your Mac: 
  • How Much RAM have I Consumed? 
  • How Much RAM Should I Upgrade? 
  • Reliable Source To Purchase RAM
  • Things To Do Before Upgrading RAM
  • How to Update RAM of Different Mac Models
  • What Should I do After Replacing My RAM?

Now, let’s start with a guide. 

Updating RAM and Risks

RAM is a temporary memory used by the CPU to hold information which generally stores information actively used by the processes of the system. Basically, RAM stands from Random Access Memory.

Updating RAM

It stores data about processes while you are running them.

So, Why should you update your RAM? You see, when your computer gets sluggish and starts giving poor performance, RAM upgrade is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to prevent this problem. 

But, if you have a new Mac computer, there might be no need for upgrading RAM. It is possible, but this option is not suggested. We have mentioned below a few risks that you may encounter while upgrading your Mac’s RAM.

A RAM Upgrade Can Damage Your Mac’s Warranty

As a rule, RAM is deemed a user-operable component, and your warranty would not be invalidated by updating it. 

RAM Upgrade

Although, on certain new Macs – Mac Laptops, in particular, Apple may state that the customer can not remove the memory ( RAM) and only an Apple Authorized Service Provider will do so if the RAM needs to be changed. 

In this regard, it is worth trying the “user-service” manual of your Mac to validate this. Of course, you don’t need to think about invalidating something if the Mac is out of warranty.

Some Damage Could Be Done by You

You are likely to damage vulnerable electronic components in your Mac if you do not take adequate antistatic measures (which we shall discuss later).

If you work diligently and obey the instructions you will go well, but you do so at your own risk because if you destroy the motherboard or other similar problems, no one would be responsible.

In What Mac Models I Can Do RAM Updates?

iMac Mid-2017 Benchmarks Performance Comparison: EveryMac.com

It might not be great news for you because there is certain Mac’s model in which you cannot do RAM updates. In this section, we will clear your several confusion and misconceptions. 

There are models which allow you RAM upgrade but there are also models which do not. Recently, especially MacBook Pro and MacBook Air have the RAM soldered on.

This makes the upgrade or removal of RAM nearly impossible and risky.

We have mentioned below a few models which allow you RAM upgrade, but, we would mention it here also, that doing it yourself includes risk and you are responsible for any damage. 

Moreover, we have discussed in detail how you can update RAM in some of these models, but let’s first take a look at RAM upgradable and not upgradable models.

  • MacBook: 2008-2011 models
  • MacBook Pro: 2008-2012 15in, 2009-2012 13in, and any 17in model can be updated. The RAM cannot be updated if your Mac has Retina display. 
  • MacBook Air: No Macbook Air version includes RAM upgrade.
  • Mac mini: Models from 2010 to 2012 can be upgraded and 2018 Mac mini as well. 
  • iMac: Majority of iMac allows RAM upgrade, except 21.5in models from Mid-2014 and Late 2015.
  • iMac Pro: RAM upgrade is not available, in case you wish a RAM upgrade, you are advised to contact Apple Authorized Service Provider.
  • Mac Pro: All models include RAM upgrade.

How To Find The Model Of Your Mac?

It is important that you get aware of your RAM model before you go for RAM shopping. This might be confusing because most of Mac’s model looks identical, therefore, look for the exact model.

Find The Model Of Your Mac

macOS makes it easy for you, How? Navigate to Apple Menu, then click on About This Mac. You can see your Mac name at the top of the information on the resulting Overview tab.

Each tab displays the amount of storage that you have installed. You can always receive the exact model ID for your unit in order to prevent mistakes. You need to select the System Report option to do so.

Check for theModel Identifier field in the Hardware Overview section. It’s going to be like MacBook 6, 1. This is important to consider when buying a new RAM.

How Much RAM have I Consumed? 

Before you decide to buy new RAM, there are two things to understand, 

  1. How much RAM do you already have?
  2. How much RAM have you used? 

How Much RAM Do I Already Have?

The Macs ship today has no less than 8 GB of RAM; 16 GB of RAM is also normal.

Much RAM

For a long time, Apple has been offering Macs for something less, but you will still get 4 GB of RAM whether you have a 2015 MacBook Air or 2014 Mac Mini.

Even older Macs are even more ram-free. iMacs and MacBook Pro have provided 8 GB or more for a long time, on the other hand.

The first thing you need to know is how much RAM you already have, to know this follow the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Navigate to the Apple Menu on the top left corner for your screen.
  2. Then click on “About This Mac”
  3. There you will select System Report
  4. Now, look for the memory section in the Hardware overview, here you can know about how much RAM you have inside your Mac.
  5. You can click on Memory if you want to know further details. 

How Much RAM Have I Used?

How Much RAM Have I Used? 

Now, you need to know how much RAM you have used yet. One of the best ways to know this is by using Peak Usage. Follow the following steps to continue:

  1. Press Command+Space simultaneously to open your Mac’s Activity Monitor and typing Activity.
  2. Click on Memory Tab.
  3. Now, take a look at the Memory Used bottom section. 

With the following steps, you will be able to know how much memory you have consumed. This will help you determine what RAM you should consider buying. 

How Much RAM Should I Upgrade? 

Now, if you have reached this section, you must have already identified if your Mac includes RAM upgrade or not.

In general, any person without video editing or running several virtual machines would most probably need 16 GB. But now, a better query, maybe, how much you are going to be needed in future?

For Mac’s future-proofing core concept, the new hardware is strong enough to fulfil the expected increase in device specifications over the coming years. And it’s still easier to have a bit more than you need.

We would advise you to know how much RAM you need before you buy a new Mac. Because build-to-orders are also available and you can already have the RAM of your choice instead of upgrading it later. 

Reliable Source To Purchase RAM

There are many reliable dealers from where you can buy a RAM:

Apple Itself

Talking about Mac’s RAM upgrade, it would be foolish to suggest Apple contact first in case of a problem. The first and most trusted source for you to buy RAM is Apple itself.

Apple Itself

But, considering this option, you should also know that this is the most expensive option among all. You also have many aftermarket options available, who’s RAM quality is reasonably good and budget-friendly.

But we would not go for this option. As of now, Apple Store does not include a section for RAM, therefore, you can buy it from Apple US or Apple UK.

Here you can search for the RAM you need i.e 16 GB or 32 GB.

Below is the list of RAMs that company sells currently or there may be some update while you are reading the article: 

Note: If you look carefully at the description of the product, it does not tell which Mac model it is compatible with. Therefore, you must be very careful while purchasing the RAM.

And as we have mentioned previously, your best option to buy RAM is when you go to buy your new Mac. 

Also Read: 3 Ways to Run Windows on Your Mac! (Easy Steps to follow!)

Reliable Aftermarket Seller

This is our preferred approach: purchasing your RAM from a trustworthy seller.

Some places are possible to buy RAM online, just like any many products, well-established, well-known businesses with assurances and policies are the best choice. 

Many brands have stood the test of time in the field of Apple aftermarket products. Here are our preferred sources to get the purchase done. Crucial,  OWC (via Megamac) and MacUpgrades,

Certified Redeveloped

RAM updated by Apple or other organizations (presumably approved by Apple) is also named ‘certified.’ Redeveloped RAMs are far less popular than revamped Macs, say, but they do exist.

mac ram

Certified refurbishments are also backed by a guarantee, but sometimes less than the Apple warranties.

Buying Secondhand

We usually don’t suggest this, though. Alright, this is typically the cheapest way. It is often the most insecure, as sometimes there is no guarantee, nor is there a return.

You might save hundreds or eventually spend money on anything not functioning. There are several options to shop from second hand – but eBay is undoubtedly the undisputed leader when it comes to competition.

Things To Do Before Upgrading RAM

Things To Do Before Upgrading RAM

Nowadays RAM upgrades have become simpler and easier. However, you still need to extremely careful and diligent while handling sensitive electronic component and entering your Mac

This is aimed at preventing any damage resulting from static power. This will happen anytime you strike an item that conducts electricity to you at another electrical charge.

Take the following steps to avoid any mishap.

  • Shutdown your system first and wait for the inner components to cool for at least 10 minutes. 
  • Making sure that you carry your RAM before you need it in its antistatic packaging. Contact a non-paints surface on your computer, when you are ready to continue, to remove some static in your body. Seek to remain as stationary as possible in your workplace and avoid any plastic sacks or other items that can affect static build-up. 
  • Keep your Mac connected, but not turned on. It will help to ensure that the situation is grounded, reducing the probability of discharge. To really minimize charges, the hardcore should start utilizing an anti-static wrist or heel strap. But, this is not necessary
  • Assure that the tiny notch cut into the face of golden contacts refers to the protrusion in the reception bay while replacing the Ram. This must slide in, jigsaw-like assembled properly – when positioned wrongly, the protrusion stops the RAM from connecting perfectly.

How to Update RAM of Different Mac Models?

In this section, we will discuss in detail how you can update RAM in several Mac models.

How to Update RAM of Different Mac Models

Here are the models that we will cover in this section, so you can directly jump to your one. 

  1. MacBook Pro
  2. iMac
  3. Mac Mini
  4. Mac Pro
  5. Mac Pro Tower

Upgrading RAM of Your MacBook Pro

After the Retina display was introduced, it was almost difficult to update your Mac laptop – whether MacBook or MacBook Air. The update would be difficult or, more possibly, impossible if it is your own Mac. 

Upgrading RAM of Your MacBook Pro

However, you should be able to update your RAM if your MacBook Pro was originally purchased before 2012.

A broader collection of upgradable MacBooks is:

  • Mac book: 2008 to 2011
  • MacBook Pro: 2009 to 2012-13, 2008 to 2012-15, and 17 model

Models developed before 2012 are fairly simple to upgrade, although the Air, Pro and initial MacBook version have some noticeable structural variations.

Take the following measures to get this job done properly:

  1. Shutdown your system first and wait for the internal components to cool for at least 10 minutes. 
  2. Then you will remove the bottom of the case when measuring all of the screws (the lengths of the screws are 10 and then you have to attach them to the correct positions on an A4 sheet of paper).
  3. To continue further, you need to remove any remaining electricity you could have carried and you should touch something metal.
  4. The actual RAM will be visible to you. Take it away by pressing the levers on both sides. Locate the notches before the memory is removed, press the handle again if you can not find them. Disable the memory (keep it on the sides to make sure you don’t hit a gold plug). 
  5. You have to get the gold side up to install the fresh RAM aligned on the board, with the memory hole. Insert the RAM in. 
  6. To settle it in place, you need to push down the memory.
  7. Replace the bottom of the case with your numbered screws now ( you must have taken care of them!!)

Upgrading RAM of Your iMac

Changing the RAM of the iMac is better than updating its other components at least in the case of the 27 in model-since it typically does not include removing a display. 

Upgrading RAM of Your iMac

The RAM is much easier to upgrade on an iMac of 27in than on the iMac 21:5 because of the easy memory access door in the 27in version, located at the centre below the panel – which provides RAM access.

In any case, it’s easy to upgrade the RAM, just make sure that you buy the right RAM and then you’re ready to execute the steps:

The RAM may, however, be a little more challenging to update on the 21.5in iMac and, due to being soldered into the place, it is impossible to upgrade in many generations (especially Mid-2014 or Late 2015 models). 

Luckily, in recent years Apple has avoided soldering RAM. Updates for 21.5in iMacs are now possible. But, we advise the user to consult an Apple Authorized Service Provider than doing it yourself.

The list of upgradable RAM of iMacs’ are:

  • iMac Pro: RAM upgrade is not available, in case you wish a RAM upgrade, you are advised to contact Apple Authorized Service Provider.
  • 21.5in iMac: Majority of iMac allows RAM upgrade, except 21.5in models from Mid-2014 and Late 2015.
  • 27in iMac: RAM upgrade is available 

Here are the steps that you need to follow to get this job done properly. This is for 27in iMac

  1. To protect your Mac’s screen, but the iMac flatscreen on a soft cloth or surface i.e towel or blanket. This will help in preventing scratches to the back of your screen. 
  2. Push and select the memory hatch door above it on the tiny button at the top of the power socket. You can do this with your fingertips. 
  3. Try not to use something to unlock the door because you might damage your Device. Ask someone from your friends or family member with bigger fingernails to help you out. To unlock this panel, you don’t have to press too hard.
  4. You can also see Apple ‘s stock iMacs with the two 4 GB ram DIMMs. The company shows how to fit the RAM on the back of the hatch door. 
  5. Then take out the arms to raise the slots for iMac RAM. 
  6. In the available space, connect the two fresh DIMMs. Current memory chips don’t need to be replaced until you connect four additional 8 GB DIMMs to the existing 32 GB capacity. 
  7. Push the tiny levers back to hold the DIMMs flat down. 
  8. Restore the door so it is clicked back on. For this, no long fingernail is needed.

Here are the steps to upgrade the RAM of your 21.5in iMac. You can follow the same procedure for all iMacs 21.5 except the models of 2014 and 2015.

  1. To protect your Mac’s screen, but the iMac flatscreen on a soft cloth or surface i.e towel or blanket. This will help in preventing scratches to the back of your screen. 
  2. Push the tab gently to eject the module on the RAM’s space side.
  3. Drag and lower the RAM module in the space out of its slot. To extract RAM modules from other locations, repeat this process. 
  4. Ensure the right orientation of RAM replacement modules and move them softly into the iMac. Using your thumb for mounting is advised.

Upgrading RAM of Your iMac Pro

This may seem in most ways to be the same external design, but the iMac Pro doesn’t have the same open hatch as the iMac, so you can’t update the RAM on your own.  

Upgrading RAM of Your iMac Pro

But, the good news is that RAM upgrades are now available, all you have to do is to go to the service provider and request them a RAM upgrade.

And you don’t even need to go to the Apple Authorized Service Provider, this can be done in an independent outlet as well.

Upgrading RAM of Your Mac Mini

The Mac mini has been really easy to update systems until late 2014. Only unscrew the plastic base off and two RAM pop-up slots are available for you to add new RAMs.

Upgrading RAM of Your Mac Mini

If you have one of these models it is likely to have 4 GB of RAM, since this is the typical Apple problem. Unfortunately, Mac mini 2014 removed its predecessor’s manual update feature.

Only at the point of sale could update, then it would have been necessary to upgrade 4 GB to either 8 GB at £90/$100 or 16 GB at £270/$300. Both the two latest models have 8 GB of RAM, which can be doubled to 16 GB then.

In the following years of the Mac mini, it wasn’t ‘RAM update compliant’ and there were a great number of variables in the internal configuration of the specific versions.

Often the components on the logic board will be unplugged, which may end poorly if you are not responsible. 

Good news is that improvements made to Apple’s Mac Mini in 2018 make it more upgradable, but Apple suggests that updating by an Authorized Service Provider should be considered.

Up to 64 GB of RAM can be used in this version.

The list of upgradable Mac minis are:

  • 2010-2012 Mac mini – RAM upgrade is available 
  • 2018 Mac mini – Although it is not user-upgradable, things can get done through an Authorized Service Provider.

As per the model you already own, you’ll possibly need a flat tool to cut the top cover.

Don’t let you interrupt it, though – in 6 minutes, US fellow Members managed to achieve it, but it’s a really old variant of a Mac mini. 

Here are the steps that you need to take to get this job done properly, ( for 2010 to 2012 models):

  1. Shutdown your system first and wait for the internal components to cool.
  2. Place your Mac Mini in a position where you can see the bottom cover. To open the cover, turn anti-clockwise. 
  3. It would pop out by pressing the cover. 
  4. Remove the existing RAMs, before you can take out the clips, you must erase the clips from either end of the memories. 
  5. Now the latest memory can be mounted. 
  6. Reset the cover-align the dots to the locked place so you can put it back in position.

Upgrading Your Mac Pro RAM

How to upgrade memory on your mid-2012 or earlier Mac Pro | iMore

The Mac Pro is the most innovative device in Apple. Even the Mac Pro 2013 model had a memory bay, but it was a little tricky to enable.

Apple’s new Mac Pro, released at the end of 2019, only user updates are available for RAM.

Before we start with the steps of replacing RAM, you must keep in mind that memory latches are not sturdy enough and they might bend if you are not careful.

For this purpose, Apple provides a comprehensive guide about memory upgrade, simply go to Apply and click on “About this Mac” then select the Memory tab and the instructions for memory upgrade will be shown on your screen. 

Here are your steps to upgrade the RAM in Mac Pro: 

  1. Drag the lock to the right, move the external case up and off Mac Pro at the unlocking place. 
  2. In the direction of a white arrow, move up the RAM release tab. The RAM slots are then released out and you can use the modules. 
  3. Grab the RAM top and bottom and drag it with soft hands out of the slot. 
  4. The new module(s) must be mounted and properly directed, then the bottom and top of the RAM must be pushed to ensure proper mounting.
  5. Lastly, you will push the memory tray back into the Mac, replace and then lock the case.

Upgrading Mac Pro Tower (pre-2012) 

Apple takes the new Mac Pro back to the future in a classic tower ...

Here are your steps to upgrade the RAM in Mac Pro Tower:

  1. Lift the locking lever on the case back such that the side panel is opened and cover the side panel. 
  2. Orientate the RAM tray in Mac Pro’s lower corner. 
  3. Push the ejectors downwards on either side of the RAM stick back at the same time; that will free the RAM. Take the stick out cautiously. 
  4. Confirm that the new RAM stick mounts properly, now push the stick down with both hands gently while equally putting force on all ends of the stick.    
  5. Select the ejectors and you can feel the stick click. Confirm if both ejectors are protected.

What Should I do After Replacing My RAM?

How To Install RAM | Digital Trends

Once you are done with replacing/upgrading your Mac’s memory, it is a smart idea to run a memory test to check if the RAM is working properly on your new module.

Why do you need to do this? There are several cases, where RAM is not up to the standards and often people are provided with defected pieces.

Therefore, a memory test helps you vanish all the confusion and doubts about the piece of RAM you bought. 

How can you do that? Well, there are many software programs that you can download to perform memory tests. But it is not necessary when you already have one built in your Mac.

Restart your Mac to boot while holding the D key and you will be taken to the diagnostic wizard. You will have an option such as “Hardware Test”, this may vary depending on your model of Mac.

Here you will find the option of memory test, select it and apply memory test on your Mac RAM. 

Packing Up!!

In this guide, we have provided you with all the essential details about Mac’s RAM you should be aware of. We have included reliable sources where you can buy Mac’s RAM and also advised you what you should do before and after replacing RAM. 

Make sure that you have read the guide carefully, and we are hopeful we have answered all queries and included everything you need to know. Moreover, we have tried our best to tell you about all the upgradable Mac models.

If this guide does not include your model, you can contact us, we will try to help you out. 

Lastly, we would just like to mention again that you must be aware of your RAM’s model and consult Apple’s Authorized Service Provider if you face some problem. 

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