I recently bought a MacBook Pro Intel Core i7 with 8GB DDR3.

By monitoring with htop I notice that my RAM usage sometimes goes up to 7GB, with only Google Chrome, a few iTerms a text editor and app store.

After running $ purge my RAM usage goes back to 2GB. I found myself typing this command multiple times a day.

htop doesn't seems to show the reason, as the application that most memory consumes it's App Store, with only 3%.

I read a few posts about this and that's where I found the purge solution, but is there a better approach?

Will the Mavericks update fix this?

  • 3
    You should read this first. You may not have any problem. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/67031/…
    – Mattie
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 13:12
  • 1
    As a general rule, this is not Windows. Don't try to "optimize" your OS. OS X is doing everything for you. Unless you are absolutely shure what you are doing and really understand what is behind what action(I'd suggest reading "OS X Internals" written by Amit Singh), you should not mess with commands like "purge".
    – napcae
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 13:15
  • I come from a GNU/Linux background. In that land I used to setup preload to cache applications for faster startups and I'm okay with that, but as described below, my MacBook Pro becomes slow and animations are not smooth anymore. That's what I'm upset for.
    – jviotti
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


Any memory usage that you can get rid of with purge is, by definition, not a leak.

OS X has always tended to use memory for its disk cache, and newer version have become fairly good at keeping memory busy with caching when not used actively by programs. When a program uses that memory for computation, the amount used for the disk cache is used correspondingly.

Why do you think it’s bad that your memory is used? Unless you’re seeing performance degradation, it tends to be a feature to effectively use your installed RAM.

ETA: What @zigg said above.

  • 1
    When RAM usage is about 7GB my Mac starts to become slow and animations are not smooth anymore. Is there a way to limit the percentage of memory that OS X will use for caching so at least I lower it down a bit?
    – jviotti
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 13:16

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