Ok, so my Mac got a virus, two days later I came home and noticed a screen saying "your computer shut down because of a problem" and then stuff in (I'm pretty sure they were there) different languages. Apparently this is a kernel panic. So anyways, I got rid of the virus and thought everything was good, except the computer was very slow, so after a lot of Apple Support, I decided to wipe the hard drive, reinstalled OS X. By the way, I have macOS Sierra.

Anyways, problem is better but not fixed, at the moment I have Stickies, Safari, and Activity Monitor open. Here's a pic:

Is this normal..?

enter image description here

I am pretty sure, that using 5.92GB with 3 programs open is weird. Please help!

  • Besides the fact that you've noticed 5.92GB RAM is listed as being used, have you noticed any problems whatsoever since the reformat and reinstalling macOS? – Monomeeth Sep 29 '16 at 23:09
  • No, however it's slower than usually, by quite a bit – HXGamer Sep 29 '16 at 23:24
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    You really need to provide more details. For starters, tell us about your hardware (year, model, HDD or SSD, etc). Also, were you running macOS Sierra before all the problems started, or did you only install it after the reformat? And, when you say it's running slower than usual, explain how (give some examples). Finally, how much free space is left on your drive? – Monomeeth Sep 29 '16 at 23:36
  • ![enter image description here](i.stack.imgur.com/XJM8o.png) Here are my Mac specs. Also, those programs I have no clue what they are, but I've added them up before and it's only around a GB or more. Also my Mac has been having worse performance than it's usual performance – HXGamer Sep 29 '16 at 23:42
  • Can you post a pic of the CPU? – norcal johnny Sep 30 '16 at 0:59

I see dozens (if not hundreds) of programs open. You may only have three that you are actively using, but there are dozens running in the background doing all sorts of things from indexing for Spotlight to watching for new software updates.

RAM being used is not a bad thing, especially when you have so much free (per your screenshot). You paid for it as part of your computer; why wouldn't you want to use it?

Apple's support article states that unless the graph to the left is showing red (or, to a lesser degree, yellow) that you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Given that your RAM usage is not particularly high, the sluggishness is likely coming from elsewhere. Even if you just look at pure numbers (which is absolutely not the way to read RAM information), you still have over a gigabyte of free RAM and zero swap-file usage.


Okay, having taken a closer look at your screenshot it appears that spotlight is indexing your drive.

Depending on the size of the drive, Spotlight indexing might take a day or two if you have a lot of files. This is because it makes a database of all these files so you can find them easily later.

This process should be a one time event, although doing a reformat/install like you have will trigger it again as you've wiped the drive.

This almost certainly is causing your computer to be sluggish. After indexing is complete, things should return to normal.

  • How did you you come to that conclusion? I'm assuming you're looking at the Spotlight program listing? The actual program that indexes content is mds_stores. Spotlight is just the GUI part of it. And neither are using any significant amount of resources in the grand scheme of things. – tubedogg Sep 30 '16 at 3:07
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    @tubedogg You are right - I saw the listing for the metadata server and jumped to a conclusion on the basis of the OP's issue around sluggishness. I shouldn't have made that leap or assumption, my bad. HXGamer, can you look at the Spotlight icon in the upper right corner of your menubar, and see if the Spotlight magnifying glass has a dot in the centre? If so it is indexing (although it could have finished by now). – Monomeeth Sep 30 '16 at 3:30
  • There’s no mdimport or mds using RAM so it can’t be spotlight at this moment. I’ll put up an answer saying this explicitly - memory is set here - no point in speculating - a new question covering CPU or a specific app is the best path forward for the OP. – bmike Sep 6 '18 at 18:26

Your memory looks great. Every bit of memory should be used to cache files and code and program data. Everything in your activity monitor image looks great and correct.

If you have slowness, no need won’t to look at memory until it’s in the red. Yellow lets you know you’re getting closer to red but still doesn’t slow down the system to swap. You’re safely in the green.

Now that ram is set aside as a potential cause, for your performance question - you’ll want to look at things like network and CPU to be sure you don’t have a resource constraint before measuring the specific timings of specific applications to see what changes you make affect the performance.

The cpu tab is where you’ll want to look now that you know the ram numbers are not weird and at in fact correct and normal.

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