I am having a hard time with my MacBook pro 13 M1 with 8 GB of RAM. I bought it a year ago, and for the past few months, I have been experiencing slowness.

What drives me crazy is that I can't locate what the problem is. My usual load is something like: 30 tabs on Firefox or Edge (but not both) + Notion + Preview + Zoom + Spotify + NordVPN + Bitdefender

It is my first Macbook, but I can't believe this number of apps causes the problem! I visited an apple store, and the guy there was useless. I tried to restore the mac OS using "Erase All Contents and Settings" from the menu bar of System Preferences, but the problem persists.

Is it the problem that 8GB of RAM on the M1 chip is not enough?

  • I would certainly test removing the VPN and Bitdefender.
    – benwiggy
    Aug 4, 2022 at 17:55
  • I tested these two and still same orange memory pressure :| Aug 4, 2022 at 18:03
  • One small workaround might be to use a browser plug-in such as Auto Tab Discard that unloads browser tabs you're not looking at, reloading them as needed when you switch back to them. Disadvantage: takes a bit longer when switching to an old tab; advantage: takes significantly less memory.
    – gidds
    Aug 4, 2022 at 20:32
  • @gidds Thank you for the suggestion. I think this will be very useful Aug 7, 2022 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


First thing to check is Memory Pressure in Activity Monitor [Applications/Utilities] If it's green you should be fine, orange or red & you need to quit something or close some browser tabs.

8GB is easy to choke these days.

Also check how full your drive is - Disk Utility is good for that. Depending on drive size you need 10-15% free space at all times, but more than that if it's a tiny drive, 128GB.

A periodic reboot can fresh things up a bit.

Also note, all avtiviruses can drag on a system a bit. AV-TEST (about the closest thing to an actual authority on the subject) shows Bitdefender as being about the slowest at the moment.

  • Thank you for the suggestion. The memory pressure is always orange and sometimes red. For the storage, I have 145 GB free of my 256 GB drive. For the Bitdefender, I wouldn't call it the slowest where it has 5.5/6 points where 6 is outstanding and 3 is satisfactory. Right? Aug 4, 2022 at 18:02

8Gb of RAM is the minimum that Apple offers. Mac laptops first came with 8Gb in 2009; most MacBook Pros have come with 16 Gb for the last 10 years. Arguably, it's not enough for anything except light email/browsing/Office-type usage.

The "OS" is likely to need around 4Gb just to operate. (WindowServer, Finder, all the other processes...)

You'll be able to see in Activity Monitor what each app's usage is. It's likely that Notion is going to use at least 1 Gb; if you've got lots of images or PDFs open in Preview, that could use 1 Gb or more; 30 tabs in a browser are a lot of data. So, yes, you'll be hitting 8Gb or more.

Having said that, the M1s do have a reputation for dealing with swap (RAM data that 'spills over' onto the disk) very quickly.

macOS is designed to use as much RAM as possible; so it will try to fill whatever you have. (For instance, I have 32Gb RAM in my MBP, and the OS fills the unused space with cached files.)

Right or wrong, these days, you have to buy the Mac with the RAM and storage that you need for its life; more is always better.

  • Thank you for your answer. So it seems I gotta get a new macbook now Aug 7, 2022 at 23:17
  • @AhmedElashry It may be possible to see what's eating the most memory, and curb its usage in some way. Perhaps have fewer tabs open; fewer documents in Preview. Presumably you're not using Spotify while also on Zoom calls?
    – benwiggy
    Aug 8, 2022 at 21:20

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