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How many apps can OS X run with 16GB of RAM?

Posted by Lou TarDisk on 2017-04-11

Many people have been ranting about how the new MacBook Pro is limited to 16GB, but do we need more space than that? Well, maybe working professionals such as photographers and engineers do! That’s why Jonathan Zdziarski, Apple user, decided to put the 16GB “Pro” myth to test.

 “Pro”, huh?

To start off, Zdziarski opened a bunch of apps and projects on his MacBook, including apps that professional workers would use.

Here’s the full list of everything he ran at once:

  • VMwarei Fusion: Threerunning virtual machines (Windows 10, macOS Sierra, Debian Linux)
  • Adobe Photoshop CC: Four1+gb 36 MP professional, multi-layer photos
  • Adobe InDesign CC: A 22 page photography-intensive project
  • Adobe Bridge CC: Browsing a folder with 163GB photos (307 images total)
  • DxO Optics Pro: (Pro-photography workflow software) Editing a folder of images
  • Xcode: Fiveproduction Objective-C projects, all cleaned and rebuilt
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: A slide deck presentation
  • Microsoft Word: Fifteendifferent chapters (separate .doc files) from my last book
  • Microsoft Excel: A single workbook
  • MachOView: Analyzing a daemon binary
  • Mozilla FireFox: Four different websites, each in a separate window
  • Safari: Elevendifferent websites, each in a separate window
  • Preview: ThreePDF books, including one very graphic intensive book
  • Hopper Disassembler: Performing an analysis on a binary
  • WireShark: Performing a live network capture as he does all of this
  • IDA Pro 64-bit: Analyzing a 64-bit intel binary
  • Apple Mail: Viewing four mailboxes
  • Tweetbot: Reading all the flames and trolls in his mentions
  • iBooks: Currently viewing an ebook he paid for
  • Skype: Logged in and idling
  • Terminal: A few sessions idling
  • iTunes
  • Little Flocker
  • Little Snitch
  • OverSight
  • Finder
  • Messages
  • FaceTime
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Photos
  • Veracrypt
  • Activity Monitor
  • Path Finder
  • Console
  • Probably a lot he might have missed

The result? Zdziarski claims he ran out of things to do before even running out of RAM. He only made it to 14.5GB before the system decided to start paging out. See the picture below:

I think it’s very clear now that we shouldn’t complain so much about the limited 16GB of the new MacBook Pro, given that it takes a lot of work to burn up 16GB of RAM. So yes, the MacBook Pro can run many “pro” apps without even reaching the 16GB limit.


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