Is it Worth Upgrading the RAM on an iMac?


When you first get your new iMac, it’s fast, efficient, and ready to take on anything you throw its way. But as time goes on and you start to use it more and more for things like video editing, gaming, or design work, you may start to notice that it’s not quite as snappy as it used to be. One of the best ways to speed up your iMac (short of buying a new one) is to upgrade the RAM. Here’s everything you need to know about upgrading your iMac’s RAM.

What is RAM?

RAM stands for “random access memory.” It’s essentially the short-term memory of your computer, where information is stored while you’re working on it. The more RAM you have, the more information your computer can store and the faster it can access that information. For most users, 4GB of RAM is plenty. However, if you’re using resource-intensive programs or working with large files, you may want to consider upgrading to 8GB or even 16GB of RAM.

Factors you should consider before upgrading the RAM

We all know that computers can be expensive, so it’s important to make sure that we’re getting the most bang for our buck. When it comes to iMacs, one question that we often get is whether or not it’s worth upgrading the RAM. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the factors you should consider before making a decision.

How Much RAM Do You Currently Have?

One of the first things you’ll want to do is figure out how much RAM you currently have. If you’re not sure, there are a few ways to find out. The first is to click on the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner of your screen and then choose About This Mac. From there, you’ll be able to see how much memory your iMac has.

Another way to find out is to open up Activity Monitor (you can do this by hitting Command + Spacebar and then typing “Activity Monitor” into the Spotlight search bar). Once Activity Monitor is open, click on the Memory tab and then take a look at the number next to “Used.” This will tell you how much RAM is currently being used on your system.

How Much RAM Do You Need?

The next thing you need to consider is how much RAM you need. This will depend on several factors, such as what type of tasks you use your iMac for daily and whether or not you tend to have multiple applications open at the same time.

Our recommendation for RAM

In general, we recommend having at least 8GB of RAM if you want your iMac to be able to handle most tasks without any issue. If you find that you’re constantly having to force quit applications or if you notice that your computer is running slowly when you have multiple applications open, then upgrading to 16GB or even 32GB of RAM may be worth considering. It’s also worth noting that if you plan on using memory-intensive applications like video editing software or virtual reality, additional RAM will be necessary.

How Do You Upgrade Your iMac’s RAM?

Upgrading the RAM in your iMac is pretty simple.

Just follow these steps:

  • Shut down your iMac and unplug all the cables.
  • Flip it over so the bottom is facing up and find the access panel. On newer models, this will be on the back near the display; on older models, it will be on the bottom near the hinge.
  • Remove the access panel and set it aside. You should now see the RAM slots.
  • Carefully remove the old RAM modules from their slots and discard them or set them aside for future use elsewhere.
  • Check your new RAM modules to make sure they are correctly configured for your iMac model (DDR3 for most models released after mid-2011; DDR2 for most models released before mid-2011). If they are not correctly configured, they will not fit in the slots properly and could damage your iMac.
  • Insert the new RAM modules into their slots making sure they are firmly seated and properly configured.’
  • Replace the access panel and screw it back into place.’
  • Reconnect all the cables and power on your iMac.’
  • Check System Preferences > About This Mac > More Info > Memory to make sure the new modules are recognized.

Alternatively, get in touch with a technician who does Mac upgrades.


If you find that your once speedy iMac has started to slow down, upgrading the RAM is a great way to give it a boost without spending a lot of money on a new computer. Adding more RAM can help improve overall performance and make resource-intensive tasks like video editing or gaming run more smoothly.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...