Gear

How to Replace RAM in a Apple MacBook

Have you had your Mac for a while? Have you noticed you get more “spinning beachballs” lately now that you are doing more with your Mac? Do apps seem to launch slower or does it take longer to accomplish tasks within certain applications? You may need more RAM. Most Macs these days come stock with at least 8GB of RAM. This is the case for standard Macbooks. Luckily, Apple has given people the option to upgrade their RAM memory in an easy way. In this guide, we will show you can upgrade the RAM in your MacBook to increase the performance of your laptop. You can easily get 2 years more use out of the same laptop just by upgrading the Random Access Memory.


RAM (Random Access Memory) is a memory that your computer uses to store app information and documents on. Your machine is constantly swapping items in and out of memory. However, if you run out of RAM memory then Mac OS X will create a temporary file on your hard drive to store the information it is using to run the application or document. This way it can free up RAM for processes you are actually using. But of course, if you run lots of apps simultaneously or run large intensive apps like Photoshop often and you have a relatively low amount of RAM then your Mac will have to perform this process much more often. So, of course, this can slow down the speed of operation for your apps.

Thankfully replacing RAM in most machines, especially MacBooks, is a very simple process. Furthermore, the market price of RAM has really come down in recent years so it is fairly easy to purchase enough RAM to max out your system and give you the most computing power possible. A 2GB stick of RAM costs around $22 these days. I am going to show you how to do just that.

Choose the Right Type and Right Amount of RAM

The first step is to choose and purchase the correct type and amount of RAM. Most high-quality vendors will be able to scan your system to determine what is the right amount for you. Or if you like you can simply search for your MacBook on the vendor’s site and find it that way. As for which vendor to use, that is up to you however remember that Macs can be more picky about RAM than PCs. It is best to go with a well-known vendor rather than some bargain-basement dealer that may not sell quality products. Some of the best vendors to use are Crucial, Edge Tech, or Other World Computing. There are doubtless many other quality vendors out there on the net as well. Just do a little research!

The vendor site can also give you information on how much RAM your MacBook can take. Apple’s site can also give you that information. There is one other bit of information that is vital. Macbooks have two RAM slots and they must be loaded with MATCHED PAIRS. You can not have one 1GB stick and then a 512K stick. You must have two of a kind.

Now On With the Show

So you have your RAM and you are ready to load up your Macbook. The first thing to do is to make a good full backup of your Macbook. If you have an external hard drive or a really large capacity iPod then you can easily do this. It is always a good idea to backup anytime you are going to monkey with your Macbook’s innards, even when it is something as simple as a RAM upgrade.

Start by completely shutting down your Macbook, disconnecting the power source and any peripherals. Turn the MacBook over so that it’s bottom is facing upward. You will see a small round screw that is about the size of a dime. Use a coin to turn this and the battery cover will be released. BE CAREFUL: SOME OF THE MACBOOK’S INTERNAL COMPONENTS COULD BE HOT. Remove the cover and lift out the battery. You will now see an L-bracket around the edge of the battery compartment.

RAM Macbook

Using a small Philips screwdriver (P-0 works best) remove the small screws that hold the L-Bracket. Put them in a safe place. You do not want to lose any of them. Now gently pull the L-Bracket out. It may take some wiggling to get it loose. Once it is out you will see the two RAM slots.

You will see a lever on each slot which we will use to eject the RAM sticks. Start by touching something metal within the MacBook in order to discharge static electricity. Now take one of the levers with your thumb and index finger and with a smooth swift motion move the lever to the left and then release it. This will eject the RAM. Do the same for the other slot. Take your new RAM sticks and stick one in each slot (remember they must be matching pairs). Push them securely in place with your thumbs. The levers should return to their original position.

Also check: How to Upgrade ram in your MacBook Pro

Finishing Up

Now just follow these steps in reverse order to replace the L-bracket and the battery. Reattach the cover and use the coin to retighten the outer screw for the battery cover. Power up your Macbook as usual. Once it has booted into OS X go up to the Apple pull-down menu in the toolbar and select “About This Mac”. You will then see your new RAM amount listed and you should notice your MacBook is much snappier when using multiple applications.

I hope this tutorial has been useful to you and I wish you good luck as you upgrade your Macbook.

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