How much RAM for using VoiceOver on a Macbook Pro, 4GB or 8GB?

Hardware & Accessories

Hello everyone. I was looking for your opinions on the speed of a Mackbook Pro mid 2013 running the latest software with voice Alex is compared to the same model with 8 GBs of ram.
Let me know your experiences with both.
Thank you.



Submitted by Travis Roth on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

As a general rule for computers, including Macs, buy as much RAM as you can afford.

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Even with 8GB, when I'm running Windows in a VM my Mac can get somewhat laggy. If you're planning on doing any virtualizing, I'd say absolutely no less than 8 GB. Side note - I'm ludicrously happy with my Mac's performance in all other regards.

Submitted by Becca on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hello. I'm not planning on running Windows or anything like that, but the response for apps is very slow. The response of VO is slow as well, especially when restarting and turning on the Mack.
Any thoughts on this?
Thank you.

Submitted by Maanling on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I'm running a 2012 MacBook pro. I got it 5 months ago. Has a 500gb hdd and 4gb ram. I run voiceover, edit video's with imovie and do the general things a moderate computer user would do and have no issues. It takes a couple minutes to startup and restart, but i dont see that as an issue. Its just something you need to be patient for. If you want startup at the click of your fingers, then get more ram. Otherwise you just need to be patient.

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Adding to the above comment - a solid-state drive versus a spinning hard drive will also dramatically increase start up times. Which do you have - SSD or HDD?

Submitted by Becca on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The startup thing is annoying, but I can deal with that. The startup of apps is annoying. How do you feel about this? And which voice do you think is the most responsive?

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Easy way to tell what drive you have - when you start up, do you hear it spinning and clicking, or is it virtually silent? If the former, it's HDD. If the latter, it's SSD.

If you have a hard disk drive (HDD), I don't know how much that would affect app start-up time. So I can't say whether your experience is typical, or if there's something wrong. I can say with relative certainty that with either 4 or 8 GB of RAM, a MacBook with a solid-state hard drive should be pretty snappy when opening apps unless there's a ton of stuff already open.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

If you can afford it, get 8 GB of RAM. It will be faster in the long run, and you will probably find your MacBook Pro will last longer. Also, you are saying that your Mac is sluggish with 4 GB. This will almost certainly be resolved if you choose to get 8 GB of RAM.

Submitted by Tim Sniffen on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

If your 2013 MacBook Pro is the non-retina 13 inch model with an internal DVD drive (which Apple calls a Super Drive), then it has a standard hard drive unless it was customized when it was ordered. All other 2013 MacBook Pros come with SSDs.

4 gigs is fine for running standard Mac applications with VoiceOver. VoiceOver is not memory intensive. You will benefit from the memory upgrade if you are running Windows in a virtual machine, running your browser with more than 5 open tabs (especially tabs running media), or compiling audio or video files in programs such as Audacity, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Garage Band or Logic.

Submitted by Becca on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In reply to by Tim Sniffen

Hello everyone. Thank you for the feedback. Will it say if the Mackbook has a retina display in about this Mack? And I don't use windows, iMovie, or any of that stuff. So I should be fine with 4 gb.
Thank you for everything.

Submitted by MarkSARCH on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hi Becca
regarding to your question
4 GB Ram or 8 GB with Voiceover on Mackbook
the answer definitely will be 8GB
however only think about over the time all machine is getting less responsible with updates and became slower
one advice from my part is more ram is equal to more performance of course come to help more details as processor and solid/ state drive
you can check what kind of storage drive your Mac has
open apple menu
select about this Mac
press fn VO left arrow to go at the top
interact with the toolbar
do VO right arrow and
press VO spacebar on storage
stop interact
and do VO right arrow
you will see what kind of storage drive you Mac include.

Submitted by Mohammad Aldalain on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I recommend replacing your spinning HDD with SSD. I replaced friend's HDD with SSD and here're some actual differences:
The startup time decreased from one minute to 15 seconds.
No heat whatsoever, opposite to what has been there with the HDD.
Less weight, of course not more than 70G but it is actually there.
Longer battery.
Much much much faster copying and pasting and even installation of OS.
Quieter, as SSD's do not have mechanical parts inside the enclosure.
Overall, I think replacing HDD with SSD is better than upgrading RAM. I read that in many forums where they compared the performance of Macs upgraded to higher RAM with other Macs of the same specs but with lower RAM, the results were not that noticeable.

Submitted by Becca on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hi. How would I go about upgrading the HDD to an SDD?
Thank you.

Submitted by Becca on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hi everyone. A few things:
First, when I first installed the OS the performance was much, much faster. Like at the snap of your fingers. I'm wondering if this has to do with VO or not.
Samantha Compact is on my system at the moment, but which voice do you feel is the most responsive with this new update?
Thank you.

Submitted by Becca on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hi everyone. I'm sorry but my original post stated that my mack was a mid 2013 but it actually is a mid 2012. I hope that this doesn't effect anything big.
Thank you for your comments.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Becca,

Based on what I've read thus far, I'm guessing your computer is the MacBook Pro from 2012 with a conventional hard drive. To know for sure, the MacBook Pro's from 2012 have a CD drive on the right side of the's a long slot on the right side where you can fit a compact disc into.

If you're able to upgrade to 8gb of ram, that might improve performance. Another option you could try is to reinstall the operating system and start over from scratch...but that would mean you would lose all of your data, apps, etc. and need to reinstall/reconfigure everything. (Contacts, etc. stored in iCloud would not be affected, to the best of my knowledge.)

As far as upgrading your computer's hard drive...unless you're familiar with how to do that or can find someone to do it for you, it isn't anything I would recommend doing.

Submitted by Becca on Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hi. I'm reinstalling the software as I am typing this. The thing is, when the OS was first installed, the performance was great! After installing apps such as microscoft word, google drive, that slowed down the computer. I only have native apps on the computer except Night Owl and Dropbox. I have reinstalled the OS several times.
Thank you so much.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Thursday, December 31, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Becca,

If you have tried reinstalling the OS and are still having performance issues, upgrading the ram would probably be the next step to try.

Submitted by Becca on Thursday, December 31, 2015

In reply to by Michael Hansen

Hello everyone. I'm happy to report that I've fixed the problem. I called Apple last night and I did a clean install of the OS, as well as erased my disk.
Thank you for all of your help.
Have a happy New Year!!

Submitted by david s on Monday, January 4, 2016


I’m glad you found a solution to your problem. But be aware you will encounter this issue again as you accumulate more apps and files on the hard drive.

Personally, I suggest you stay with 4GB and upgrade to a SSD. What a lot of folks do not talk about is cache. Whether you have 4GB or 8GB of RAM, your Mac will need to write data to the hard drive when there is no more RAM to write to. This is called cache. With the standard hard drive, reading and writing to the cache slow things down. The platters in the drive spins faster or slower to access the much needed data. These are also the same platters you hear when you turn on your mac or launch an app. A SSD works about 8 to 10 times faster than a standard hard drive. Reading or writing to a cache on a SSD is much faster thus there is less latency. This is also why starting your Mac or launching an app is much faster.

If your mac is out of warranty or Apple care, you can either pay a computer shop familiar with macs to do it for you or have a friend handy with tools do it for you. If you’re curious, go to and check out their videos on SSD vs. hard drives as well as videos on how to replace the drive or add more RAM. With my wife coaching and the video playing in the background, I replaced the drive on my MBP in about 30 mins. A local shop wanted to charge me 100 to install the drive and the OS plus the cost of the drive.

HTH and good luck.