Do you really need more than 16 GB of RAM in a MacBook Pro?

MacBook Pro with two 5K displays
MacBook Pro with two 5K displays (Image credit: iMore)

Absolutely, some people need more than 16 GB of RAM (random access memory). Some people, by virtue of their professions, would benefit from as much RAM as the computer is capable of using — 32 GB, 64 GB, stack it on! But not every "pro" is in the same profession and not every "pro" has the same needs.

Jonathan Zdziarski, writing on his blog:

Apple's latest MacBook Pro line is limited to 16GB due to energy (and likely heat) constraints, and that's gotten a lot of people complaining that it simply isn't enough for "real pros". Ironically, many of the people saying that don't quite fall into what many others would consider a "real pro" themselves; at least based on the target demographic of Apple's "pro" line, which has traditionally been geared toward working professionals such as photographers, producers, engineers, and the like (not managers and bloggers). But even so, let's take a look at what it takes to really pin your MacBook Pro's memory, from a "professional's" perspective.I fired up a bunch of apps and projects (more than I'd ever work on at one time) in every app I could possibly think of on my MacBook Pro. These included apps you'd find professional photographers, designers, software engineers, penetration testers, reverse engineers, and other types running – and I ran them all at once, and switched between them, making "professionally-type-stuff" happen as I go.

The list of apps he ran includes multiple virtual machines, multiple Adobe apps, Xcode, Office, and much, much more. And he, for his use case, was not only fine, but laughing.

Thanks to memory compression in macOS and the ludicrously fast SSD on the MacBook Pro 2016, what RAM there is goes farther and swaps quicker than ever before, meaning 16 GB will fit more workflows than ever before.

The whole article is worth a read, especially the update and the conclusion.

You may very well be someone who really needs more than 16 GB of RAM, and have a justifiable beef with Apple over not providing you with that option in a MacBook Pro, but you might also be surprised just how much you can do with the 16 GB, memory compression, and ultra-fast SSD in the new MacBook Pro.

If you're sure, rage on and I hope Apple is listening. If you're not, try the 16 GB and let me know your results.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.