Can you run macOS Big Sur with 8GB RAM?

I’m currently running with two different MAC setups in our house a late 2015 5k iMac and a 2016 MacBook, both have 8GB RAM. I’ve also been doing a lot with photos lately and been running into memory limitations and slow performance using the app to manage a large library (>30,000 photos). This already had me thinking about moving the iMac to 16GB RAM but with the impending Big Sur update I’ve done a little testing to see what it runs like on 8GB RAM and the MacBook to see it it’ll be a required upgrade before the software comes to us in November (my best guess).

I’ve had Big Sur running on the MacBook that has a 1.1 Core M3 processor and 8GB RAM and whilst I’m surprised that it doesn’t run much slower than the current latest Catalina build (10.15.6) I am seeing lag in using Photos, Notes and Mail that has me thinking that the UI changes are heavier on the CPU and GPU than before. Given my iMac is much more powerful than this little MacBook it gives me some confidence it’ll run but with the UI changing all over the place I’m hesitant to upgrade any of my setups software wise. It does seem to be more graphics intensive than Catalina so the graphics card will have a big say in this but adding more memory will mean that with multiple applications in use and photo sync in the background the experience will be a lot nicer.

Unfortunately I don’t have a choice with the MacBook as I can’t upgrade it but anything where you can add RAM I’d recommend adding some and making sure you have at least 16GB RAM to run Big Sur.

With this in mind I’ll be ordering more memory for my iMac before release to make sure I am getting the best performance I can in day to day use, especially in these times of more working from home.

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