There are some questions I receive so regularly, I have to write multiple guides for them.

Choosing the right unified memory for your M2 Mac is, clearly, one of them. So, forgive me if I sound like a broken record, but I genuinely want to ensure you buy the right Mac.

The emergence of the M2 Mac mini has raised the question of “how much memory should I get for my new Mac” once more. And I can see why.

If we put the M2 Pro Mac mini to one side, there are three memory upgrades available for the M2 Mac mini – 8GB, 16GB, or 24GB (a new option that wasn’t present for the M1 Mac mini).

I’m firmly of the belief that the 8GB and 16GB variants represent the sweet spot for most users. Equally, I understand that choosing between them is pretty tricky unless you know exactly how much memory you need (which most ‘normal’ users don’t).

Let’s figure it out.

My experience with 8GB

I’ve got a lot of Macs – seven at the last count. This comes with the territory when you’re a tech reviewer who focuses predominantly on Apple stuff.

However, while counting through those Macs for this article, I realised something – three of those Macs are running with just 8GB of unified memory and all of them have been put to considerable use behind the scenes.

Before Apple silicon, this wouldn’t have been the case; I’d have specced up what would have been Intel-based Macs with as much memory as possible.

Thankfully, we’re living in a very different world now.

One of the reasons I invest in base spec Macs is to offer buying guidance from the ‘bottom rung’ of the ladder. But I also opt for the 8GB variants because I simply don’t need anything more.

I don’t undertake video or audio production on these machines (although they’ll do that, in a pinch) – instead, I use them as everyday Macs. Writing, email, web browsing, some gentle image manipulation in Lightroom and Photoshop – nothing outlandish, but every task is essential for my business.

They never murmur. I’ve never witnessed an out-of-memory message. They all feel super fast and as though they have far more than 8GB of memory to play with.

As I say – we’re living in different times.

Who should buy the 8GB M2 Mac mini?

Despite Apple silicon changing the game when it comes to how much memory one needs, you should still focus your budget on additional memory – if you can afford it.

However, in the world of the M2 chip and its questionable base model storage configuration (if you weren’t aware, Apple is essentially using slower storage chips than those found in M1 Macs), there’s an argument to say that you should focus some of that budget on upgrading the internal storage, too.

Despite this, if you’re not a heavy-duty creative user and you’re going to use your M2 Mac mini for the general tasks I mentioned earlier, you have far less to worry about.

If you can afford the £200/$200 upgrade to 16GB – go for it. You’ll have more headroom than you need, but you’ll also gain that all-important peace of mind and a smidgen more longevity.

If you can’t afford anything above the 8GB M2 Mac mini base model, don’t sweat it – you will still love the computer that arrives on your desk, trust me.

Is the 16GB M2 Mac mini a better choice?

The 16GB M2 Mac mini feels like the sweet spot for most budgets. The £200 upgrade isn’t too much to ask for an incredibly capable Mac, and you’ll still end up paying well below £1,000 overall.

This nets you a brilliant computer. I produced over 80 4K videos for my YouTube channel on a 16GB M1 Mac mini. I never heard the fan, and if I wasn’t reviewing Apple products (and therefore didn’t feel the need to buy a 16-inch M1 Max MacBook Pro) I could still get away with using it today.

Unless you know what you’re doing with your memory, you won’t touch that 16GB capacity – but you’ll know it’s there, and for some people, that’s all that matters.

I still receive a tonne of questions each week from people who ask whether or not they should add the 16GB unified memory upgrade for their Mac mini. It’s obvious they have the money available, and they’ll use words like “longevity” and phrases such as “resale value”. Basically, they’ve already made up their minds (they just need that gentle nudge).

If you’re at all unsure, but you’re concerned about buyer’s remorse – get that 16GB upgrade.

The third (new) option: 24GB

Ooh, this is new, Tim!

The 24GB option for unified memory was introduced alongside the M2 chip in 2022. Back then, that configuration was only available for the new MacBook Air and old 13” MacBook Pro, but M2 Mac mini buyers can also tick that box in 2023.

This is an odd one. It’s a very specific amount of memory, and one that hasn’t typically been an option in the past; you’d simply jump from 16GB to 32GB.

Thankfully, there’s a simple answer to this – if you know you need 24GB of unified memory, you know you need that much memory. If that’s you – go for it.

If you’re unsure, I’d divert any extra budget you have after upgrading to 16GB to extra storage, instead. Equally, if you just want 24GB to ensure you have the most capable M2 Mac mini available before breaking into M2 Pro Mac mini territory – go for it.

This is pretty simple really, isn’t it?


Apple offers its own guidance on choosing the right memory for your M2 Mac mini.

“Your Mac mini comes as standard with 8GB of memory,” they tell buyers on the configuration page, before explaining that 8GB is “more than enough for the things you do every day and for running multiple applications at once.”

Why step beyond that? Well, if you want to undertake “bigger tasks” such as “editing high-resolution images”, you can add up to 24GB of unified memory. More memory, we’re told, results in the ability to run more apps simultaneously with a “higher rate of performance”.

I’d respectfully disagree with the latter. The law of diminishing returns enters the fray far earlier in the land of Apple silicon. As I’ve noted throughout this guide, unless you know exactly what you’re doing with your unified memory, you’ll never be forced to think about it once you start using your chosen Mac.

I hope this buying guide has helped, but I appreciate you may have lingering questions. If so, please ask them below!

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