Why Android needs more ram than ios?

We see more and more android smartphones coming with increased amount of ram these days. With 4GB ram becoming standard for the industry, flagships are opting for 6-8GB for their high-end variants. That is not the case with ios devices. The highest amount Apple has ever put on their phone is 3GB. So what’s with OEM’s putting so much ram in android devices? But the real question is do we actually really need so much ram in our smartphones? Does android needs more ram than ios? That we shall discuss in this article in detail.

What is RAM? And why we need it?

RAM is short for Random Access Memory. This is special type of memory and comes in play only when you open some app. Ram is closely coupled with processor and whatever app is on your screen copies the useful files it needs to run to the ram for fast access by the processor. The main reason for putting ram in any device is cause the storage memory is very slow compared to the ram. For fast processing there is another fast memory on processor called cache, but that is a topic for another day.


Do note that other than apps you launch , the operating system processes also require ram. These processes will take some ram and you have no control over it. So that brigs us to the next question?

How much ram is necessary?

Now we know why ram is important, we must discuss how much minimum ram we need to get things done. It is noted that after a fresh boot android(0reo) uses around 1320mb of ram , whereas ios uses 1380mb. These values are close enough, that we can’t decide anything yet for our main query. So, now rest of the ram that is available is used for the apps you try to launch. When you go on launching more and more apps, that available ram gets used up and at one point there is no room for another app to open. Now you would say that “My phone never warned me about this and I can open as many apps as I want”. That is true but that’s OS does it’s work. Different operating systems have different approach to handle this situation. That brings us to the next topic.

available ram

ios free ram

How OS manages available ram?

Ever noticed, in the multitasking tray, the most recent apps you launched starts from where you left them and the ones that you did not used a while ago gets reloaded from the start? That’s the work of your operating system.

In android when the available ram gets used up and you still try to launch another new app, it first uses a technique called “compressed swapping” to create more available ram. If there is still not any room for the new app, it then deletes the app from the ram that you did not used for  quite some time, and creates room for new app to launch. How much apps it deletes depends on the ram requirement of the app you want to launch. The way OS decides which app to delete, it considers some important factors like how much you use an app, how frequently you use an app, which apps you use more than others? All these things combined along with some algorithms help android clear an app from the memory.

android multitasking

On the other hand ios has same approach, it kills the app when it does not find any room for new app to launch. But ios does this rarely compared to android. In testing it is found that ios reduces the resident set size of the app in the memory to much lower values. For example, Subwaysurfer uses around 250mb of ram when used, when in background if needed ios reduces this to 100mb, even 10mb. But when you again go back to it, it is able to start from where you left it. That is something very impressive. How ios does it? No one knows as ios is closed source and they will never share this trick of theirs with the world.

ios multitasking


Now coming back to our main question of this topic. Does android needs more ram than ios ? It is pretty much clear at this point. YES!

As our smartphone usage is increasing and we are using more and apps simultaneously, to run everything smoothly android needs more ram than ios. That is the only solution till android does not find a way around like ios. That is why we see new android flagships coming with more and more ram.

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