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Why Android phones need 3GB of RAM and iOS gets by with 1GB of the stuff

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Why Android phones need 3GB of RAM and iOS gets by with 1GB of the stuff
One of the great mysteries of life, right up there with Stonehenge and the JFK Assassination, is how an iPhone can run so smoothly on 1GB of RAM while Android handsets need at least 2GB, or 3GB of the sweet stuff, to run just as smoothly. According to Quora, a website that answers your questions, the difference has to with the fact that Android apps use Java.

Along with the use of Java comes a process called garbage collection. Once an Android user closes an app, the garbage collection process recycles the memory. The problem is that the garbage collectors require four to eight times the memory that it is using in order for the job to be done quickly. If the required amount of memory is not available, things slow down. Because iOS does not use these garbage collectors, Apple can get away with putting 1GB of RAM in the iPhone, and match or surpass the performance of Android phones. 

So this should clear up one of those mysteries that have you scratching your head every now and then. And just in case you are curious, the answer was posted on Quora by a Glyn Williams, who received 2700 upvotes for his response.

Garbage collectors are fast if they have enough memory

Garbage collectors are fast if they have enough memory


source: Quora via RedmondPie

270 Comments
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posted on 16 Nov 2014, 07:59 63

1. aBoss (Posts: 110; Member since: 15 Sep 2014)


lollipop can run on devices with 512mb of ram smoothly.

Apple is just smarter and can sell devices with 1gb ram, dual core, 8MP for $1000 to the masses

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:23 24

8. Ziggy (Posts: 79; Member since: 03 Oct 2014)


Thanks for pointing out that one of the most important and newest updates of the android platform finally fixed this issue.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:24 6

10. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 408; Member since: 24 May 2011)


i dont really care if my device has 1 gb 2 gb or 3 gb ram as long as it works without hiccups, which apple devices do. Only fault about low ram apple devices is you cant open too many tabs at once in the browser which is freaking annoying..

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:27 21

15. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


It's a shame my 6 Plus that has 1GB of RAM can totally blow the G3, Z3 and even the M8 out of the water in terms of performance since everyone wants to claim how the Plus is so terrible.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:30 27

17. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1485; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)


That's exactly what I thought. Kit Kat is optimized to run even on 512mb ram. So that means google actually found a solution? And Moto E and G were pretty smooth with a GB of ram.(personal experience).

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:31 30

22. haikallp (Posts: 239; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Ehh, I don't think so.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:35 13

25. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Lmao facts are facts buddy. My 6 plus runs laps around all three phones, especially the G3.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:36 8

26. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1485; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)


IPhones are great actually. I consider them as one of the best(though I really wish for 2GB ram).

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:37 2

27. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


This x100.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:39 7

29. shamashu9 (Posts: 142; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


How many months before the kit kat on 512mb lags, big time?

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:39 4

30. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1485; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)


It's obvious isn't it? They have one of the best processor out there in the market and they are light OS and optimized very good. And for the weak performance of latest android flagship is because of lazy Qualcomm. They are really slow. They should have already released snapdragon 810 by now but they didn't.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:41 8

32. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1485; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)


Well i can't tell on 512mb ram because I didn't used any vanilla Android with 512mb ram. But more E & G doesn't lag. I can assure you that.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:42 12

34. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Not a single hint of lag is present on the Moto G. The X flies through everything.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:44 3

36. frederick333123 (Posts: 76; Member since: 15 Jun 2013)


2 gb on an iPhone could be a game changer like it is on iPad Air 2... :)

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:44 1

37. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


If the N4 had a 810 I would have had my friend who works for AT&T hold one for me and be at the doors as soon as they open. Partially the reason why I skipped it (for now) was because I wanted to try something different. There isn't a WP on AT&T (besides the 1520) that I'd try.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:45 2

38. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Don't know if trolling or serious.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:48 15

42. UnlimitedSkye03 (Posts: 130; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)


Oh.. Can your 6plus do real multitasking or tons of tabs on browser around 5-10 or so without any hiccups? Just wondering..

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 08:52 3

46. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


You know the answer. the only phones that come close to matching the 6 Plus but not entirely are the N4, Moto X PE and N6.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:00 2

52. frederick333123 (Posts: 76; Member since: 15 Jun 2013)


serious bro...

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:01 35

55. techperson211 (Posts: 1280; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


The reason why they have enough ram android that is, is because they have true multi tasking feature and the latter is just a phone who barely launch apps, also a lot of Android phone that have 512mb runs in kitkat smoothly, the reason why android flagship phones have 2-3gb ram, again they have "true multi tasking"

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:04 1

57. techperson211 (Posts: 1280; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


Seriously trolling??

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:12 13

61. tgom222 (Posts: 30; Member since: 08 Jul 2012)


My iPhone 5s does not run without hiccups. Freaking text message app crashes or locks up all the time. Especially since iOS 8. Things were pretty good on iOS 7.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:26 6

64. UglyFrank (Posts: 1825; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


This article is a lie, my iPad Air force closes all the time.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:31 11

66. EC112987 (Posts: 935; Member since: 10 Nov 2014)


Agreed my daughters motoG runs very smoothly, even when playing games.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:37

70. EC112987 (Posts: 935; Member since: 10 Nov 2014)


Im not to educated on device speed or all the technical stuff but i own both a M8 and IP6 and both devices are awesome. Only reason I'm getting the nexus is because of the screen size. Personally the iPhone for me is a lot better for work stuff like email organization and calendar.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:47 1

73. funtikar (Posts: 21; Member since: 05 May 2012)


exactly what @techperson211 pointed out... the extra ram is to accomodate the true multi tasking..and multitab browsing ofcourse..

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:48 4

74. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1236; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


Yup. exactly like how u run laps around around a fence...lol!

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:49

75. funtikar (Posts: 21; Member since: 05 May 2012)


they are great...but among the best is an overstatement thats what you guys are trying to say... amirite?

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 09:54 1

76. TimCook (banned) (Posts: 450; Member since: 23 Oct 2014)


Lol dude, who said Lollipop can run smooth on 512mb ram?
As far as I know some reviewers said the nexus 9 is lagy and many apps take a lot of time to load,

You can run Android on a core i7 processor and is still gonna lag, that's because android is coded in a bad way.

posted on 16 Nov 2014, 10:16 4

79. Shubham412302 (Posts: 441; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


in my brothers old galaxy s only 200mb ram is used in idle in cm11

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