Why iPhone Needs Less RAM than Android

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with 16GB of RAM, while many mid-range Android smartphones already have 8GB RAM. In the meantime, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has only 6GB of RAM, while the regular iPhone 13 with only 4GB of RAM. Even so, the iPhone 13 with its high-performance Bionix processor easily outpaces many Android smartphones, including those with a lot more RAM. RAM or random-access memory stores information temporarily while your smartphone is turned on. It’s high-speed storage that intermediates your internal storage and processor. You need more RAM if have many apps and services running in the background. This means, that if you have more RAM, you can keep more apps running in the background, which will benefit your productivity because you can switch between apps almost instantly.

More RAM doesn’t give you better performance, it simply makes your computing devices more responsive during multi-tasking operations. If your smartphone runs out of RAM, it will start to close apps to give enough free RAM for your newly-opened app. This means, your smartphone will need to juggle between multiple apps if you continue to open new ones. Before understanding how Android and iOS handle RAM, you should know they are designed and built differently. iOS runs on relatively homogenous chipsets, while Android must operate on a wide variety of hardware configurations. Android needs to talk to processors, GPU, and other modules made by different manufacturers. On the other hand, any code written for iOS can be processed directly by Bionix processors without needing any translation task.

Popular chipsets for Android devices are made by Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, Huawei, and others. This makes it impossible to ensure full compatibility because there are differences in how these hardware sets communicate and operate. Android apps are written in Java or Kotlin, which must be translated into a specific low-level language that different chipsets can understand. This means it takes more time and resources to execute Android apps. It isn’t necessary to store code and data in RAM, while they are being translated for the processor. This means iOS devices can easily operate on less RAM. Also, there are differences in how Android and iOS manage RAM. Android uses a memory management technique known as garbage collection. In this case, Android constantly looks for code or objects in RAM that is no longer in use, so they can be removed to free up RAM.

On the other hand, iOS uses ARC, or automatic reference counting, which assigns objects or codes based on the number of references by other objects. When the number of references has reached zero, the object will be removed from RAM. While Android periodically scans RAM for unused codes or objects, there are moments when unused codes will remain in RAM. By contrast, any object that’s no longer used by other objects will be immediately removed from RAM. This means iOS can operate smoothly with less RAM because it removes unnecessary objects instantly.

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