Why iOS with Less RAM Perform Better than Android Devices?

Why iOS with Less RAM Perform Better than Android Devices?


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Why iOS with Less RAM Perform Better than Android Devices?

Carrie Tsai December 17, 2019

Why iOS with Less RAM Perform Better than Android Devices?

By Carrie Tsai,  Last Updated: December 17, 2019

Even today, there are endless fights for the comparison between iOS devices and Android devices. People constantly make comparisons of the two to find which is better for their needs. When it comes to the iOS vs. Android fight, if you notice attentively, you"ll find that iOS devices mainly iPhones perform well with limited RAM. Moreover, they work a lot  smoother and faster than any Android powered flagship mobiles with the same amount of RAM and even lesser.

Why? Why iPhone and other iOS devices can outperform any Android devices? Just keep reading.

iOS vs Android Devices


Part 1. iOS Devices vs Android Devices: the amount of RAM

Part 2.  Why iOS Devices with Less RAM Perform Better than Android?

Part 1. iOS Devices vs Android Devices: the amount of RAM

Prior to the analysis of how iOS devices require less RAM than Android, let's make a comparison of the amount of RAM between the main iOS devices -iphones and some of the top-of-the-line flagship Android phones this year.


One thing which should be highlighted here is that we're talking about Random Access Memory(RAM) instead of storage space. Random Access Memory is the memory used by the CPU to hold and execute apps.

Random Access Memory

iOS Devices


Android Devices/Huawei

Android Devices/Samsung

Android Devices


iPhone 11: 4GB

iPhone 11 Pro: 4GB

iPhone 11 Pro Max: 4GB

iPhone XR: 3GB

Huawei P30 Pro: 8GB

Huawei Mate30: 8GB

Huawei Nova6: 8GB

SG S10: 8/10GB

SG Note10: 12GB

SG Fold: 12GB

LG V40 ThinQ: 6GB

LG V35 ThinQ: 6GB

LG G8 ThinQ: 6GB

As the above information indicates, the main iOS mobiles iPhones always own less RAM than the comparatively equivalent Android mobiles. The most prevailing iPhone mobiles in 2019 ship with only 4GB of RAM while the equivalent Android powered flagship phones have 6GB, 8GB, 10GB and even 12GB.

If you compare iphone 11 Pro(4GB RAM) with Huawei P30 Pro(8GB RAM), you will find no difference in performance. Or perhaps you will notice that iPhone 11 Pro works even better. Now get back to the original question to be answered: why iOS mobile iPhone owning less RAM can perform better than Android mobiles? Take you time and continue to read.

Part 2. Why iOS Devices with Less RAM Perform Better than Android?

Beyond the exploration of why iOS mobiles perform better than Android mobiles with less RAM, two things should be found out. One is why Android devices require more RAM. The other is how iOS devices requiring less RAM still perform better.

Why Android devices require more RAM

1. Garbage collection

The Android operating system is involved with a method named Garbage Collection which requires more memory. Android always allows apps to use as much RAM as they pursue. Therefore, when Garbage collector works, it scans continuously and clean up the data in RAM that are no longer being used and release them, giving other apps the freedom to utilize them.

The method will take effect when there are a number of RAM to play with. Otherwise, that will be an expensive and wasteful process which not only wastes a lot of time but also slows down the operation speed of the device. More memory allocated than necessary is awful for devices with limited memory capacity.

2. Virtual Machines

Unlike Apple iOS, Android is not specially optimized to support its own configurations. It's designed to be compatible with different processors, different hardware configurations and different manufacturers. As a result, apps compiled for one system is incompatible with and cannot work on another unless they are rewritten.

To solve this, Android uses a platform called Java on which its apps can run. Java is superb for apps' successful running on Android OS due to its virtual machine. If you want to run an app on Android, you can easily realize your expectation by writing an app in Java whose virtual machine will translate the code at running time to enable the app to work on whatever system it's on.

However, it is an expensive process which requires so much memory. On the one hand, Java is a complex platform whose own management uses a lot of RAM. On the other hand, keeping the original Java code and the recompiled code that actually works on the system also requires as much memory as possible.

Java Victual Machine Running Process

How iOS devices with less RAM perform better than Android

1. No "Garbage Collection" and "Victual Machine"

Unlike Android devices, iOS devices don't make use of Garbage collection which require a number of RAM. And unlike Android, iOS of Apple is particularly manufactured by Apple's own cooperative partners and designed to run on its own hardware. Thus, there is no need for iOS to run Java platform which cause more memory to be used.

2. Proper Approach to RAM Management

Another reason why the iOS devices with less RAM run better than Android devices roots in its proper management of RAM. While managing RAM, iOS allows apps to retain specific memory for functioning and reopening when the apps enter the second unit. While in Android system, Android manages RAM by itself, which makes apps use RAM on a piece-by-piece basis and in turn no memory is reserved.

More RAM doesn't necessarily mean better performance

More memory refers to smoother and faster performance? The answer is not definite. If one mobile device owns 8GB RAM but with poor management, it cannot outperform any 4GB RAM device with excellent RAM management. That is, proper RAM management is effective for better performance.

iOS Perform Better than Android

3. Proper Approach to App Management

Proper management of apps is another factor which attributes to iOS devices's better performance with less RAM than Android's. When it comes to app management, Android grants much more freedom to app developers than iOS. It allows developers to run processes more freely, which makes it easy to lead to memory leaks and the manipulation of background processes.

By contrast, iOS doesn't give app developers a lot of freedom. It even makes an amount of limitations such as removing any processes when there is no need for them to run.

4. User Interface

Another factor which affects the performance comparison between iOS and Android lies in the different threads of execution they use on user interface. In iOS, its app threads are separated by priority in real-time, which enables iOS devices run smoother. However, in the case of Android, everything happens in the main thread with normal priority. That means apps running on Android can hog the processor resources and hurt UI interactions, resulting in obvious lag and delay.


Now the answer to why iOS devices with less RAM outperform Android devices is clear. And it's true that Android devices do require more RAM. Thus, larger amount of RAM doesn't necessarily mean better performance.

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About Author

Carrie Tsai is part of team Neway and is always actively to share her ideas of Neway. She enthusiastically dives each day into the depths of the mobile interconnection industry waiting for new cool stuff to be shared with you and her team.


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