PrettyWings

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 3, 2016
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Hey all,

I am still not quite sure about this, as there have been a few comparison videos so far and things weren't clear from those. is there really no noticeable difference at this point between the experience of having an 8 GB model vs a 16 GB model, except for storage?
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
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16GB RAM means heavy apps can retain in the Ram longer, or many more light apps for that matter. Since apple hasn’t been convinced to incorporate professional app (at least in their “beloved” creativity industry) yet, you will hardly notice any huge difference other than much fewer app reloads. The fact is, no matter how fast SSD is, it will still be loaded much slower than from RAM.
 
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LogicalApex

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Nov 13, 2015
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878
PA, USA
That’s correct.

There are potentially some advantages if you have multiple heavy apps running. I haven’t watched the comparison videos. Perhaps they are running like three RAM hungry benchmarks in all three foreground multitasking modes then switching to another app? Probably the only test that can show the advantage, but it would be a super edge case one.

But even that may not matter especially if they implemented RAM compression like macOS. The 8GB might actually be able to hold 16GB or more depending on compression abilities of the stored data.

The only area I think it might be useful is in 3D editing apps since the RAM is shared by the GPU. But I am not sure if the 5GB limit is for all of the memory an application uses including GPU or excluding GPU.
 
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rui no onna

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Oct 25, 2013
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I am still not quite sure about this, as there have been a few comparison videos so far and things weren't clear from those. is there really no noticeable difference at this point between the experience of having an 8 GB model vs a 16 GB model, except for storage?

Max Tech posted a YouTube video wherein ironically, the 16GB iPP reloaded Photoshop but the 8GB did not. He had maybe less than 10 tabs each in Chrome and Safari and none reloaded and most apps didn't reload either.


I want 1TB so for me, the choice is clear.

My usage isn't the same as in the video so I don't know if 8GB will serve me as well as 16GB currently does. Right now, I have 129 tabs open in Safari. I've seen free RAM on my 1TB iPad dip down to around 1GB free. How much of that is caching? I have no idea. What I do know is the Excel window and 89 Safari tabs I had left open last week didn't reload so that gives me confidence that switching between the Excel and Safari won't result in constant instant reloads like it sometimes does with my 2017 iPP. Could the 8GB have handled that workload just as well? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not buying another M1 iPad just to test, though.
 

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LogicalApex

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Nov 13, 2015
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What I do know is the Excel window and 89 Safari tabs I had left open last week didn't reload so that gives me confidence that switching between the Excel and Safari won't result in constant instant reloads like it sometimes does with my 2017 iPP.
How often do you encounter reloads as you switch to tabs in safari? Safari can have an unlimited number of tabs open as the browser will aggressively close tabs and only store the URL in memory. Going to an older tab will encounter a page reload when accessed. Similar to opening an app in iOS that was purged from RAM And reloads when accessed.

I used to frequently have over 200 tabs on my iOS devices like my older iPhone X until I set iOS to close tabs regularly.
 
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AutomaticApple

macrumors 604
Nov 28, 2018
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Massachusetts
Hey all,

I am still not quite sure about this, as there have been a few comparison videos so far and things weren't clear from those. is there really no noticeable difference at this point between the experience of having an 8 GB model vs a 16 GB model, except for storage?
It really doesn't matter.
 
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rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
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How often do you encounter reloads as you switch to tabs in safari? Safari can have an unlimited number of tabs open as the browser will aggressively close tabs and only store the URL in memory. Going to an older tab will encounter a page reload when accessed. Similar to opening an app in iOS that was purged from RAM And reloads when accessed.

I used to frequently have over 200 tabs on my iOS devices like my older iPhone X until I set iOS to close tabs regularly.

On the 2021 M1/16GB, never as of right now.

On the 2017 A10X/4GB, depends on the site, how long it’s been since last restart and what other apps I have open. If I open YouTube, it’s pretty much a guarantee that every single Safari tab will refresh. Kinda feels like how 2GB RAM iPads were on iOS 12.

On the 2018 A12X/6GB (refurb, will be returned to Apple), it seems I get around the same reloads I had with 4GB RAM and iOS 12 (much less than 13/14). Of course, I haven’t really used it much.

I normally have auto-close tabs set to 1 week but I set it manually for now on the 2021 iPP to stress the memory management more. When researching, searching, browsing, etc, I prefer to just open a whole bunch of tabs all at once then read and close the tabs as I go through them. One of the reasons why I never use Tapatalk. :p

For example, I just opened 30 new tabs from my MacRumors notifications so my current tab count is at 155 but I can knock those down fairly quickly as long as I’m not interrupted.

When I’m researching products or for a trip though, then those would take longer (hence, the 1 week auto-close).
 
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Username-already-in-use

macrumors member
May 18, 2021
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We're probably 2 years away (due to optimisations and app development) from 8GB and 16GB users having an experience that is much different from each other in IPadOS

Unless, Apple introduce some sort of limited Mac Runtime environment for the M1 IPP for some select Mac apps to run on IPP - in which case the difference between 16 and 8GB will feel clearer.
 
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JM91Six

macrumors member
Apr 22, 2019
71
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Max Tech posted a YouTube video wherein ironically, the 16GB iPP reloaded Photoshop but the 8GB did not. He had maybe less than 10 tabs each in Chrome and Safari and none reloaded and most apps didn't reload either.


I want 1TB so for me, the choice is clear.

My usage isn't the same as in the video so I don't know if 8GB will serve me as well as 16GB currently does. Right now, I have 129 tabs open in Safari. I've seen free RAM on my 1TB iPad dip down to around 1GB free. How much of that is caching? I have no idea. What I do know is the Excel window and 89 Safari tabs I had left open last week didn't reload so that gives me confidence that switching between the Excel and Safari won't result in constant instant reloads like it sometimes does with my 2017 iPP. Could the 8GB have handled that workload just as well? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not buying another M1 iPad just to test, though.
just out of curiosity What does one do with 129 tabs open at one time?
 
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rui no onna

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Oct 25, 2013
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just out of curiosity What does one do with 129 tabs open at one time?

This:

I normally have auto-close tabs set to 1 week but I set it manually for now on the 2021 iPP to stress the memory management more. When researching, searching, browsing, etc, I prefer to just open a whole bunch of tabs all at once then read and close the tabs as I go through them. One of the reasons why I never use Tapatalk. :p

For example, I just opened 30 new tabs from my MacRumors notifications so my current tab count is at 155 but I can knock those down fairly quickly as long as I’m not interrupted.

When I’m researching products or for a trip though, then those would take longer (hence, the 1 week auto-close).

I don't necessarily need to have all of those not reload. However, on 4GB RAM, even my most recent tabs will reload when I switch between Safari and another app/tab.

Oftentimes, the frustration comes when I'm filling out form and I have to open another app/tab for information and then when I go back to the form tab, it reloads and all my entries are gone. What I used to do to avoid that was either grab another iPad or iPhone to get the info or just go to the desktop.
 
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redscull

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Jul 1, 2010
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Oftentimes, the frustration comes when I'm filling out form and I have to open another app/tab for information and then when I go back to the form tab, it reloads and all my entries are gone. What I used to do to avoid that was either grab another iPad or iPhone to get the info or just go to the desktop.
I don't understand why Apple doesn't very directly fix this. This problem exists because of the one-app-at-a-time nature of iOS. But it's an extremely common situation. Pretty much everyone runs into the scenario of doing a thing in one app but then needing a piece of info from another. Opening that other app though means you have a high likelihood of losing any transient data in the first app, and what's worse, this absolutely would never happen changing between apps/windows in a proper OS. It's counterintuitive and to anyone who's used a computer a huge obstacle to the idea of using an iPad like a real computer.

And all Apple has to do to alleviate the vast majority of these cases is simply ensure the the current app and the last-used app aren't unloaded. Because generally you're just going back-and-forth from your main app to the supplementary ones. I feel like it's the one situation where using swap memory if necessary would be justified, and higher-ram Pro models would naturally have the perk of not generally needing to resort to swap memory.
 
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rui no onna

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Oct 25, 2013
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I don't understand why Apple doesn't very directly fix this. This problem exists because of the one-app-at-a-time nature of iOS. But it's an extremely common situation. Pretty much everyone runs into the scenario of doing a thing in one app but then needing a piece of info from another. Opening that other app though means you have a high likelihood of losing any transient data in the first app, and what's worse, this absolutely would never happen changing between apps/windows in a proper OS. It's counterintuitive and to anyone who's used a computer a huge obstacle to the idea of using an iPad like a real computer.

And all Apple has to do to alleviate the vast majority of these cases is simply ensure the the current app and the last-used app aren't unloaded. Because generally you're just going back-and-forth from your main app to the supplementary ones. I feel like it's the one situation where using swap memory if necessary would be justified, and higher-ram Pro models would naturally have the perk of not generally needing to resort to swap memory.

It kinda can if you disable swap or set it too low (done this before and Firefox would crash with an out of memory error). However, it can be fixed and this doesn't occur with default settings (system-managed swap) on traditional desktop OSes.

For iOS, I don't think it's avoidable on 2GB. There's just too little RAM for OS, graphics, etc. without swap and iOS has gotten a lot more bloated now compared to before. Another problem there is storage is tiny and can be really slow (particularly Air 2 with eMMC).

We'd get something much worse than this if they implement swap on devices with just 16-64GB storage.

I agree with a last-in, last-out approach to memory management. No idea what logic Apple applies to memory management since it doesn't usually jive with the order of importance for me. Typically, to me the last 2-4 apps/tabs are the most critical to remain in memory. I think this is doable on 4GB RAM since a hard reset usually fixes my out of memory issues.


I didn’t watch, but 129 tabs? Jeebus! Who needs that many open at one time?

Lol, if you think that's high, you should see this.

I do exactly the same, open a page like macrumors, and open in background a bunch of headlines, iOS starts to moan when you approach 500 tabs, every so often I used to go through closing individual tabs, I now just ditch the lot.

on the MacBook I noticed the fan would kicking frequently etc. I installed a tab counter & I had ~ 1400 tabs open, mainly for amazon as I'm looking for a few particular items.

I have 14 pinned tabs for IT stuff I run at home & every new window adds 15 to the count, I have 16 windows with the 14 pinned tabs plus others so in reality have 196 other tabs.

the biggest victim is WindowServer that shows 25-35% CPU (need to divide by 8 threads to get actual) when more than 300 windows are reported open
 
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FrozenDarkness

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2009
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My understanding is PadOS, like MacOS, will utilize whatever ram you have by pre-loading software they think you'd use so they'd open instantaneously. Doesn't necessarily mean they'll load the state. My guess is that 1TB you may have more apps to keep in memory and thus 16GB may not necessarily be faster than 8GB in those situations.
 
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redscull

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
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Texas
If there truly are technical hurdles for iOS devices using swap files and that not being possible, then I'd really love an option on iPad Pros where I can limit individual app memory usage so that it guarantees I can always run two at once. Which honestly I thought that was the whole point behind which models get multitasking vs not (because you must be able to load two apps simultaneously in order to show them both simultaneously). If iPad Pro can do that, then why can't it guarantee that my two most recent apps (if neither is using multitasking) stay loaded? The main point is that I hate that it's up to chance. I want to know with certainty that I can rely on some rule about when or when not my app is going to get unloaded so I can avoid it when it's important to me.
 
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rui no onna

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Oct 25, 2013
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My understanding is PadOS, like MacOS, will utilize whatever ram you have by pre-loading software they think you'd use so they'd open instantaneously. Doesn't necessarily mean they'll load the state. My guess is that 1TB you may have more apps to keep in memory and thus 16GB may not necessarily be faster than 8GB in those situations.

There's really not enough RAM on the older iPads for Apple to do a bunch of caching.

I don't expect 16GB to be faster. I just expect it won't need to reload often. Plus there's headroom when iPadOS gets more bloated. I expect some of the features introduced in iPadOS 15 (e.g. Shelf and widgets everywhere) would have some memory impact.


If there truly are technical hurdles for iOS devices using swap files and that not being possible, then I'd really love an option on iPad Pros where I can limit individual app memory usage so that it guarantees I can always run two at once. Which honestly I thought that was the whole point behind which models get multitasking vs not (because you must be able to load two apps simultaneously in order to show them both simultaneously). If iPad Pro can do that, then why can't it guarantee that my two most recent apps (if neither is using multitasking) stay loaded? The main point is that I hate that it's up to chance. I want to know with certainty that I can rely on some rule about when or when not my app is going to get unloaded so I can avoid it when it's important to me.

Funny thing, Apple can't even guarantee apps in split view. I've had one of my split view apps crash/reload on 4GB RAM a couple of times.

Anyway, 16GB has been behaving really well for me at the moment. I've only had one reload thus far and that was Disney+ (although more content refresh than full app reload). My Excel file and 80+ Safari tabs from last week have all remained in memory exactly how I left them. Free memory has also never dropped below 1GB unlike on the 2017 and 2018 where I've seen it go to down just 40MB free. I think that bodes quite well for whenever I need to swap between apps/tabs.

Would 8GB behave just as well? Maybe. I know I've already gotten reloads on 6GB. Dunno how big of an impact the extra 2GB RAM will provide. I need 1TB storage though so point is moot.
 
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JM91Six

macrumors member
Apr 22, 2019
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So looking at the responses. I have a 2018 iPad Pro. Already overkill for what I do… which is media consumption and emails. Light stuff. I will be getting the 256 8gb. Only reason why I’m upgrading is I have $400 in Apple Card dollars and I will be selling my iPad to my friend for the trade in price.

I recently gave him my Apple Watch4 and AirPods gen 2 for finally making the switch to iOS. Now he will have an iPad. A bit of a help your friend out deal since I really didn’t need to upgrade.

I upgrade my phone yearly and having the small camera on the back of my magic keyboard has been bugging me lol. Can’t wait for XDR to be on the iPad 11” because I’ll be upgrading again then 🤓
 
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PrettyWings

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 3, 2016
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Another stress test. Very small difference it seems unless you're doing something very specific.

 
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