Why the clamor for 2GB of RAM?

supersalo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2010
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Why do so many forum posts complain about the iPhone 6 having "only 1GB of RAM"?

I've seen some people say that Safari won't refresh itself everytime you re-visit an open tab because of the 1GB, but that's not true (try it on an iPad Air 2, it happens there as well).

Has anyone found some legit technical reason for wanting 2GB of RAM?
 

BlueGoldAce

macrumors 68000
Oct 11, 2011
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Why do so many forum posts complain about the iPhone 6 having "only 1GB of RAM"?

I've seen some people say that Safari won't refresh itself everytime you re-visit an open tab because of the 1GB, but that's not true (try it on an iPad Air 2, it happens there as well).

Has anyone found some legit technical reason for wanting 2GB of RAM?
It doesn't happen as often.

Better example:

The app tapatalk, a popular forum app. With the iPhone 6, if you are typing a post in the app and else to check an email, etc, and come back; t refreshes and you loose everything you typed. This is ridiculous for a high end device, and the reason I went a year with android. This doesn't happen on android, or the iPad Air 2 (2 gab ram). The 6s plus having 2gb is also a reason why I preordered this years model.

The above scenario can be applied to several situations. Google it, and you will see examples.
 

supersalo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2010
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133
Gotcha. Thanks for the examples.

What I'm wondering is what evidence is there that the RAM is causing this? Are people looking at the console output on the iPhone and seeing the system purge the suspended app? It doesn't make sense (from a system point of view).

If the app is suspended, the system generally leaves it alone. If something happens that makes active memory usage increase (and free memory is getting low), then iOS will send a warning to apps that have a lot of memory allocated, and then if those "warned" apps don't free up enough memory (or they free up memory and the system still needs more), they can be killed.

In Tapatalk, just having text in a textfield doesn't consume anything significant (memory-wise). So only having 1GB of RAM seems to be somewhat of a red herring.
 

BlueGoldAce

macrumors 68000
Oct 11, 2011
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Gotcha. Thanks for the examples.

What I'm wondering is what evidence is there that the RAM is causing this? Are people looking at the console output on the iPhone and seeing the system purge the suspended app? It doesn't make sense (from a system point of view).

If the app is suspended, the system generally leaves it alone. If something happens that makes active memory usage increase (and free memory is getting low), then iOS will send a warning to apps that have a lot of memory allocated, and then if those "warned" apps don't free up enough memory (or they free up memory and the system still needs more), they can be killed.

In Tapatalk, just having text in a textfield doesn't consume anything significant (memory-wise). So only having 1GB of RAM seems to be somewhat of a red herring.
I don't know the specifics, but I do know sure like andantech have cited this problem in tenures, and went over it extensively. I'd recommend checking out their original iPhone 6 review.
 

flur

macrumors 68020
Nov 12, 2012
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My main reason is that I don't upgrade every year, and we all know that Apple is/has arrived a point where for the device capabilities to keep growing, we're going to need more RAM. I don't want to buy a phone that won't be able to handle the apps/OS that comes out a year later, I want to know that from a basic hardware standpoint, my device will be able to run two OS versions beyond the one it ships with. There's no guarantee of that, of course, but right now it's likely that Apple will stick with 2gb RAM for at least a couple more years, so right now a 2gb RAM phone will have more longevity than a 1gb RAM phone.

If the 6s Plus got 2gb and the 6s only got 1gb, that'd tell me that the 7 was going to go to 2gb and I'd hold on to my 5s for another year.
 
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CEmajr

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Dec 18, 2012
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Charlotte, NC
Why do so many forum posts complain about the iPhone 6 having "only 1GB of RAM"?

I've seen some people say that Safari won't refresh itself everytime you re-visit an open tab because of the 1GB, but that's not true (try it on an iPad Air 2, it happens there as well).

Has anyone found some legit technical reason for wanting 2GB of RAM?
Ever use a 6 Plus and switch between more than two apps? Watch as each one refreshes each time you switch to it.
 

pika2000

Suspended
Jun 22, 2007
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I'm not a technical engineer to know the specifics, but I do know that RAM can be a bottleneck. We already experience the issue of limited RAM. Take the first iPad (256MB RAM) vs the iPhone 4 (512MB RAM). The iPhone 4 lasted much longer than the first iPad.

Now that iPads are going to do a desktop-like multi-tasking, I think it is safe to expect requirements just like a PC. None of us here would want to buy a Mac or PC with 2GB of RAM. 4GB would be bare minimum. I'm paying close attention to the iPad Pro and the next iPad Air 3 (if it's still being called that). I hope they will come with 4GB of RAM.
 

lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Nov 29, 2011
12,904
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Boston, MA
In theory, fewer app reloads. This all had to do with the specific apps though. It's remains to be seen how the new devices perform (yeah we've seen some had s on but I mean people taking the thing home and putting it to work). If I don't experience significantly less refreshing I will be disappointed, but I don't expect to be disappointed. If it's all the same I will feel a fool for having been so upset the 6 plus came with just 1gb
 

Watabou

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Feb 10, 2008
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The app tapatalk, a popular forum app. With the iPhone 6, if you are typing a post in the app and else to check an email, etc, and come back; t refreshes and you loose everything you typed. This is ridiculous for a high end device, and the reason I went a year with android.

That's a badly designed app. Even under low memory situations, an app can save its state (to hard drive) and restore it once it's active again. You're right that this is ridiculous. Complain to the developers to get it fixed, this has really nothing to do with memory, the developers were just lazy.
 
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BlueGoldAce

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Oct 11, 2011
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That's a badly designed app. Even under low memory situations, an app can save its state (to hard drive) and restore it once it's active again. You're right that this is ridiculous. Complain to the developers to get it fixed, this has really nothing to do with memory, the developers were just lazy.
You are correct, I agree. But the problem doesn't exist to the same extent on iPad air 2 or Samsung note 5, which is indirectly indicative of the ram issue.

But like I said, I agree with you.
 

Watabou

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Feb 10, 2008
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You are correct, I agree. But the problem doesn't exist to the same extent on iPad air 2 or Samsung note 5, which is indirectly indicative of the ram issue.

But like I said, I agree with you.
No you're right that it lost the written text because it was holding it in memory, which was then purged. Developers always have to remember to save all their state to the hard drive once the app is in the background, and Apple even recommends doing this.
 
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lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Nov 29, 2011
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Boston, MA
That's a badly designed app. Even under low memory situations, an app can save its state (to hard drive) and restore it once it's active again. You're right that this is ridiculous. Complain to the developers to get it fixed, this has really nothing to do with memory, the developers were just lazy.
I agree with everything you say. Which is why the state of Safari has me weeping.
 

PTLove

macrumors 6502
Sep 12, 2014
380
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That's a badly designed app. Even under low memory situations, an app can save its state (to hard drive) and restore it once it's active again. You're right that this is ridiculous. Complain to the developers to get it fixed, this has really nothing to do with memory, the developers were just lazy.
Yes, you can make that argument. Though I can also make the argument Apple made poor hardware decisions not anticipating there own system flushing RAM so much, or (more likely), simply not caring about this fact as they would rather save $4 per phone (400 million of their bottom line) than worry about this.

Either way, its absurd. An App developer should not have to consider the possibility that a user entering text into a textbox should be cached at all times. They CAN, and maybe SHOULD, but id argue they also SHOULDN'T HAVE TO.

interestingly, I think Content Blockers will actually help this situation though. SAFARI is def one of the bigger memory hogs on IOS, and blocking background tasks and downloads via Safari content blockers in IOS9 will definitely help reduce this footprint.

Either way, Apple isn't stupid. Their engineers know software and their system. They knew when the made the iPhone6 what its RAM limitations would ultimately be. They decided the savings were more important. Thats fine, but I don't like it.
 

darknyt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2009
599
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Having both iPad Air and Air 2, I notice a huge difference in usage with memory intensive apps and multitasking.

It used to set me off when I couldn't finish a form in Safari on my air if I needed info from my email. FF to Air 2 and this sort of thing no longer happens.

Just today I double tapped my home button to switch apps in my 6+ and spotify started stuttering badly. Stopped as soon as I got back into app.
 

Watabou

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
3,419
727
United States
Yes, you can make that argument. Though I can also make the argument Apple made poor hardware decisions not anticipating there own system flushing RAM so much, or (more likely), simply not caring about this fact as they would rather save $4 per phone (400 million of their bottom line) than worry about this.

Either way, its absurd. An App developer should not have to consider the possibility that a user entering text into a textbox should be cached at all times. They CAN, and maybe SHOULD, but id argue they also SHOULDN'T HAVE TO.

interestingly, I think Content Blockers will actually help this situation though. SAFARI is def one of the bigger memory hogs on IOS, and blocking background tasks and downloads via Safari content blockers in IOS9 will definitely help reduce this footprint.

Either way, Apple isn't stupid. Their engineers know software and their system. They knew when the made the iPhone6 what its RAM limitations would ultimately be. They decided the savings were more important. Thats fine, but I don't like it.
I'm definitely not arguing that they shouldn't have put 2GB in. It's been 3 years since they put 1GB in, and with the demanding resources of iOS 7-8, it was long overdue.

However, that's not the issue though. Even if Apple put 2GB of memory in the 6, you would still eventually run into the same situation when you have a lot of things going on. Apple doesn't know whether you want to save state to the hard drive or not, they can't make the decision for the developers because they don't know what needs to be saved. That said, it's so easy to save and restore state, it's one of the things you learn about in Apple's documentation: what to do when your app has gone into the background. App developers don't HAVE to save state to the hard drive, but a good developer is always mindful of what happens in low memory situations.
 

Zerilos

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2012
903
24
I'm not a technical engineer to know the specifics, but I do know that RAM can be a bottleneck. We already experience the issue of limited RAM. Take the first iPad (256MB RAM) vs the iPhone 4 (512MB RAM). The iPhone 4 lasted much longer than the first iPad.

Now that iPads are going to do a desktop-like multi-tasking, I think it is safe to expect requirements just like a PC. None of us here would want to buy a Mac or PC with 2GB of RAM. 4GB would be bare minimum. I'm paying close attention to the iPad Pro and the next iPad Air 3 (if it's still being called that). I hope they will come with 4GB of RAM.
I don't agree that it's reasonable to hold iPads to the same standards as a PC. The fact that tablets are expected to be hand held portable devices means that they'll never be desktop replacements.
 

Zerilos

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2012
903
24
Why do so many forum posts complain about the iPhone 6 having "only 1GB of RAM"?

I've seen some people say that Safari won't refresh itself everytime you re-visit an open tab because of the 1GB, but that's not true (try it on an iPad Air 2, it happens there as well).

Has anyone found some legit technical reason for wanting 2GB of RAM?

This is a good explanation as to why 2GB of RAM is so huge on an iOS device: http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPad/XCOM:+Enemy+Unknown/feature.asp?c=62188

It's worth pointing out that iOS is designed to have apps "time out" eventually. This is to reduce background battery drain, regardless the amount of RAM still available. Because of the advantages of Lpddr4 RAM (vs Lpddr3), the 2GB of RAM in the 6s will perform like 3GB of Lpddr3 RAM (the type used in the 6 and Air 2). The advantages will not truly be seen for a few years, as app developers are catering to the large number of iOS devices still using the A5 SoC (which have just 526MG - 1GB of RAM).
 

whyamihere

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2008
467
692
'nati
This is a good explanation as to why 2GB of RAM is so huge on an iOS device: http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPad/XCOM:+Enemy+Unknown/feature.asp?c=62188
Good case in point, thanks for sharing. 2GB of RAM is one of my top reasons for upgrading from the 6 (I've gone the 2yr cycle up until now).

It's a daily frustration listening to podcasts or streaming music while playing a game, then switching to something else only to come back and find the game obliterated from memory. And of course the ridiculous Safari refreshes. Can't wait for the 6S!
 
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rocknblogger

macrumors 68020
Apr 2, 2011
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New Jersey
Why do so many forum posts complain about the iPhone 6 having "only 1GB of RAM"?

I've seen some people say that Safari won't refresh itself everytime you re-visit an open tab because of the 1GB, but that's not true (try it on an iPad Air 2, it happens there as well).

Has anyone found some legit technical reason for wanting 2GB of RAM?
That's not true. It never happens on my iPad Air 2 and I'm a very heavy tab user. The 2GBs of RAM made a huge difference in the usability of the iPad in general but especially Safari and multitasking.
 
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