It’s not hard to find Android phones or Windows tablets with 4GB of RAM. But up until recently most iPhones have topped out at 1GB of RAM while top-tier iPads had just 2GB.

Now it looks like Apple is doubling the amount of memory for its top-tier iPhones and iPads.

Developer Hamza Sood found clues in Apple’s development tools for iOS that indicate the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus feature 2GB of RAM, while the iPad Pro has 4GB.

ipad pro kb

Apple typically doesn’t discuss how much RAM its iOS devices have, which is why we have often have to rely on software developers and hardware disassembly experts to find out how much memory its latest products feature.

You don’t always need extra RAM to get things done… most iOS apps are designed to run on devices with small amounts of memory. But things get trickier when you want to support features like split-screen multitasking, allowing you to interact with two apps on the screen at the same time.

The iPad Air 2 was the first iOS device to feature 2GB of RAM, and the first to support full-fledged split-screen support. While Sood hasn’t found any details about the new iPad mini 4, that 7.9 inch tablet is also expected to support Split Screen apps which means it’ll likely have at least 2GB of RAM.

Update: Yup, it looks like the iPad mini 4 has an A8 processor, 2GB of RAM, and performance that’s about 20 percent better than an iPad mini 3, but about 50 percent slower than an iPad Air 2 (on some tasks). 

Meanwhile, Apple is positioning the iPad Pro as a machine that can handle heavy-duty tasks including office and productivity software, digital image editing software, and multi-tasking. The company says the tablet’s A9X processor is faster than many PC-class chips, so it makes sense that this would also be a tablet with a PC-like amount of RAM.

As 9to5Mac points out, software designed for 64-bit processors tends to use more memory than software designed for 32-bit chips. Now that most Apple iOS devices have 64-bit processors, it makes sense that even iPhones are finally getting more RAM.

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14 replies on “Apple doubles the RAM for latest iPhones, iPads”

  1. Since all these years Apple fans have been arguing the low RAM means IOS is more efficient, I guess IOS just halved in efficiency.

  2. Most of the users will never notice that they have more RAM, since they hardly do “Pro”-stuff. I think, this more-faster-better gets pointless, just like we already see in those crazy display resolutions.

  3. It would be useful to know how iOS deals with apps compared to Android, and I don’t have that information. The article touches on it slightly. In Android an app will remain in memory until that memory is needed for some other application. So there’s a benefit to having more ram if you’re switching between or running a lot of programs (e.g. if you’re in your car running Maps, a music player, and then your phone rings, answering the phone won’t close the music app).. But IF iOS doesn’t work similarly, there probably wouldn’t be similar benefits in that situation, but might be beneficial in other situations where it doesn’t matter in Android. Remember the original PC was designed to run on 640k of memory, and adding more didn’t really do anything originally (nor that much more later on–remember extended and expanded memory managers).

    1. The iOS optimization has always been prioritizing the active app… in some respects this gives it better responsiveness than Android in things like when selecting a app icon but means the background app usually gets suspended or shut down…

      This was often a issue with the web browser as even just going back to the previous site would need to be reloaded, but there’s more leeway now as on at least the newest hardware they’re implementing some level of multi-tasking with the ability to have at least two apps at the same time running.

      However, if you get a text, etc and switch to it then the game, or whatever, still gets suspended until you go back to it but with the extra RAM in the new models it shouldn’t close on you unless you open another app that needs the memory freed…

      How effective it’ll be remains to be seen and we’ll have to see reviews on iOS 9 to be sure… but most of the memory issues with iOS have been with the older models with only 1GB of RAM and mostly because full 64bit tends to use more resources…

      Among the questions that remains is despite the up to 70% improved CPU performance for the A9X, the fact it’s still a dual core design means there’s still a question of how well it will multi-task and keep in mind the previous A8X was a triple core… and so the difference in performance they’re claiming may only be in a per core benchmark and total performance of all cores may be closer to the same, but we’ll see…

      Overall, iOS usually runs pretty well on the latest hardware, but this does mark the beginning of when older devices will start to be dropped… but even with the Pro I wouldn’t try to multi-task with more than just a few apps at a time unless they’re very light weight apps…

  4. It amazes me that Apple is still able to sell their crap to people. They are so far behind Android, but make such a big deal when they introduce something new, but it is old tech for Android, and their loyal brainwashed minions all rave about how great it is. That and they refuse to support older and still working devices every couple of generations. Just their way of forcing people to upgrade. Just so stupid…

    1. The whole iOS vs Android fanboy wars are best left to recess time at an elementary schoolyard.

      The iPad 2 was released in March 2011 and is still being actively supported by Apple. What Android tablets released in early 2011 are still being actively supported by their manufacturer?

      Apple definitely has a planned obsolescence for their devices. But so does every other manufacturer… Samsung is probably the worst offender.

      1. I would tend to agree (although not sure about the Samsung comment–I got my Stagefright update for my S4 pretty quickly). And the idea that Apple forces people to upgrade is a bit absurd. Apple owners want to upgrade–many don’t even look for a reason. Many tend to be “early adapters.”

        1. With regard to Samsung, I was primarily referring to tablets. (I don’t have any experience with their phones).

          Samsung (appears to) release new tablets every 4-6 months. Rarely do they provide Android updates to their older tablets, and attempting to buy device-specific accessories for those tablets becomes a challenge.

          I own a GTab Pro 8.4. A great little device. But Samsung dropped it quickly and moved onto the S tablets.

          Apple plays a psychological game when it comes to upgrades. They don’t offer the option to downgrade… so if you upgrade to the next version of iOS and find that you don’t like it (within a few day window) you are stuck. So the response is, “so don’t upgrade in the first place”. 🙂 except…

          The way that Apple structured iOS and development tools, developers need to take care not to needlessly make the latest version of iOS a requirement.

          With every update to iOS is a flurry of updates for apps to “support” that version… even if the app doesn’t require or take advantage of new features exclusive to that latest version of iOS.

          The net effect is that with each major upgrade to iOS a significant percentage of apps becomes unavailable to those who hold out with a lower version of iOS. (sometimes you can stick with an older/compatible version of the app, sometimes not)

          Ultimately this is “planned obsolescence” masquerading as “a desire to reduce fragmentation”.

      2. Have you used iPad 2 with iOS 8? If you did, you wouldn’t be making the above statement.

        1. Yes I do. That is my current configuration. It obviously doesn’t perform as well as it did with iOS 6. That is the “planned obsolescence” that I made reference to.

          iOS 9 also supports the iPad 2 and the current beta works better on it than iOS 8.4.

          1. That’s good to hear. I had to sell both of my iPad 2’s because they were so slow in Safari and just slow overall on iOS 8. I bought them used and sold them for what I bought them for. Gotta love that Apple resale value 🙂

      3. there’s a fine line between “actively supported” and “we’ll let you install the newest OS, but things will get a lot slower and a lot of new features will not be available”. My guess you’re talking about the latter, and in that case, Apple has a long way to catch up to Microsoft (I know you’re talking about Android).

      4. Best left to elementary schoolyard … and then you wade into the argument anyway.

        Old IOS devices don’t get upgraded to the latest OS, Apple lie and label it the latest version, even though it’s running something different. I don’t really care what gets longer support when an ipad 2 is a joke. If we’re measuring that, my 5 year old netbook I happily upgraded to Windows 10 (the actual Windows 10, not a relabelled Windows 7 update), and it’s a lot more useful too.

        I agree Android isn’t great for long support, but neither is IOS. Remember that Apple sell their devices for far longer (because they use their old devices as their version of low end – I still see ancient iphone 4s trying to be sold in phone shops). So measuring from buy-time, they need to be supporting longer. The ones to praise for long support are MS.

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