What is RAM & RAM Management?


For those of you who don’t know what RAM and RAM management are, here is brief overview of how they work in an Android smartphone (or any other computer device).

First off, RAM stands for Random Access Memory.  RAM is a type of temporary storage that is much faster than your internal storage(or hard disks for computers).  This temporary storage is used as a “middleman” between your internal storage and your display.

Why use RAM?

You could read and write everything from your internal storage but since the speed is nowhere near RAM, everything would come to a screeching halt and lag.  By having RAM as middleman, the CPU is able to read and write to the display instantaneously and all of this happens anytime you are using your smartphone.

When you load a game app and it says, “loading”, your OS is essentially loading game data(such as maps/graphics) from the internal storage to the RAM.

For that reason, any gadget device that has a CPU and display always have RAM.  Now, since RAM is temporary storage, you only need as much it is required to display the data you want.  Having extra RAM can be useful if you play games that require a lot of graphics (as each frame takes a good amount of RAM) but if you do not require extra RAM it simply doesn’t get used and it does not help the performance of your phone.  That is why you don’t see a smartphone with 20GB of RAM simply because there’s no apps that would require that much.  It’s really a balance and check and smartphone manufacturers try to give the user enough RAM to run most apps plus some leeway for multi-tasking.

What is RAM Management?

RAM management is the job of managing how the RAM gets used.  For example, if you have 3 apps open and switched to a graphic-intensive game that requires 3GB of RAM, the OS would calculate how much RAM is available and close any apps that are taking up too much of the RAM.  In certain cases like Samsung phones, it aggressively closes apps to make sure there is enough RAM for new apps being switched to.  In cases like OnePlus 3, it may be less aggressive and keep more apps open.  Neither of these are perfect by any means as it is also dependent on how the user uses the phone.

Does RAM make your phone faster?

Now, having faster RAM or more RAM doesn’t necessarily make your phone faster because it loads information from your internal storage first.  You internal storage is always the bottleneck since it’s much slower than RAM and also RAM must rely on internal storage to read data and information.   But if you do not have enough RAM, it can ultimately cause your smartphone to lag badly while having more than enough RAM won’t help you make anything faster.

If you have sufficient amount of RAM for the apps you use, the only way to make your smartphone faster is through use of faster internal storage such as the UFS2.0 used on Samsung Galaxy S7 or OnePlus 3.  And not all UFS2.0 have the same read/write speeds so a Galaxy S7 may have much faster speeds than OnePlus 3.

Overall, there are a lot of factors in making the smartphone run faster and your display resolution, RAM, CPU, GPU, and internal storage all play a part.  The job of manufacturer then is to find the perfect combo that will allow users to run apps at the fastest speeds.   In order to really test them out, we need to rely on isolated tests of RAM, CPU, GPU, and internal storage instead of just switching between apps randomly.

Have a question?

Please post all your questions at the new Android Rehab Center at HighOnAndroid Forum, thank you for understanding!

Join the HighOnAndroid VIP Fans List for free help from Max and discounts on Android accessories.

Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.