Apple may be losing the smartphone battle, but a new report suggests that the company’s signature iPhone is twice as memory efficient as Android devices. This shouldn’t come a surprise to anyone who’s ever owned or used an iPhone, as running multiple apps is a breeze and it rarely triggers a drop in performance. So, how is the iPhone able to accomplish such a technological feat?
Manufacturers continue to pack more and more RAM in Android smartphones. The Nexus 6, HTC One (M8), OnePlus One, and Samsung’s phablet-sized Note 4 all feature a whopping 3GB RAM. This is in stark contrast to the iPhone 6, which uses just 1GB RAM. Conventional wisdom should tell you that Android devices will outperform their counterpart given the fact that the contain 200% more RAM, but this isn’t the case. On the contrary, the iPhone leads the pack by delivering greater performance with less physical memory.
Glyn Williams, a self-proclaimed “Grizzled game industry veteran,” offered an explanation to this phenomenon on Quara. According to Williams, the reason why the iPhone outperforms Android devices is because Android apps use Java – Java needs RAM to function properly, which subsequently places a heavier load on the device’s memory.
Each time you open an Android app, it uses memory from the device’s RAM. This memory is recycled through a process known as garbage collection. Usually, it works well without experiencing any hiccups, but there are times in which an excessive number of apps running simultaneously may cause slowdowns and/or other issues.
Williams also says that Android works best when the apps have between 4 to 8 times more memory than what’s needed. This ensures the garbage collection (RAM recycling) functions in an efficient manner. If an Android device has less than this amount, it may trigger a slowdown.
“In other words, you need four or eight times more memory, than you are actually using to be super efficient. But when the memory becomes constrained, that performance goes way down,” wrote “This is why Android devices have all that RAM,” said Williams. “OS does not use this style of garbage collection and does not slow down in constrained memory environments.”
Being that the Apple iPhone doesn’t support Java, it doesn’t need the extra memory for garbage collection. This also attests to the iPhone’s long battery life, as extra RAM uses power.
Can you tell a difference in performance between the iPhone and Android?