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What Does RAM and ROM means on your Smartphone and How does it Matter?

With India emerging as the third largest market in the world everybody is competing in the specs arena and the number game has just gone wild. It is important to understand these numbers and know what actually you are getting and differentiate it with what is labeled on the box. This blog post will give you a basic knowledge of how Memory is allocated inside your Android device and how it will affect your system performance.


What is RAM?

As most of you would know RAM is Random Access Memory. It is faster memory compared to your permanent storage which includes your SD card internal and external. When your processor computes data it is faster to retrieve data required for processing from your RAM rather than to load it from your permanent storage which takes time. Also it is less taxing on the battery of your phone when your CPU retrieves data from RAM rather than from Storage.

RAM in your Android phones

The RAM works quite different on your android phones than on your PC which most of us basic users are better acquainted with. The Apps that you download and install are first loaded in the RAM and then executed. Those Apps remain in the RAM after you are no longer using them and they have been shifted to background. The next time you use those apps they will be available for fast retrieval from RAM unless they have been removed. With continuous usage, the Apps that you use most frequently get placed on your RAM that is IF you have enough RAM.

What happens when my RAM is full?

Many users are worried by their RAM consumed rapidly. The Android operating system has been so designed as to use most of the RAM and leave certain amount for smooth functioning of the User Interface. You don’t have to be worried at all and need not go killing each application after use. Android will free the RAM when it needs to and it does so in a graceful way. It follows certain steps and protocols and won’t haphazardly kill your Apps just to free space. The unused RAM on your device is wasted RAM and more RAM you have more Apps you can run simultaneously

Will the Apps loaded in my RAM effect my battery performance?

Just a free app lying in the RAM does not consume your battery. If you are using an App like facebook with notifications on, then it will tax your battery, because it will be interacting with the server. Most Apps won’t affect your battery drastically but as our Android experience very well tells us Apps can’t be trusted. If you find an unexpected fall in your battery backup, go to the battery option in settings Menu or you can download a battery checker app and you can easily figure out the misbehaving app and kill it using the linked tutorial.

An App simply lying in the RAM is not a threat; more apps in the RAM will mean faster performance as processor won’t have to load them again from internal storage and as we have mentioned above retrieval from RAM is faster.

Will Increase in RAM make my phone fast?

Increase in RAM will definitely boost the performance as you can keep more apps in the RAM and they can be quickly and effectively loaded, however if you have a 512 MB RAM and you are using only 200 MB for Apps, then if you hypothetically, say, add 2 GB of RAM (not practically possible) then your performance won’t improve. If you are not using much of your RAM and your performance is not up to the mark, it is most probably due to some rogue App which is taxing your system resources un ethically. You can improve your performance by locating and killing that app using the linked tutorial

What is ROM and SD card

ROM or Read Only Memory is more permanent by nature. What goes in there stays there. The ROM or read only memory forms a part of your internal storage and that part is not Accessible for users to write on and is thus referred to as Read Only Memory. The rest of your internal storage is where you store Apps and can store media files and other documents.

The memory type used is basically Flash memory or technically EEPROM (electrically erasable and programmable read only memory). This type of memory can be read in blocks and deleted in blocks. The word EEPROM is generally used to describe those with non flash memory EEPROMS

This ROM part of your internal storage is where your Android operating system resides. Also OEM’s add some preinstalled apps in this memory sections which cannot be deleted on users end either. This is the reason why you don’t get full internal memory as advertised on the Box, because a part of it has been used to house O.S. and preinstalled apps. The rest of the internal storage will be used for storing and downloading Apps which will store this

Can I transfer Apps to SD Card?

Once you install an App on internal SD card, some devices might let you transfer some Apps (not all) to SD card. Unless your device is rooted there is not much you can do in this regards. So it is very important to check for how much of the internal memory will be available for you to download Apps out of what is labeled on the box.

It is more complicated than it seems to understand at a given time what amount of RAM and internal storage is allotted to which application and how the decisions are made. But you will get the basic idea. More than RAM and internal storage you should be aware about how much of it will be actually available at users end for you to use.


Deepak Singh

The Author spent a significant chunk of his formative years resisting technology. He now keeps an eye on where the world is heading to, and drives a passive pleasure from this indulgence. His passion to write, learn and improve drives him each day. When his day ends, he enjoys the pleasant languor and detoxifies with family. You can connect with him on and Twitter