Low RAM on Your Phone, 6 Android Memory Management Tips You Need To Know

By | April 24, 2022

Have an old Android phone, or love to play high-end mobile games? You may experience memory issues from time to time, as your phone struggles to keep up with you.

But what can you do? Let’s see how to manage RAM on Android.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it

The first point to make about managing memory on Android is that unless you have an old phone.

Most mid-range to flagship devices from the last few years will have at least 4GB of RAM. A flagship from 2019, like the OnePlus 7 Pro or Galaxy Note 10 Plus, can have up to 12GB. You do not need to manage memory on this device.

For the most part, Android is very efficient at handling memory. If you really check and find that all (or most) of your available RAM is being used, don’t worry that’s what it was designed to work with. Android tries to keep apps in memory for as long as possible, so they restart instantly when you need them.

If and when it needs to free up some extra memory, the system will silently close some apps that you haven’t used recently in the background.

There is an old saying: free RAM is wasted RAM. That obviously applies to Android.

How Much RAM Do You Need

So you don’t have to manage your memory if your phone has enough. But how much RAM is enough?

To some extent, it depends on how you use your phone. If you mostly do light browsing and use social media, you can earn a lot less than if you constantly play PUBG or Call of Duty.

For 2019 flagships, Google decided that 6GB was enough for the Pixel 4, while Samsung went with 8GB for the Galaxy S10 (which uses Samsung’s more resourceful skin). We recommend that 4GB is still sufficient for all but the most demanding users, and even 3GB is fine for lighter usage. Below that, you push it.

Android and Google Play services will use about 1.5GB of RAM on their own, and they run around the clock. A game like PUBG will use more than 1GB, and even opening multiple browser tabs at the same time can use the same amount.

Find Out Which Apps Are Using Your RAM

The key to managing your memory is to first know how it is being used, and which apps are making the most of it. You can do this with the Memory tool introduced in Android 6 Marshmallow.

Where you find it depends on the version of Android you have:

  • On Android 6 Marshmallow and 7 Nougat, go to Settings > Memory.
  • From Android 8 Oreo onwards, part Memory is inside Developer options.. To see this, first go to Settings > About phone, then tap Build number seven times to make Developer options appear. Then open PSettings > Advanced > Developer options > Memory.

Once you get there, you can see the average RAM usage in the last three hours and the last day. Tap Memory used by apps to get full details on which apps are used the most. This will help you identify RAM-hungry programs and possibly replace them with better performing alternatives.

Don’t Use Task Killer or RAM Booster

We’ve known for years that task killers are bad news for Android. Yet there are still plenty of them on the Play Store, which continues to amass tens of millions of downloads.

As we said, Android already handles apps and memory efficiently, so forcing an app to close will interrupt this process. It will also make your apps slower to start again when you need them, as well as waste extra processor and battery power along the way.

Even worse, some apps are designed to run in the background. Closing them with task killers often only results in them reopening again. It also wastes more resources than if you just let it.

If you need to close the app for any reason, do it manually. Tap the Recents button at the bottom of the screen, or swipe up from the bottom if you’re using the new Android gestures. When your recent apps list appears, close all the ones you no longer need by swiping.

How to Use Less RAM

When you are working with a phone that is short on RAM, you can improve performance by trying to limit the amount of memory you use.

It’s not always easy. Apps like Facebook and Snapchat are notoriously bad resources, but there’s no alternative if you use these services. But there are other steps you can take:

  • Reduce the number of home screens you use, and don’t use live wallpapers or too many widgets that are constantly updating.
  • Uninstall apps that you no longer need.
  • Disable pre-installed apps that you don’t use by going to Settings > Apps & notifications > See all X apps, find the app, and tap Disable.
  • Install any software updates as they become available for both the app and the Android system.
  • Find alternative apps that use less memory.

Choose Light Option

While Google launched Android Go for low-end phones, it also launched a series of lightweight Android Go apps as alternatives to its most popular offerings. You don’t need a Go phone to use this app they will work on any Android device and use much less RAM.

Among your options are:

Once you have it installed, you can go ahead and disable the full-sized alternative using the above-mentioned method. You usually can’t completely uninstall these built-in apps.

Don’t feel you have to stick with the official Google apps either. You can often find faster, smaller alternatives to many of your favorite apps.

Chrome, for example, is pretty RAM-hungry, but you can easily replace it with something like Kiwi Browser. It’s based on the same Chromium rendering engine, so web pages look the same. It uses very little memory.

Other Ways to Boost Your Android Phone

Now you know how to manage your phone’s RAM, what to avoid, and how to make the most of your device. But lack of RAM is not the only hardware issue that is likely to affect your phone. Luckily, we can help you with those problems too. see Tips on how to speed up your Android that is starting to slow down