Causes of Poor RAM management

Hello there, in this post, we are going to look at the causes of poor RAM management. Now, RAM is very important to a phone’s performance and user experience. This is especially true when it comes to loading apps, app switching, and multitasking. So, if it does not perform as expected…it can be frustrating.

Have you ever had a phone that was poor at multitasking? Is a device struggling to load or keep apps in memory? A phone that force-closes apps in use (or in memory) or a device whose RAM fills up too quickly? I have. These are classic symptoms of poor RAM management.

RAM management simply refers to the different ways that a smartphone manages its memory (RAM). Poor RAM management is simply when the smartphone (Operating System) fails in its task of managing the RAM.

Read: What is RAM?

Causes of Poor RAM Management

There are several reasons why a smartphone could have poor memory management.

I’ll split them into two:

  1. Software issues
  2. Hardware issues

Software issues

Software issues are generally connected to the operating system + user interface (UI) skin. These include:

  • Memory leaks
  • Space leaks
  • Poor garbage collection
  • Fragmentation
  • App behavior

Memory leaks

This is when a smartphone’s operating system incorrectly manages memory.

Memory leaks occur when memory needed for the system functions, is not available even though it is free. It may also occur when data stored in RAM cannot be accessed. Thus, the said data will keep occupying space that is needed for other tasks.

A classic example of this is the adware, on HiOS, that is always running regardless of the user’s efforts to close them

Space leaks

A space leak happens when the operating system assigns itself, or another app, more memory than is necessary. As a result, memory will be used up quickly and the phone will run into a memory bottleneck.

Thankfully, space leaks can be resolved with a simple force restart or reboot. Memory leaks on the other hand can only be fixed with a full OTA update.

Poor garbage collection

Garbage collection is an automatic way for the OS to clear redundant apps out of memory. It does this to free space for newer apps or background processes. When an OS fails to carry out garbage collection, a redundant cache will build up in the RAM leading to a loss of memory.


Fragmentation is a phenomenon where RAM storage is being used inefficiently. In this case, the memory is being allocated incorrectly.

For example, A phone has a RAM of 16KB with four-page frames. Each page frame has a size of 4KB. The OS then assigns entire page frames to app A (2KB), app B (1KB), and app C (2.5KB). The OS itself occupies the last page frame (3KB). All page frames have now been used up and there is no longer any space.

If you add up all the apps in memory (including the OS), they only total 8.5KB. This means that it is 7.5KB free but there is “no space” as all page frames have been used. The space has been so badly fragmented among the page frames that it is useless.

App behavior

Some apps hate multitasking especially Bank apps. If you leave them and go do something else, when you come back, you’ll have to start afresh. It’s a security feature and has absolutely nothing to do with your RAM or phone. Some games also implement it as a type of anti-cheat mechanism too. If you leave the app, you’ll have to restart. SIM City is a very good example.

Hardware Issues

Hardware issues are mostly caused by the size or the type of RAM that is used on a smartphone.

Low memory

Low-memory devices usually struggle with multitasking and RAM management because there simply is not enough memory to be managed. As a result, the OS will be forced to close apps, multitask poorly or issue low memory warnings.

This usually happens to phones with 1, 2, or even 3GBs of RAM. Unless you are a basic user, do not buy a phone with such a low (<2GB) RAM spec irrespective of your budget.

Virtual Memory may mitigate the low space issues but it can not do much.

RAM Type

Now note that RAM size is important but it is not everything. The RAM type, speed, and bandwidth are crucial to how fast your phone would perform. Do not buy a phone with less than LPDDR4x or LPDDR4RAM. That alone should guarantee you good speed and bandwidth.

If you get a phone with LPDDR3 or even 2, I have no words…

Please leave a comment if you have any difficulty and remember to: