Out of Memory? What You Need To Know About Managing RAM On Your Android Phone

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managing ram on androidHave you ever gotten to the point with your tablet where things start to get bogged down a little? We often like to boast about the CPU and superior memory of our mobile devices, but there is nothing more frustrating than when that zippy little mobile device starts to lag behind when you’re trying to open apps or run demanding games and applications.

So, what’s the solution? How do you optimize the operation of your Android phone or tablet so that it runs just as slick and fast as when you first bought it?

There are actually two major schools of thought here. A very large majority of tablet users believe that the only way out of such a bogged down situation is to go through running tasks and to kill all of the apps and services that you aren’t using. This essentially removes the application from cache, freeing up your memory and – most people believe – making your device run at its optimal performance. More free RAM, faster performance, right?

Not quite. Jerry Hildenbrand over at Android Central described it best – pointing out that the whole purpose of RAM is to use it. In Jerry’s words, empty RAM is wasted RAM. Keeping your commonly used applications in cache allow your Android to load up those applications much quicker every time you use it. And the Android OS is adept at releasing low priority apps (ones you don’t commonly use) from memory if your RAM fills beyond capacity.

Jerry goes so far as to suggest that people should throw away their task killer apps and stop worrying so much about memory. He says to just let Android do its thing, run all of the apps you like, and today’s modern devices and apps will run perfectly fine. Let me just say right now, I disagree with this perspective too.

Managing Your Android Memory

Let’s face reality here. Not all apps are created equal, and not all app programmers write stellar code. Eventually, you’re bound to download an application that develops a memory leak. Eventually, that memory leak will chew up your RAM to the point where it interferes with the performance of your device.

So what’s the answer?  In many cases people start shutting down apps or services that they really shouldn’t. You can see the memory consumption under Android by going into Settings and then viewing “Storage”.

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managing ram on android

Click on “Apps” to see all of the applications that are currently loaded into memory and running on the device. This does give you some idea what your current RAM consumption is (see the bar at the bottom). If you’re having performance issues, the odds are good that your used RAM will be quite high.

android ram manager

Many people will just go down each of these apps and start stopping them one at a time. Often times, people will kill apps they shouldn’t and cause more harm than good.

android ram manager

Other people don’t even bother going into settings to do this, they just download one of the many Task Killers on the market, but blindly using task killers is like trying to get rid of fleas by burning down your house. It’s overkill.

Truthfully, the secret here is to use a more intelligent app like the Auto Memory Manager. What makes it so intelligent? Well, instead of blindly killing all applications that are consuming your RAM, this memory manager prioritizes apps based on their category. When memory consumption starts getting in the way of normal phone operation, the app will start removing apps from cache for you.

android ram manager

You can actually use the app to configure at what RAM level the app starts killing apps in that category. The higher the memory setting, the sooner the memory manager will start closing down those apps to retain RAM for normal phone operation. This is why less critical applications will typically have higher settings – when RAM levels hit those settings first, those are the first apps to go.

android ram usage

You don’t have to use the preset levels from the other setting screens, you can also set custom levels if you prefer.

If you’re curious which of your apps fit into each app category, there is another area in the app where you can view all of your running apps organized by category. Each one will drop down to show you all of those apps.

android ram usage

In the settings, you can also configure the app to automatically run and manage your RAM for you, so if you ever do download an app with a memory leak, odds are good that this memory manager will eventually shut it down for you – preventing your phone or tablet from tumbling into a zombie-like state of operation.

android ram usage

You can also set the clean-up interval to a setting that you prefer – more often will clean up your memory consumption more frequently but could do a number to your battery. Personally, I set the app to run every 30 minutes and trust that things won’t get out of hand with the apps that I run within that 30 minute interval.

managing ram on android

There are a lot of users that swear by the Auto Memory Manger, and report that keeps phones and tablets running at optimum efficiency with virtually no manual effort. That is really what having a mobile device should be all about. You can’t control the quality of applications, but you can control what those applications do to your device by managing RAM on your Android phone in this way.

Do you experience performance issues with your Android? What’s your position on the RAM management debate? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Woman in Business Attire Via Shutterstock

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Comments (18)
  • David

    Let’s talk about Jerry’s theory over at Android Central. He is half right and half wrong..yes unused ram is idle ram but having a good empty store of it does help with application loading and use as many apps use more memory to load than to run.

    But…more importantly..when .this is really more about CPU usage than memory..when apps are loaded in ram and “active” even if ur not using them, they tend to want to “do stuff”..like phone home to mom and dad active tell them everything ur doing, enable ur gps to gather data about ur location etc..activendll this without u..using the app thus taking up vital CPU and GPU resources for things u ARE trying to do..so..yes..kill those apps..Knowing Corp America like I do..everyone who makes an app wants it running all the time in ur system for whatever monitizing it can garner…there is no incentive for them to shut the app down when ur not using it..kill the apps and also experiment with blocking app start up during initial boot as well.

  • Dee

    Great article how can I send this via email to a friend?

  • Keith Hardin

    Definitely going to give this app a try

  • Gary Mundy

    Thanks, I just sent this to my ex. Maybe there will be a few less phone emergencies.

  • Boni Oloff

    iPhone 4s just have 500mb memory, and there is no software to free up memory..
    Awesome.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.