Apple offers developers workaround for app RAM limits in iOS 15, iPadOS 15

Posted:
in iPad edited June 25
Beta versions of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 now give developers the option of requesting more RAM than the current 5GB maximum per app, with limitations.

Apple's iPad Pro models
Apple's iPad Pro models


Apple has always set a cap on how much RAM any one app can use on the iPad, but it's become more of an issue as the devices themselves physically include more. Even on an M1 iPad Pro with the current maximum 16GB RAM, apps have been limited to around 5GB each.

Now a new developer note regarding the beta releases of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 says that apps may request more RAM. It's done via a setting that seemingly does not let the apps specify how much more RAM they want, and Apple cautions that the feature will not be available on every iPad or iPhone.

"[It is a] Boolean value that indicates whether core features of your app may perform better with a higher memory limit on supported devices," says Apple. "If you use this entitlement, make sure your app still behaves correctly if additional memory isn't available."

Additional RAM may not be granted to a requesting app, based on total device capacity, or other apps using that RAM.

Apple provides a check that developers can use "to determine the amount of memory available." Perhaps giving a clue to why Apple imposes limits in the first place, the company also cautions that, "higher memory use can affect system performance."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    rcfarcfa Posts: 994member
    The problem: more available RAM makes developers lazy and wasteful with resources.
    But there are applications where the data sets themselves are huge, such as image data, DNA databases, audio/video recordings.
    Having such data memory mapped allows for more elegant algorithms and letting the OS (which is generally better at it) handle memory management.
    But that would require full-on virtual memory with paging and all; not sure that fits Apple’s iOS model… 
    williamlondonmcdave
  • Reply 2 of 9
    UNLK_A6UNLK_A6 Posts: 2member
    I think what some don't realize is that iOS has always allowed you to use virtual memory to use more memory than available ram using mmap() or NSData. Further the limit was 5GB of address space--not memory. So mmap() wouldn't help. It would simply fail when you ran out of address space. This is very different than not having enough memory to keep, say, your dataset resident.
    rezwits
  • Reply 3 of 9
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 265member
    I’m not sure I would describe this as a “workaround”
    any more than the Camera access API is a workaround for not having access to the camera…

    It’s a supported, documented feature of the operating system. 
    williamlondonFidonet127thtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    With the speed of the latest SSD technology, memory swapping could be quite efficient. The PS5 SSD can read data at 5.5GB/s. Apple should be able to offload RAM to the SSD and load it again when needed without the user even noticing in most cases.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Fidonet127Fidonet127 Posts: 257member
    And another problem goes by the wayside. 
    rezwitswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,698member
    Cue videos on YouTube showing how this actually ‘slows down’ iPads because one App hogging RAM causes others to be purged. Also most Apps have poor state preservation forcing a full reload or losing its place in a navigation (or Playlist - looking at you Apple Music & Podcasts).
    I’m with the previous posters, limit the RAM and go for consistency across different device configs or watch the CX drop for no good reason.
    williamlondonBeats
  • Reply 7 of 9
    mcdave said:
    Cue videos on YouTube showing how this actually ‘slows down’ iPads because one App hogging RAM causes others to be purged. Also most Apps have poor state preservation forcing a full reload or losing its place in a navigation (or Playlist - looking at you Apple Music & Podcasts).
    I’m with the previous posters, limit the RAM and go for consistency across different device configs or watch the CX drop for no good reason.
    Are you implying that Apple should treat the 6GB RAM iPad Pro (with A12X), 8GB RAM iPad Pro (with M1) and 16GB RAM iPad Pro (with M1) the same way, because you think that will provide better user experience for ALL iPad Pro users (including the ones who bought the highest spec'd M1 iPad Pro only because it has huge amount of RAM with the hope that it will be put to good use by Apple/3rd party developers eventually). Am I reading your post correctly?
  • Reply 8 of 9
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 730member
    And another problem goes by the wayside. 
    I know it's like, "Just relax guys", iPad life expectancy is a minimum of 5-8 years...  Your beast of a machine will get to be used fully...
    Fidonet127Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 9
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,441member
    rezwits said:
    And another problem goes by the wayside. 
    I know it's like, "Just relax guys", iPad life expectancy is a minimum of 5-8 years...  Your beast of a machine will get to be used fully...

    They wanted it to be powerful day one.
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