Apple currently limiting M1 iPad Pro apps to 5GB RAM each

Posted:
in iPad edited June 2
Regardless of how much RAM is in a new M1 iPad Pro, no single app can use more than around 5GB right now because of an Apple-imposed limitation.

Apple's new 12.9-inch iPad Pro limits apps to around 5GB RAM each
Apple's new 12.9-inch iPad Pro limits apps to around 5GB RAM each


Even though the new M1-based 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the maximum 16GB RAM, Apple prevents any app using it all. In iPadOS, the most that any one app can utilize is approximately 5GB.

As first revealed by the developers of Procreate on Twitter, this limitation caps certain performance. The Procreate image editing app has announced that it run up to four times faster on the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, compared to the previous model, but can only add around a quarter more layers to a canvas.

As of now, all M1 iPads have the same amount of RAM available. If more becomes available in the future, we'll make that available to you too

-- Procreate (@Procreate)


Multiple layers are a drain on RAM, and the new version of Procreate reportedly handles up to 115 (compared to around 90 on the previous version). So the limit does not prevent apps seeing a certain performance improvement, but it does cap what they are able to do.

Apple has not commented on the choice. However, the company does regularly extol how fast the iPad Pro is at switching between apps. If any one app were able to command the full RAM available, that speed-switching would be curtailed.

The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes 1TB and 2TB storage versions, both with 16GB. Although no one app can use more than around 5GB RAM, having greater than that amount available means that more apps can be retained in RAM and allow for rapid switching without relaunching.

Apple announced the 8GB and 16GB RAM aspect of this new iPad Pro, but it's rare for the company to reveal this detail.

The original 4GB version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in 2015 capped apps to 3GB under iOS 11.4. Similarly, the iPhone X under the same iOS 11.4 allowed apps up to 1.2GB, but then with iOS 12.1 that increased to 1.8GB RAM, so a software update lifting the ceiling on RAM usage could be issued at a future date.

The variation depending on software rather than hardware means that this is not a technical issue. Rather, it is a longstanding Apple-imposed decision and is only an issue now that the iPad Pro comes with significantly more RAM.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    Per the internet, it sounds like the next version of iPadOS will likely eliminate the 5GB only barrier.
    killroyrezwitswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 49
    xbitxbit Posts: 310member
    I assume that iOS doesn't have any kind of paging mechanism to stop apps being killed when they go to background?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 49
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 440member
    If Apple brings their pro apps to iPad Pro this would never work. Logic Pro would be dead in the water running in a 5 gig environment (no pun intended). 
    williamlondonkillroy
  • Reply 4 of 49
    cwingravcwingrav Posts: 83member
    Makes sense to limit individual apps. Common practice for sharing resources in virtualization and such. If one app used more memory, it would impact other apps when the resource hog switched to the background. This limit sounds like making apps play nice, and the hardware feel snappy.
    williamlondonkillroycaladanianpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 49
    thedbathedba Posts: 665member
    5GB RAM-gate?

    I bought the iPad, I should be able to use as much RAM as I want.

    That’s why the iPad cannot be used for “real work”. 

    Any other upcoming arguments I missed?
    h4y3sgeorgie01macpluspluseriamjhShaolinRockstarBeatsjony0Rayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 49
    But, if individual apps are limited to 5GB on 8GB iPads, then should be OK to limit individual apps to 13GB on 16GB iPads - leaving the same 3GB for “background” use in both cases.

    Alternatively for 16GB iPad could double individual app limit to 10GB, which would also allow double available “background” memory to 6 GB.

    Would make sense to increase memory allowances for iPads with larger RAM.
    muthuk_vanalingamCloudTalkinBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 49
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 440member
    One can only hope that iPadOS 15 will take the brakes off. It really is time for Apple to kick the OS up to a new level.
    h4y3scaladanian
  • Reply 8 of 49
    brauntjbrauntj Posts: 8member
    thedba said:
    5GB RAM-gate?

    I bought the iPad, I should be able to use as much RAM as I want.

    That’s why the iPad cannot be used for “real work”. 

    Any other upcoming arguments I missed?
    This is why we need a third party OS. Apple shouldn’t have a monopoly on their hardware platform like this. 
    georgie01thedbarbelizeright_said_fredwilliamlondonjony0
  • Reply 9 of 49
    dee_deedee_dee Posts: 75member
    Good to know.  
    edited May 28
  • Reply 10 of 49
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 313member
    brauntj said:
    thedba said:
    5GB RAM-gate?

    I bought the iPad, I should be able to use as much RAM as I want.

    That’s why the iPad cannot be used for “real work”. 

    Any other upcoming arguments I missed?
    This is why we need a third party OS. Apple shouldn’t have a monopoly on their hardware platform like this. 

    Very stupid argument.
    Do you really think Apple is doing this without any reason, but just to make the user’s life miserable?
    And in your imagination, how the third party OS is supposed to look like?
    pscooter63cwingravBeatsrundhvidrezwitsdanoxapplguywilliamlondonRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 49
    thedbathedba Posts: 665member
    qwerty52 said:
    brauntj said:
    thedba said:
    5GB RAM-gate?

    I bought the iPad, I should be able to use as much RAM as I want.

    That’s why the iPad cannot be used for “real work”. 

    Any other upcoming arguments I missed?
    This is why we need a third party OS. Apple shouldn’t have a monopoly on their hardware platform like this. 

    Very stupid argument.
    Do you really think Apple is doing this without any reason, but just to make the user’s life miserable?
    And in your imagination, how the third party OS is supposed to look like?
    He was joking. Look at what he replied to. 
    muthuk_vanalingammike1gregoriusmright_said_fredapplguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 49
    killroykillroy Posts: 161member
    Per the internet, it sounds like the next version of iPadOS will likely eliminate the 5GB only barrier.

    Or give you a choice so you can set the limit would be nice.
    williamlondonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 49
    aderutteraderutter Posts: 480member
    Yeah we need EpicOS lol 
    gregoriusmmacplusplusBeatsjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 49
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 440member
    iPadOS 15 needs to be simplified but more capable. iPadOS 14 was the first version that I felt that I needed a book and study to figure it out. And then it was still not easy or intuitive.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 49
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 440member
    Obviously Apple is on the top of their game with the hardware right now. It just feels like owning a Porsche but driving on bald tires.
    shareef777williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 49
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,058member
    I wonder if there are any thermal regulation (and by implication, battery life) issues that might come into play with loosening the RAM reins.  I mean, be careful what you wish for…
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 49
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,761member
    Per the internet, it sounds like the next version of iPadOS will likely eliminate the 5GB only barrier.
    I hope so. I was psyching myself up for going for an 11” with 1TB just to get the 16GB or RAM, but if padOS won’t let me dedicate most of it to Procreate, then I might as well stay with the 256GB. (Though my wallet, and SO, would be happier.)
    canukstorm
  • Reply 18 of 49
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,761member
    Does anyone know when the limit was bumped from 3GB to 5GB? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 49
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 843member
    thedba said:
    5GB RAM-gate?

    I bought the iPad, I should be able to use as much RAM as I want.

    That’s why the iPad cannot be used for “real work”. 

    Any other upcoming arguments I missed?
    Yes, "Goddamnit! I need 116 layers!"  B)
    DAalsethomasouright_said_fredjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 49
    omasouomasou Posts: 236member
    The OS shall always require a minimum level of RAM to function properly and/or to meet user expectations. If not, everyone will whine how Apple is intentionally obsoleting their hardware.
    danoxwilliamlondonjony0watto_cobra
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