Apple set to lift the 5 GB RAM limit on iOS and iPadOS

Soupreme

Posts: 33   +2
Staff
In a nutshell: Despite toting the same M1 chips as the new MacBooks and iMacs, the latest iPad Pros have so far been limited by a hard cap on how much RAM an app can use. The latest iPadOS beta looks set to change that, although it's unlikely to benefit most users.

The 2021 refresh of the iPad Pro -- dubbed "the fastest device of its kind" -- is available with either 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM, depending on the storage configuration selected. However, in May it was found that apps could only allocate themselves 5 GB of that capacity before crashing, even though the OS was still able to use the entirety of the device's memory.

Apple's second iOS and iPadOS 15 betas, passed on to developers on Thursday, allowed developers to request an entitlement that gives their apps access to more RAM, with its description in developer documentation outlining that it is only for "supported devices," and that the app must still behave correctly if it can't access more memory.

It also gives a function that can be called to determine the amount of RAM available, suggesting that there's not an explicitly defined higher ceiling for memory app usage.

Of course, the list of "supported devices" is likely limited to the most recent iPad Pros, as they're the only eligible with enough RAM to make the 5 GB limit a concern. Previous generations of the iPad Pro maxed out at 6 GB, and other models sit at 4 GB or below, hence the rule about behaving properly with less memory.

We've also yet to see apps that actually need more RAM than that, as the original 5 GB limit was only revealed by the developer of image editing app Artstudio Pro when stress testing the tablets.

Removing this limitation could be seen as positive news for iPad Pro owners, as it brings their tablets closer to parity with macOS laptops as Apple moves to unify its ecosystem with the M1 chip and beyond. We'll have to wait until fall to see it in App Store apps, however, as that's when iOS, iPadOS, and all the other updates announced at WWDC21 should arrive.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 923   +1,697
Hopefully this enables some of the Big Sur applications to run/be ported over to the ipad? File management still kind of an issue for any serious "pro" work so for the time being, the M1 pro ipad it's still a waste of money if you ask me: get an macbook pro if you need "pro" work and like Apple, add a wacom tablet if you need to draw professionally too.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 415   +306
It's just a pointless gesture, it won't change a thing on iOS restrictions like external display support, or it won't magically bring good apps to the platform.
My iPad Pro experience is just a software disappointment since 2015 (iOS 9 back then), I very much doubt anything will change in a reasonable time window.
Such a beast hardware ... such a rubbish software (unless you are ProCreate user and even that I take as a lighting in a bottle).
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 460   +354
LOL, double those prices in Australia. Top spec 12.9" iPad pro, over $4K, top spec iPhone 12 Pro max, about $3K

When Iphone came out didn't Apple brag about only using the best/fastest memory ?
I think they now penny pinch when they can - most uses of the Pros phones or Ipads are not power users - same as most people of sports cars aren't good drivers - so few people will be affected when they really test the memory - maybe doesn't make much difference TBF - but seems rank to pay a huge Itax to get more memory and it's not the best
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 866   +654
When Iphone came out didn't Apple brag about only using the best/fastest memory ?
I think they now penny pinch when they can - most uses of the Pros phones or Ipads are not power users - same as most people of sports cars aren't good drivers - so few people will be affected when they really test the memory - maybe doesn't make much difference TBF - but seems rank to pay a huge Itax to get more memory and it's not the best

Good point!
 

Watzupken

Posts: 302   +292
I think Apple put themselves in a pickle when they offered 16GB of RAM on an iPad Pro. This is more than double of what we see with the previous gen of iPad Pros. I suspect now they are forced to allow more than 5GB of RAM usage on apps, it may have a detrimental effect on owners of iPads with lesser amount of RAM (especially those with 4GB or less), depending on the applications they run.