Why do mobile phones with 8+ gigs of RAM still kill minimized apps in the background when PCs with less RAM don’t?

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Why do mobile phones with 8+ gigs of RAM still kill minimized apps in the background when PCs with less RAM don’t?

In: Technology
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Because iOS and Android don’t use a swap file.

A swap file, as found on operating systems like Windows, Linux and MacOS, allows the operating system to move data in RAM that is not currently needed to the disk in order to make space for other things. When an application needs that data the OS will load it back into RAM while swapping something else out if need be. Especially on a mechanical harddrive you can tell when you’re using way too much memory (more than you have actual RAM) because the computer will slow down as applications have to wait for the swapping to occur. However this slowdown is preferable to an outright “out of memory” error and most of the time the information swapped to disk isn’t needed all the time – for example data from an inactive browser tab can be swapped out since you won’t notice the 0.1s delay of it being loaded back when you go to it and another tab is swapped out.

For whatever reason (likely to do with the fragile kind of flash storage used in older phones) mobile operating systems were designed without swap and instead it was built into the applications that they could be terminated at any time to free up memory and needed to do this gracefully (so they had to manually swap a small amount of important information like tab addresses to disk before closing).

Battery saving, that’s really about it.

Even if you ran some of the most RAM intensive apps on Android simultaneously, you probably wouldn’t even break 6GB of RAM.

8GB and up is significant overkill and usually is done just to make it look more impressive on a spec sheet.

But saving a bunch of apps in RAM is energy intensive, so some companies utilize extremely aggressive RAM management.