Will Apple Stick To 1GB RAM For iPhone 6? Possible, But Unlikely

According to a leaked schematic from the Chinese repair firm GeekBar, at least one of the two models of the iPhone 6 (the 4.7" or the 5.5") would be using only 1 GB of RAM. If this is true, it would be a disappointing decision from Apple that could affect new iPhone 6 buyers sooner than they think.

It's no secret that Apple has been inclined to use significantly less RAM (usually half as much) than the competition's flagship mobile devices. One excuse for this has been that iOS is much more optimized and is a leaner operating system than Android. While that may have been true in the past, things are rapidly changing for the two operating systems in terms of RAM usage.

With the release of Android KitKat last year, Android received significant RAM utilization and management improvements to the point where KitKat can now operate smoothly even on devices with only 512 MB of RAM. With the new Android L version, things should improve even more for RAM usage thanks to the switch to ART and compressed memory addresses for 64-bit Android apps.

On the other hand, 64-bit iOS apps on the iPhone 5S have increased their RAM usage from the longer memory addresses by 20 to 30 percent. The 64-bit apps are typically more memory-bloated on all operating systems, so this isn't a major surprise, but this is a problem that will only get worse for iOS users who have 1 GB of RAM. As iOS becomes a more mature operating system that can support multiple apps and extensions running at the same time, devices with 1 GB of RAM will soon find themselves bottlenecked by the low amount of memory.

Why the rumor may not be true

Despite the shown schematic, it still seems highly unlikely that Apple would keep the amount of RAM the same. Apple typically changes the RAM every two generations, and it hasn't changed it since the iPhone 5, so it follows that the iPhone 6 release would be time for an upgrade to 2GB of RAM.

We've already seen Android devices with 3 GB of RAM, and with 64-bit ARMv8 chips arriving on the market soon for Android devices, we will begin to see handsets with 4 GB of RAM as we go into the next year. Apple's iOS devices will once again remain behind in the amount of RAM they support, but 2 GB should easily last for another two generations before Apple moves to 4 GB. The move to 2 GB of RAM would definitely be a major improvement for iOS devices.

We're only a few weeks away from Apple's September 9 event, so we fortunately don't have to wait much longer for the confirmation of the new iPhone 6 specs, whatever they may be.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • therogerwilco
    Dear Apple, no.
  • SirKnobsworth
    Newer reports suggest (and the schematic agrees) that this has to do with NAND and not system DRAM.
  • southernshark
    More RAM would be good, but let's be honest, IOS doesn't have to run its apps inside a Java virtual machine. So those programs will always run better, or more efficiently anyway.

    MS made a mistake copying Java with C#. They should have just upgraded C++, like Apple has done. I am far from being an Apple fan, but SWIFT is heads above either Java or C#, not even going to discuss crap like Python.
  • Steve Simons
    I certainly hope they go to 2 GB of RAM. With a larger screen, that will be significantly more rendering that I would guess would fall upon a heavier RAM load if the GPU gets maxed out. But I'm not a real tech guy, so I wouldn't know. I like smooth start up and shut down times. RAM seems to help that.
  • Kieran Warren
    I think in terms of specs it is the only thing iOS needs. Unlike a processor there is a very limited amount of optimization possible until you have to write stuff to secondary storage and make the system slower. 2GB would be a good move
  • hannibal
    Well they can sell new phones, when 1 Gb is not enough... Why not upgrade now, because there is not competition?
    Am I a pessimistic person or Am I?
  • nickul
    Why, of course Apple is going to only have 1GB of RAM in the coming iPhone 6, and with good reason! They are a bunch of complete idiots!.. Why would you truly have multitasking capabilities in an OS in 2014, when you can have a convenient list of the last used apps, that when you launch, will start reloading those app from 0, with nothing saved?! pfff... i can't believe we are still talking about this..
  • dextermat
    Just another reason to get another Icrook device 6 month to 1 year after.
  • jasonelmore
    I usually get the new iphone every year, but if the iphone 6 only has 1gb, i'll be skipping it. I expect the only thing noteworthy the iphone 6 will have is a better camera and bigger screen.

    Bluetooth LE, Touch ID, 64bit CPU, Great Camera, GOT ALL THOSE ALREADY with 5S
  • dragonsqrrl
    Wow what a deal breaker that would be. Like the author wrote, Apple tends to double memory capacity every other generation, so I'm sure anyone who knows anything about the specs in iOS devices was expecting to see 2GB of RAM in the iPhone 6, especially considering Apple's transition to 64-bit. I just can't see the iPhone 6 coming with 1GB of memory. I think that would be a truly unprecedented and stupid decision.