How much RAM do you need for an Android phone

There are a lot of things you need to consider when buying a new mobile phone. The amount of RAM the phone has may not be at the top of the list. However, the amount of RAM (Memory) your phone has is an important factor when choosing a new Android phone.

The performance of a phone is based on the processor and the amount of RAM. You can have the best processor available in your Android Phone, but if there is not enough RAM available to run the Apps you’ll use the performance will suffer.

Before looking at how much RAM you need for an Android phone. Let’s first look at what RAM is and why it’s important when choosing a new phone.


All apps used on your mobile phone need RAM to operate. This is also true of the operating system Android. RAM is memory stored on a chip and it helps to make apps you use on your phone run quickly.

Unlike storage space, which can take time to access. RAM can be accessed almost instantly, which is why RAM is used to ensure apps and the operating system perform with as little delay as possible.

When a program uses RAM to store data, this data can be accessed without any delay. This means data can be passed to the cache in the processor of the mobile phone at lightning speed.


If you’ve ever used a computer running Microsoft Windows. You may have experienced what happens when the computer runs low on RAM. The more programs you open the slower your computer becomes. If you open too many programs it can cause a computer to grind to a complete halt. It can then take time before the computer is useable again.

The reason for this is because computers are programmed to use RAM when it’s available. When a computer runs low on RAM, programs that are not currently being used have information transferred to the hard disk. This is called virtual RAM, where the hard disk stores data that would have been stored in the RAM if there were enough available.

Android phones use RAM differently to a computer
Android phones use RAM differently to a traditional computer

The Android operating system does not work with apps in the same way a computer manages programs. If your Android phone runs low on RAM, it will automatically close the app that you’re no longer using. It does this to make sure there is enough RAM available for any new apps you start to use on your phone.

So unlike a computer where the storage is used to store RAM for programs. The Android operating system is much harsher than this. It will simply close an app no longer used to make sure enough RAM available for any new apps you open.


So we’ve looked at what happens when an Android phone runs low on RAM. The way the Android operating system deals with too little RAM means there is a good argument for not needing a lot of RAM. If the phone does not deteriorate in performance because apps are forcibly closed when more RAM is needed, why is more RAM important?

The amount of RAM you need all depends on how you use your phone. Firstly, the Android operating system takes about 900MB to operate correctly. This means at least 1GB of RAM is needed just to use the phone for calls and text messages. None of these tasks needs further apps, so you could run a phone with 1GB.

That being said, how many of us use a phone just to make calls and send text messages. This was the case about ten years ago before apps were available for mobile phones. Today, most of us use our phones for much more than that. This is when having more RAM is essential.


If you use social media it’s likely that you regularly use apps such as Facebook on your mobile phone. Facebook is a great way of passing time when traveling. When you use Facebook on your mobile phone it uses RAM. Even if you’ve used Facebook earlier but now moved onto reading your emails. The Facebook app will still be using RAM.

It uses RAM so you can instantly switch back to Facebook after reading your emails without any delay. If you had a phone with just 1GB of RAM, it would have most likely had to close Facebook when you started to read your emails. This means when you go back to using Facebook, it would need to run the app from scratch.

Android apps need RAM to operate on your mobile phone
Android Apps use a lot of RAM

This not only means you would have to wait for Facebook to load. It also means more processing power is used to load Facebook. The more processing power used, the more battery is used. If your phone had to regularly close apps because it ran out of RAM. It would mean every time you switch back to an app, it would need to load from fresh.

If your phone has more RAM available apps will stay open in the background. This means you can switch from one app to another without the app needing to run from the beginning. This means you’ll easily be able to switch between multiple apps without experiencing any delay.


I’ve already mentioned that a phone running with just 1GB of RAM is not going to offer much. If you’re intending on using your phone to use apps, then an absolute minimum of 2GB of RAM is needed. However, you need to consider this will mean apps with be closed when not used if you run out of memory.

This means you may notice a delay when switching from one app to another. This delay can be pretty noticeable, so you may find this frustrating if you use your phone regularly.

To avoid this you should consider buying an Android phone that has at least 3GB of RAM. Ideally, a phone with 4GB of RAM is preferred. An Android phone with 4GB of RAM will perform perfectly fine. You’ll be able to easily have a number of apps open without experiencing any delay when switching between your favourite apps.

You can now get Android phones with 6GB of RAM. You may feel a phone with 6GB of RAM will offer better performance. The issue with this is that most Android phones can perform perfectly well with 4GB of RAM.

There is a common misconception that having a lot of RAM available means you’ll get a better performing phone. However, this isn’t strictly the case. Unlike a computer, which needs a lot of available RAM to perform. A mobile phone does not need a huge amount of RAM available to perform.