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Here's how to get around the OnePlus 3's RAM throttling

There’s a single spec in the OnePlus 3 that's almost comically large – that 6 GB of RAM. When many laptops still don’t have more than 4 GB, is it a waste to have so much in a smartphone? We now have confirmation that the OnePlus 3 doesn’t utilize all 6 GB of RAM by default. Below, we show you how to use all of it.

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The OnePlus 3 has RAM you can't use by default. / © AndroidPIT

In several tweets, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei recently confirmed that the OnePlus 3 doesn’t make use of all its RAM in an effort to minimize battery drain. As such, it can’t run more than three or four applications at once, which is essentially the same performance as current flagships which have up to 4 GB of RAM.

Omar Hamwi
The OnePlus 3 should have less RAM and a lower price
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Pei said the extra RAM was available for power users who wanted to make the most out of it. Third-party ROM developers will be able to use all of it after OnePlus released the kernel, allowing firmware developers to adjust how much RAM is used. What this means is that OnePlus has effectively built a phone with 6 GB of RAM, but which users can’t have full access to.

Unused RAM is wasted RAM, as the saying goes. Android does a good job of managing how much of it apps are using, but the OnePlus 3 is built to waste RAM capacity by default. Rather than say this device is ahead of its time, it’s clear that 6 GB is simply too much right now.

Until Android can run more applications simultaneously, is there really a need to boost RAM to 6 GB? If it goes unused, or using it all leads to increased battery drain, there doesn’t seem to be much point.

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The OnePlus 3 looks good on paper, but... / © AndroidPIT

How to increase RAM usage in the OnePlus 3

To increase the amount of RAM you can use for multitasking you need to modify the system file build.prop. What this does is change the maximum number of apps that can run in the background. This number is 20 by default, but can be expanded to 42, as is also explained at XDA, to take advantage of more RAM.

Warning: to modify these parameters you'll need root access to your OnePlus 3. Changing system files can jeopardize the integrity of your device. Specifically, this change can reduce your battery life as you'll be running more applications in the background. Proceed at your own risk.

So, to modify the system file build.prop, besides having root privileges as we have already mentioned, there are two options: use a file browser with root privileges on the device, or go through a computer ADB.

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This is how you can edit the OnePlus 3 RAM limit. / © ANDROIDPIT

The easiest way is via the application BuildProp Editor. Just open the application and search at the top bar for ro.sys.fw.: just below the command ro.sys.fw.bg_apps_limit will appear. This parameter is set to 20, but you're going to increase it to 42. Now save and restart the device.

For those of you who'd rather use another editor to edit the file build.prop, you have to look at line 377 which specifies ro.sys.fw.bg_apps_limit = 20 and change it to ro.sys.fw.bg_apps_limit = 42. In the case of using ADB, recopy the file to the device, then restart.

What do you think of the OnePlus 3 RAM limit? Have you tried to change it? How does the battery behave? Let us know in the comments.

With additional contributions from editor Luis Ortega.


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  • Ram SIngh 3 months ago Link to comment

    Well 3 GB ram is also sounding nice. Currently i am using an Samsung device with 1 GB ram still enough for me.

  • What I don't understand is why we HAVE to use a workaround in the first place!
    Why does the 'Carl' have it purposely crippled?
    Does he think everyone is stupid? Yes he does.

  • Done and Done 👍

  • And here comes the hate for the OP3...

    When will you guys realise that OnePlus has for once, Grown up and Made the true "Flagship Killer". It currently sits in the mid range device price point and you're getting performance and specs that only the ZTE Axon can somewhat compete with...

    This device is really developer friendly... Sorta like the Nexus line on steroids... Think about it... the manufacturer released methods to unlock the bootloader and build custom ROMs before the device was even delivered to people. An Unofficial CM13 was built for this device before it was even released to the public and the Engineers at OnePlus helped the guy make it...

    As stated it's for devs who want to make use of it on Custom ROMS and there's a whole load of them being made. Don't complain when you can't use 2GB more of RAM... 4GB is fine for average users...

    Check your facts before hating on a device...

    • Cress 4 months ago Link to comment

      Oneplus doesn't used the title "Falgship killer" anymore...

    • Mark G. 4 months ago Link to comment

      I really don't think that the article was in anyway hating on the OP3, rather they are merely commenting and informing users as to how RAM management is dealt with.

      If me, a normal customer who doesn't intend to root the device thinks that on paper the OP3 will have 6GB ram only to Discover after purchase that in fact you'll only get around 4GB, I would be annoyed at least...

      If anything this article will help to inform people to make better purchases.

      Peace ✌

  • Another example that the 'Carl' knows better than you on how to run your phone.
    That meathead is always making condescending judgements for you, just like he left out NFC in the OP2 because you never need it. What the hell good is it to boast you have 6gb, when you can't even use it?
    When will all you fanboys finally get it that Oneplus likes to muck with their customers?

  • Dean L. 4 months ago Link to comment

    Huh, wow. Now that's disappointing, but what difference does it make if you're the first on the market with 6 GB of RAM and the operation of the phone is a fail. To me that would be a waste of $399. What that really tells me is that they don't have the design expertise to truly lead in the flagship market. No longer interested in this phone.

  • taher 4 months ago Link to comment

    What's the point of buying a phone that demands rooting of phone (voiding warranty) to just to do a basic multitasking (task)?

  • storm 4 months ago Link to comment

    Sloppy engineering. What else use don't they really understand about the design and interaction of the system. Chalk up some more fail in the OnePlus column.

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