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How to increase the RAM of your Android smartphone

When you've had a smartphone for a while it can start to feel slow, and RAM — random access memory, which is where your phone stores its stuff as it's using it — can be part of the problem. If your phone doesn't have enough RAM it can struggle, but there are ways to address that. You can even create extra RAM without cracking the case or reaching for a soldering iron. 

RAM extended
Find out how to increase your smartphone's RAM right here! / © ANDROIDPIT

What is RAM (Random Access Memory)?

RAM is what your device uses when it's doing something. For example, when you're editing a photo both the photo and the app you're using to edit it are in the device's RAM; when you finish editing the photo is then saved to your device's storage so it can't get lost. The more RAM you have the more you can do, so for example you can have more browser tabs open, more apps running or more system features doing their stuff.

The problem with RAM is that it isn't always emptied properly, and apps don't always behave. Some apps and system processes run when you don't need them to, and others don't clean up after themselves when they quit. After a while those issues can produce noticeable results such as slow performance, lagging and stuttering, and the odd crash. 

Like internal storage, RAM is a physical component of your device so you can't just stick more in. What you can do, though, is use it more efficiently — or use some clever tricks to create RAM from other kinds of storage.

ram 1
RAM — shown here in desktop form — is physically limited in every device. Unlike PCs, you can't just stick more memory into your phone or tablet.  / © Taringa

How to increase your RAM without root access

Now that you know ​​what RAM is, we'll show you how to preserve it. In this first part, we focus on tips for non-rooted devices. For those devices you can't magically add more memory, but you can make better use of what you've got. As a rule of thumb, the more your phone is doing the more RAM is being used, so if you can reduce what's running you can free up more memory for the tasks that really matter. 

Limit widgets and live wallpapers

Widgets and live wallpapers are both pretty greedy when it comes to RAM usage. Many refresh often and occupy bandwidth, while some are continuously active. This can also cause your battery to drain faster. So remember to limit the number of them in effect to optimize your current available memory.

Phase beam Nexus live wallpaper 5
Animated wallpapers can take up a lot of RAM. / © ANDROIDPIT

Disable applications

Some applications take up RAM even if they aren't currently being used, so you're getting all the downsides of unnecessary RAM use without anything to show for it. Organizing which apps should and should not be running in the background can take time, but it's worth it to improve your smartphone performance. 

To disable an application, go to Settings and then Apps or Application Manager. Next, go to the All tab to get the list of all the applications currently on your device. To disable an application, tap on it, then tap Disable and confirm. Be careful not to disable everything and anything, unless you want to end up with an unstable system, but most apps that don't come pre-installed on your handset are pretty safe to disable (or delete entirely if you never use them).  

androidpit settings apps all
Head to your device settings menu, then the apps page. / © ANDROIDPIT
androidpit disable app
Next, tap on the app you wish to disable and tap Disable. / © ANDROIDPIT

Disable animations

Animations often steal RAM and are quite inessential; you can manage these in the developer options. To enable Developer Options on your device, go to your Settings, then About Phone and then tap on the build number about seven times until it notifies you that you have become a developer. (Please note that this has no negative effect on your device, it just adds the developer options menu in your settings. You just need to be cautious when poking around in there.)

androidpit enable developer options
In the 'About phone' menu, tap on the build number a few times until it enables the developer options. You can then access that page from your settings menu. / © ANDROIDPIT

Once you have done this, go back into your phone settings and scroll down to Developer Options. Next, go into the Drawing section and turn off the following options. Your RAM will thank you for it:

  •  Window animation scale
  •  Transition animation scale
  •  Animator duration scale
androidpit developer options animations
Go to the drawing section and turn off the animations options. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to increase your RAM when you have root access

In this section we're going to explain how to increase your RAM with a rooted device. The trick involves creating a partition on your SD card, which will act as a secondary source of RAM. To do this, we will be using the ROEHSOFT RAM Expander (SWAP) app. You can download it here.

Here is the Play Store description of it:

  • Free SD card memory as a RAM use (SWAP RAM / SWAP MEMORY)
  • Swapfile RAM expansion up to 4.0 GB (file system limit)
  • No limit on SWAP partition!
  • The usual performance degradation when paged not occur with SD card from class-8
  • Widget for PNP swap (swap on / off swap)
  • Detailed Memory Information & Analysis
  • Autorun
  • ​Swappiness kernel parameter set
  • Easy foolproof use (1 click optimization and automatic calculation)
  • Supporting Tung all Android devices (root access and Kernelswap support)

You will need a class 4 SD card at a minimum, but for best results you should use a higher class.

Check the compatibility of your device

Before using ROEHSOFT RAM Expander, you will need to check that your device is compatible. Download MemoryInfo & Swapfile Check. Start the app and give it SuperUser rights. Click 'start ramexpander test here' at the bottom of the screen. Select the SD-card or Ext SD-card. Then press 'Click for result'. If 'Congratulations'  appears, your device is compatible with the RAM expander app!

androidpit memory info checker one
Use the MemoryInfo & Swapfile Check app to see if your device's firmware is compatible. / © ROEHSOFT

Install the 'Swap'

If you have a compatible handset, download and start the ROEHSOFT RAM-EXPANDER (SWAP) app and start the application. Give it root permissions and select your language (you can choose English, German or French).

Use the slider to select the amount of space you want to allocate to your SWAP partition. Tap 'optimal value' to automatically adjust the settings for the best performance, and 'autorun' should also be enabled. The last thing you need to do is tap 'Swap Activ' to complete the process. 

androidpit roehsoft ram one
Tap optimal value, and make sure autorun is enabled, before tapping Swap Activ. / © ROEHSOFT

Your system should now have more RAM, and thus better performance, thanks to the support of your SD-card. (Note that this process will mean that the SD card is no longer accessible from a computer.)

Did these suggestions work for you? Do you know any other good ways to get more RAM?


Readers' favorite comments

  • Rakshit ジャイナ教 May 28, 2016

    1. Yes the rest space can be used for music and other data.
    2.if SD is suddenly removed or it fails, your phone might Crash. I've been using it for a while now, they don't usually fail.....


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  • Just one little problem. Android isn't Windows. If it needs some of the RAM in use, it kills apps (then brings them back in the state they were when you use them). It's a nice app, but not only is there no need for it, SD cards can't take all that writing, and the card won't last as long. (One of the people on the team that wrote Android wrote a whole article about this, but since I can't post links ...)

    • Manxe 1 month ago Link to comment

      Way I see it, the SD cards cost $11 for 32G. I can buy one every year and not feel pinched.

  • Sorin 6 months ago Link to comment

    I've moved my apps to my SD card. The photo gallery is also set on the SD. Now I have more RAM available.

  • So you can't access your ENTIRE SD card once u use this program? It's wasted? U can't partition it a 64GB card to just use 2GB for Ram and rest for storage/accessible by PC?

  • I have a Samsung Galaxy 6 that doesn't have an SD card what do I do instead?

  • andin Nov 28, 2016 Link to comment

    what if it says no root access and on the SDCARD free: it says -1/ -1
    but when I used the sd it worked perfectly fine
    Update: when I put the SD card the phone was turned off so should I re do it because I saw a setting saying mount SD card maybe I should warn the phone that I am putting something in it

  • andin Nov 26, 2016 Link to comment

    if I use my sd card for more ram and it fail or I take it out will the phone crash? please answer if tried before

  • So if i boost my phone (LG G3S D722) ram with sd-card i will can't Access my sd from pc?

  • Great stuff! Very useful information! I also use All-In-One Toolbox to clean cache and manage the things that occupy my storage. Really solved some of my problems. Highly recommend it.

  • Where is the free version of reohsoft?

    • go on google and search REOHSOFT RAM Expander apk free and click the first one and install the apk and run it and turn on download programs from unknown sources and it will download the program (it won't make a shortcut on the home screen look in the app drawer)

  • If I root my mobile phone to an SD card, will I have to carry around the SD card with me at all times?

  • and how to recover the original memory from the sd card?
    after increasing the ram?

  • I HAVE XPERIA C2305 and i have rooted my device. works Fine. Now i have a plan to increase my 1GB RAM to 4GB. The Question is....
    1) What does link2SD has to do with?
    2) what should i do after installing ROEHSOFT RAM EXPANDER ?
    3) I have a plan to update my android version from JellyBean to Lollipop. How could i do that?

    • flash a jellybean or lollipop custom rom bro

    • 2) What should you do after installing ROEHSOFT RAM EXPANDER ?
      That's what this article is about m8.
      3) If there is no official update, you have to flash a custom ROM for your device.

  • my phone only have a 1gb ram, and my SD card is 8gb. i want to make the ram 2 gb. will that take 1gb of the memmory or is the size different? 1:1 or is it 1:2?
    one more, is it possible to make my phone's ram up to 4gb in this way?

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