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With Android 2.3 being Linux-based, can Android 2.3 use a swap partition without being rooted?

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Not without being rooted. But when your device is rooted, you might want to take a look at apps like Swapper 2 (for Root users) or ROEHSOFT RAM-EXPANDER (SWAP). – Izzy Jun 29 '13 at 20:36
Thank you @Izzy. Make your comment an answer so I can mark it. – Devyn Collier Johnson Jun 29 '13 at 20:49
Done -- glad I was able to shed some light. Though you've probably hoped for a positive answer. – Izzy Jun 29 '13 at 21:08
@Izzy, I was just curious. Any true answer satisfies my question. – Devyn Collier Johnson Jun 29 '13 at 21:17
Good thing! Feel free to ask more curious questions, then! :) – Izzy Jun 29 '13 at 21:19
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As using swap is a system-wide thing (even on Linux/Unix, you need to be root in order to activate/deactivate swap), this cannot be done without having root access to your device.

If your device is rooted, however, there are several apps available to help you manage swap space. You might want to take a look at e.g. Swapper 2 (for Root users) (free) or ROEHSOFT RAM-EXPANDER (SWAP) (paid, and not really cheap). Both seem to have quite good reputation. Of course there are several other solutions available as well.

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