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Are there guidelines on how much free RAM a phone should have - specifically Samsung Galaxy S?
0 ram free on ICS

My device (ASUS TF201, unrooted, stock Firmware) is running on Android 4.1 and has 1GB of RAM installed. However I noticed that only 200-300 MB's are left and marked "unused". Also I know that does not necessarily mean that all "used" RAM is really in use. For example cached Apps may be held in RAM for faster start-up and this RAM may be freed by Android if more memory is needed. So I tried the following steps to get more unused RAM as I am experiencing Force-Closes from another App which (may) result from insufficient memory available.

  1. I checked running apps and force-closed some of them but this gave me not enough RAM. Although this list contains Apps which may be responsible for almost 100 MBs of RAM but not for 600 MB. So I checked which Apps are cached, and closed all of them giving me also only a few MB's.

  2. I rebooted my device but after start-up 600 MB's are already used.

  3. I performed cold-boot still 600 MB's are already in use.

  4. I pushed the reset button which immediately shut down my device, but after reboot 600 MB's are still in use.

  5. I performed a factory reset and did not installed any other app (nor did I perform a backup-restore, as I hadn't specified any Google account so far). But still 600 MB's are used.

  6. I applied all of those memory task killers which all performed badly and killed only those apps I could kill myself. Except one profiler gave me a hint: It sayed that 300 MB's are used by the kernel and 300 MB's are used by apps. It also provided me a button for killing all running apps. Directly after this still 200 MB's are in use (it says "kernel memory") but after 15min again 600 MB's in use (with again 300 MB's per kernel- and app-memory). Is that normal that so much memory is used?, I mean this is factory reset no additional apps were installed by myself!

  7. I also tried to to force-close and disable almost all apps which are currently running and which I don't need but still around 600 MB's are in use.

As I fear to lose warranty if I open the back of the pad I cannot put off power. (But of course I could wait until no battery is left) But I won't think that this will help, as this should have worked with a hardware reset or cold-boot as well.

So what can I do?

  • Unused RAM is wasted RAM. You should be happy that the OS uses as much RAM as possible for performance reasons. The FC's are mostly not related to Out-Of-Memory situations. You can see the reason for the FC if you hit the preview button and scroll down to the exception/stacktrace part.
    – Flow
    Jan 16, 2013 at 9:18
  • 1
    I think this should be closed as "not a real question". You make assumptions that FC's are related to the RAM usage, which need to be proven. Also the answer to the question "Why do I have so little used RAM?" is simply "by design".
    – Flow
    Jan 16, 2013 at 9:19
  • The FC of the app just have led me to the question why is there so less RAM available. It does not matter if this is the reason for the FC, I want to know why Android seems to use 600 MB's directly just after reboot.
    – math
    Jan 16, 2013 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


A friend of mine told me, each app is running inside its own Dalvik instance (Sandbox) also apps may use additional libraries, but this memory is not shown in the list of running or cached apps. Hence the size given their must be interpreted carefully. He also said, that in case more memory is needed, Android should close some of these apps to free some memory.

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