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In Windows, it's possible to use SD card as RAM.

Is something similar possible in Android (with and without root)?

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3 Answers 3

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Yes it is. As on Linux, it's called Swap. It might be useful on devices with minimal RAM (512MB and less), but unlinkely on those coming with 1GB and more.

There are apps available helping you to configure swapping. You find most of them searching for swapper.

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  • @user62355 note that most of these apps will only resort to using flash memory for background apps. This is because it is not nearly as fast as actual RAM. If you need more RAM for cpu-intensive tasks, then you should get a new phone.
    – KevinOrr
    Jul 27, 2014 at 18:21
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    @KevinOrr agreed. But for Windows that's the same (RAM is the fastest memory in a device) – with the only difference that there you can buy new RAM instead of a new computer ;)
    – Izzy
    Jul 27, 2014 at 22:39
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    Oh yeah. Totally agreed. But that's true: it's a shame that our can't do that with mobile devices. Actually, maybe with Project Ara! :O
    – KevinOrr
    Jul 28, 2014 at 4:35
  • I think OP meant ReadyBoost, which saves some RAM by moving HDD's lazy-write cache to Flash. Anyways, onboard eMMC is faster than TF. Aug 15, 2019 at 4:04
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It's possbile. However SD Card is extremely slow, so Android don't use SD Card as a swap, using ZRAM instead

ZRAM will allocate a memory area as swap, compress unused allocated memory into this area;

ZRAM usually used on low-ram device.

However, ZRAM is battery consuming when you are in low memory situation;

If you ram is not enough, better policy is keeping as less backgourd application as possible by increasing LMK paramters;

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It's possible but I would not suggest you as the SD card is way too slow to use as RAM. You can use "ROEHSOFT RAM Expander (SWAP)" app on a rooted Android device to increase RAM.

Source: XDA Forums - [Guide] [RAM EXPANDER swap] Easiest Way To Increase Ram in Galaxy Y

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  • You don't need any app to enable SWAP. Just do mkswap once on SWAP partition or file and do swapon on every boot. But you correctly said that using SD card for SWAP is a really bad idea. Apr 26, 2020 at 15:29

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