iPadOS Ram Limitation in 2021

When Apple announced the M1 iPad Pro with up to an impressive 16GB of RAM, the argument for using the iPad Pro for more demanding workloads became a lot easier.

However, as a developer that’s responsible for the Procreate app claims, iPadOS Ram Limitation of not being able to use more than 5GB, regardless of how much RAM there is available, poses a serious issue.

The developers of the highly acclaimed design app mention that the new M1 iPads can run Procreate up to four times faster on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro when compared to the previous model.

Unfortunately, they also claim that even though there is significantly more RAM available, users can add around a quarter more layers to a canvas with the RAM limitation.

The Issue at Hand

The previous iPad Pro models came with up to 6GB of RAM, so Apple limiting apps to using 5GB at most makes sense, as that would give the operating system itself enough RAM to run comfortably without any slowdowns.

But the models that are available for sale currently come with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, depending on the storage configuration – you’ll need to upgrade to 1TB or 2TB of memory to get the 16GB variant.

As the developers claim, putting their apps through a stress test and other tests, the app crashes if it’s allowed to use anything over 5GB of RAM. Since many developers are currently redesigning their apps to work with the new M1 chips, this holds them back and they’re unable to tap into the hardware’s full potential.

iPadOS Ram Limitation

The increased RAM size in the newer iPads allows users to keep more apps open in the background, something that’s especially important for anyone who uses the iPad Pro for any kind of multitasking.

Increasing the 5GB limit to something more reasonable, or removing it altogether, seems like a reasonable solution that would allow users to run multiple apps in the background without anything crashing. And this limitation only applies to apps – the operating system itself can access the entire memory pool without any issue.

To Apple’s credit, having a limit where a single app can use only 5GB of RAM on a 16GB model means that you could have three such apps using up to the limit, and still have 1GB free for the operating system. This would ensure no slowdowns in the OS would occur, which is probably why the limit was imposed in the first place. 

Ever since Apple initially released iPad OS as its own operating system different than iOS, and especially since the release of the iPad Pro, both users and developers have been complaining that the software doesn’t take advantage of everything the hardware has to offer.

With the M1 chips being significantly more powerful than any of Apple’s Bionic chips, this is truer than ever.

Previously, when users used Apple’s tablets for day-to-day browsing and social media, these kinds of limitations weren’t too much of an issue.

However, the iPad Pro is a device that’s oriented towards more demanding consumers that use their tablets to get work done, and a limit on RAM availability significantly impacts the iPad Pro’s overall usability.

Will Apple Fix This During WWDC?

Apple has announced a Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) event for June 7th, where we will most likely see new iterations of all of Apple’s operating systems, including iOS, watchOS, macOS, tvOS and iPadOS.

Considering that this is the first major release of iPadOS since the release of the M1 iPads, there’s a chance that we will see this being addressed, but at this point, that’s just speculation.