Understanding ROM and RAM on your smartphone

In the smartphone industry, figures are constantly being thrown around and they are very crucial and can be a determining factor in helping you decide which phone to go for. Two major words that are constantly preceded with these figures are RAM and ROM. So how do they affect your smartphone? How much do you need? Do they matter? Well, here’s a comprehensive guide to answer all those burning questions.

What is RAM?

RAM stands for random access memory. It’s a kind of fast memory that your phone uses when dealing with computations and temporary applications. Think of it as a storage location for easier access from the CPU. The CPU uses less time getting data from your RAM, and the process is also less demanding on your battery.

So what’s held in the RAM? For starters, background applications. When you have apps running in the background that you don’t want to be closed, the phone places them in the RAM. That way, you don’t have to sit and wait for it to start again when you need the app. The RAM also holds apps that you’re currently using, perhaps a game or social media app. They are first loaded onto the RAM before being executed.

How does RAM affect performance?

It’s simple, having more RAM allows you to juggle between more applications without loss in performance. The phone would hold the running apps so you can retrieve them extremely fast.

But if you don’t run so many applications simultaneously, then an increase in RAM won’t really boost your phone’s performance. Assuming you only use a max of 500mb of your phone’s 1GB RAM, if you hypothetically increase your phone’s RAM to 4GB, you won’t witness any increased performance.

What is ROM?

ROM is a bit rarer on the spec sheets as compared to RAM. It’s what device manufacturers may refer to as “internal storage.” This is a more permanent storage location as compared to RAM and it’s generally where your phone’s operating system lies. Ever wondered why you get lesser storage than advertised? Well, it’s because the phone’s OS plus other preinstalled applications have taken up a bit of space.


Why ROM matters.

How much of the internal storage capacity left really matters, as you’ll be in a position to know the space available for installing applications. Some phones don’t even allow you to move the installed applications to the SD card so having enough internal storage is vital particularly if you do a lot of downloading.

So there you have it, the difference between RAM and ROM and how it may affect your phone. For heavy phone users, you’re looking to have as much RAM as you can and if you really love trying new apps from the app stores, then don’t skimp on internal storage.