The Bankwatch

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iPhone memory management and supposed ‘multitasking’

This is an off-topic rant on iOS 4.  if you are not using iPhone please disregard 🙂


As cool as the iphone is, there are some things that just don’t change under the covers, whether its windows, or apple OS and thats memory management.  This is lazy code development.

The example here is the use of memory in the fake multitasking implemented in iOS 4.  Multitasking is not multitasking in iOS 4 – it is restricted to 3 areas (audio, VoIP, and location data).  Read here for the experts outline.  So if it is not real, then at least do not unnecessarily use up my memory with the apps that are not multitasking by retaining them in the multitask bar. Here is why it bugs me. 

1) here is the memory status on my phone after 2 or 3 weeks without rebooting.  Note free memory is 10 MB.

2.  After running memory clean, I got another 42MB free.

3. But the real kicker.  I closed all the apps in the multitask bar which included no music apps, and 3 geo-location apps.  Those should be the only multitask apps with live api access.  The other 13 apps are just sitting in the multitask bar taking up memory as far as I can see.  How much?  I closed everything and ran mem status again.

4. 70 MB!!!  This is ridiculous.  There is not even a function in a non-jailbroken iphone to restrict which apps head into the multitask bar.

Ho hum.  I love iphone, but iOS 4 is a loser so far in my view when the single largest promise is such a failure.


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Written by Colin Henderson

July 10, 2010 at 19:22

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. So what? Is something not working on your phone? All your rant tells me that you have a 1995 view of what a computer should and should not be doing. Its not 1995. Its 2010. My advice is to delete the memory app because its useless in telling anymore what the real performance is on the phone.

    And there is no such thing as “fake” multitasking. All OS’s limit what an application can and cannot do to varying degrees based on how they chose to architect the system. Apple choose a more stringent method to deal with the tighter resources of the device. Google chose a less stringent method. Personally I think Apple’s method is an better balance versus Android.

    (and appadvice is hardly an expert on anything)


    July 10, 2010 at 19:39

  2. memory management on blackberry sucks as well, what else is new?

    Ray Gaunn

    July 10, 2010 at 23:29

  3. Yoshi .. your points are well taken and I kind of intuitively thought that. However I still see the multitask bar as useless until I can control what is in there. I never use it. It is faster to keep everything organised in folders on the home screen. ( I do like the folders).
    I remain suspicious that memory being held to the extent it is, is not somehow reducing my phones performance.
    And Ray, yes I complained about many more things using my blackberries for 10 years. I would not go back despite the above.

    Colin Henderson

    July 14, 2010 at 15:35

  4. This is a common misconception people have with desktop operating systems too. Completely free RAM with no useful contents is wasted RAM, so every OS shipping today seeks to maximize it’s usage of it with various optimizations.

    In this case, if no other program asks for the memory, there is no reason not to leave older programs in memory. As soon as another program asks for the the memory, the OS purges older programs to make room (which doesn’t require any noticeable performance hit).

    I’d much rather have Safari still have my tabs loaded and cached when I return to it later in the day, then have those purged out and have to reload them if there was no need to.

    Rob M

    July 16, 2010 at 02:01

  5. Good discussion here and I am learning too. thanks Rob M.

    Colin Henderson

    July 16, 2010 at 20:08

  6. Open this file: /System
    and set multitasking to FALSE 🙂 to get rid of it.

    Cydia has better offerings in terms of multitasking.


    August 19, 2010 at 03:07

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