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What is the difference between RAM, ROM and internal storage?

What RAM?

RAM the acronym Random Access Memory, which means random access memory in Portuguese. As its name implies, it is volatile, not storing information like a memory card, like a hard drive, like a flash drive. It is temporary and all information contained in it is lost when the power is turned off or in specific processes.

But for a good purpose, it is essential for our smartphones (and even computers, notebooks and other electronics) to work well and efficiently. Inside the gadgets are the physical modules used as the primary memory.

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ASUS and Samsung RAM Manager / AndroidPIT (screenshot)
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<p>Usually, only temporary information is kept in RAM that the smartphone needs at any given time, such as the operating system or open applications (even in the background) that load into RAM when you boot the device.</p><div class='code-block code-block-3' style='margin: 8px auto; text-align: center; display: block; clear: both;'>
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The amount of RAM affects how much multitasking you can do on a device. The more RAM, the more temporary memory your phone has to handle data. Being random means that the device can read and write about it in any position without waiting for a process queue. This speeds up the search for information since, unlike ROM or microSD, it is very easy to access the physical location where the data is stored.

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A computer's RAM is much larger than a smartphone / androidPIT's

RAM loads everything basically needed to make a device work, namely the operating system, the applications in use, and those running in the background. As new system uses and new applications are required all the time, I need a quick memory that can be overwritten at any time without compromising important information.

RAM only works when the device is turned on. That is, this type of memory is not capable of storing information once the device is turned off (or the battery runs out). That's why it's necessary to wait a while when we turn on the smartphone, because I need to allow time for the system to load the RAM. Then we see those animations at the entrance.

What ROM memory?

RAM is a read-only memory, but ROM is a read-only memory (Read Only Memory, read only memory). Data stored in ROM cannot be changed, or at least not easily or quickly.

It is a type of non-volatile memory, ie the data remains even in the event of a power failure or power down. Access to all memory cells takes the same time (unlike hard disks), which is why operating system data is usually stored within ROMs to ensure a quick boot and to avoid changes made by users.

However, the ROM content may be changed in special cases. DVDs or CDs are an example of ROMs that cannot be upgraded, while a console has a ROM that can be upgraded.

AndroidPIT lineage the hero
Lineage OS one of the most famous Custom ROMs / AndroidPIT

ROM on older smartphones used to contain Android system parties (system, vendors, for example) to prevent users from deleting or editing files within it. And the custom ROMs are named after them because they were loaded into the read-only memory of smartphones.

Even today, there is a tendency to still call the system parties of a smartphone by that name, despite the fact that, technically, the memory in which these parties are now found is not ROM-type.

Smartphones' built-in ROMs are much faster than those of traditional computer hard drives and are also soldered directly to the motherboard.

What internal memory (storage)?

Finally, we have the one with the most different name. The internal memory of a smartphone can be either embedded MultiMediaController (eMMC) or Universal Flash Storage (UFS). It can be expanded via a microSD in some cases and contains user data such as photos, videos, music, documents, and application data.

It is a permanent memory and will not be lost when you turn off the device. In addition, it may only be modified with your authorization as a user. On smartphones, ROM usage has been replaced by dedicated internal memory parties (eMMC or UFS) configured for read-only mode via software.

And the internal memory that, on a smartphone or even other electronics, brings the largest number, currently in GB. While a smartphone's RAM has typically reached a maximum of 8 GB, the internal memory already reaches numbers like 256 GB.

files go screenshot
Google Files Go helps free up your internal memory / AndroidPIT (screenshot)

In addition, while a smartphone's RAM cannot be expanded after the manufacture of the device, the internal memory can be increased in cases where the device has a memory card slot, the microSD. As a result, smartphones can now be up to 1TB of space for the system to use and to accommodate your files.

Do Android and iOS manage RAM differently?

Who uses Android is usually the person who usually wants more and more RAM for your system fominha. Meanwhile, I have iOS these days with embedded iPhones with 3 GB of RAM. But how? The use and management of RAM on both operating systems is very similar and efficient, with a significant difference in how each platform chooses to work in background applications.

While Android (based on Linux) chooses to terminate a background app when available memory reaches its limit to free up space for a new app, iOS can compress a larger number of app data running in the background compared to Android is system-level, and eventually offers more apps to load until you have to finish them.

ios 12 vs android p 0516
Both systems manage RAM well. Just do it differently / AndroidPIT

Of course there is a big difference in the apps themselves for each platform and we know it. While iOS apps can be leaner by running on a leaner platform by themselves, Android apps carry more information to run effectively.

We have an article that details these differences between the systems, check it out:

Don't confuse more ROM with internal memory

Sometimes, for convenience, we talk about the memory of a smartphone with terms like "X" GB RAM and "YY" GB ROM. Theoretically, this is wrong. You should say "X" GB RAM and "YY" GB internal memory, of which some GBs are reserved for the system.

Darth Vader Micro SD ANDROIDPIT
Some manufacturers allow you to expand your internal memory, others on / AndroidPIT

The term ROM in this case is inaccurate because Android system parties reside on the same eMMC or UFS chip as the internal memory (which can be read or written freely), but the former is read-only through software. To recap:

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