written by: Karishma Sundaram•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 11/21/2011
Lack of quick responses on your phone can be frustrating, especially if time is of the essence. More often than not, this lack of response can be directly attributed to the mobile’s built in RAM.
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RAM on a Phone
RAM, or random access memory, is the memory used by a computer to execute programs. Temporary data that is required during running of various applications is written to the RAM and later retrieved from it. The nature of this chunk of memory is not permanent, and ideally each time an application finishes with its temporary data, it erases it, thereby releasing more RAM for the other applications. However this isn’t always the case, leading to sluggish responses and long pauses.
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Basic Technique to Clearing Memory
On a Nokia phone, pressing and holding down the Menu key will bring up a list of open applications on the phone. Quite a few people use the red Disconnect key to speedily exit applications, not realizing that the application is still open on the phone. As each open application requires memory to process data to run efficiently, having numerous applications open will snowball into a drastic drop in available memory space. It would be sensible to close some of the applications that are not required.
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Be Mindful of the Installed Applications
Some applications do necessarily occupy more RAM than others. A prime example is the web browser. With the new trend of wanting to view websites as they appear on a PC, phone memory is burdened by all the data that goes along with it. Most websites designed for the PC have lots of images and other multimedia content, which is downloaded temporarily onto the machine for proper viewing. Similarly, on a phone data will be downloaded into the limited RAM. Additionally, as browsing history is usually saved, content from previous web pages serves to overload the memory some more.
Invariably, there are applications that are never used, and while it is nice to have the option in the unlikely event that one may need it, it is better to be brutal and lop away unnecessary stuff. Also, while very pretty, animated screensavers, graphically-rich phone themes and a variety of other aesthetic accessories serve to clog up the memory as well. While there is a lot to be said for personalizing one’s phone, it is a sensible course of action to determine which can be done away with.
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Tools to Help Free Up Memory
There are a few tools that can help clear up the issue of memory. Mostly analysers, there is one tool, MemoryUp, that actually goes through the memory, performing housecleaning. It focuses on Java-based MIDlets, calculating the impact they have on the memory and recovering some of the resources that are used by the applications. By doing a little shuffling and reorganizing, MemoryUp is able to free up memory space for use by other applications. It has a simple interface with three status bars displaying the status of the memory. There is an option, ‘Quick-Fix’, which will rapidly scan the memory and relegate non-critical tasks to the background.
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Upgrading the firmware on a mobile phone is exceedingly important. Not only does it make more sense for security, upgrades usually have fixes to bugs. More often than not, the bug fixes will translate into more efficient use of the RAM. That is a minor consideration however, as firmware upgrades are of the utmost importance even otherwise.
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Reformatting the mobile phone should be undertaken with great care, as personal data once deleted is not retrievable. The best course of action is to transfer the data onto a PC before resetting the phone. A soft reset can be performed by typing in a combination of *#7370#.