Solve iPad Low Memory Warnings on iOS 4.2.1 [How To]

Solve iPad Low Memory Warnings on iOS 4.2.1 [How To]

Apple’s iPad is the first generation of what I hope will be a long line of magical tablets. Unfortunately,  it has one minor problem that will be more evident now that iOS 4.2.1 has been released.

That problem will be the made evident by the over zealous use of multitasking on a device that only has 256MB of memory in which to run applications. The iPhone 4 twice that or 512MB.  Users won’t be able to help themselves because multitasking is just to valuable to ignore or give up.

So the problem of having less memory to run apps will be frequent warnings that “your device is running low on memory. ” I’ve seen it happen to others and the image above is my own personal encounter with the problem. Apple had given the iPhone 4 pretty liberal amounts of application RAM, so I was  a bit taken aback that the iPad didn’t have at least 512MB to 1GB of RAM when it was released.

Fortunately, the work around is easy.

Tips to Help Alleviate Low Memory Warnings

All you have to do to alleviate this problem is to become as master at multitasking on your iPad. That means use the feature liberally, but learn to master it. Here are a few key things to remember:

  • If you plan on playing a game, like I was above, close all suspended apps before launching the game.

Note you may not have to close all of them literally so feel free to experiment. Closing them all is a sure-fire way of making sure there is enough free application memory available.

  • If you know your done with an app that is suspended in the background — close it.
  • If you have to hard reset set your iPad using the Sleep/Wake plus Home button method holding both until you see the Apple logo then try to close all suspended apps before restarting using this method.

One thing to note about the last tip — I’ve found that a true iOS reset isn’t any good unless you close all suspended apps in the iOS task manager first. I’ve had people argue with me about this, but I’m standing by this suggestion based on my own personal experience and tests. If you did a restart from a crashed or frozen state close all apps after the iPad restarts and perform a second restart.

Note all of these tips are useful on the iPhone and iPod touch, but I haven’t seen any memory warnings on my iPhone 4 and I haven’t owned an iPod touch since the first generation one which I no longer own.

How to Close Apps

Closing apps in iOS is easy and this method works just fine on the iPhone and iPod touch too. Simply press the Home button twice to bring up the iOS task manager.

Once the list of currently running apps is presented you can swipe right to see more suspended or background running apps. Swipe left to go back. Be careful not to swipe to far left since you’ll end up with screen orientation controls, volume, brightness controls, etc. If you see these swipe right again to go back to the apps list.

Solve iPad Low Memory Warnings on iOS 4.2.1 [How To]

iPad task bar displaying apps ready to be closed.

Locate the app (or apps) you want to close and tap and hold the icon belonging to any one of them. The icons will being to wiggle and a red circle with a white X in it will appear. Tap that circle to close any application. When you are done closing all the apps you want press the Home button once or tap anywhere on the screen outside of the task bar (i.e. above it) to exit this mode.

Related
  • M. R. Tiller

    I think you’re right about the hard reset. If I close Safari and re-open it the next day, my twitter home page reloads to the same state as the day before. Then, if I click the “home” link, the page displays all the new tweets since yesterday. Apparently the old page is initially being reloaded from memory and not fresh from the web.

  • Michael Superczynski

    That low memory warning that app displays violates Apple’s guideline/rule that you never concern the user with such crap.
    How this app made it past the App Store review team is beyond me.Next the app will be advising users to reboot their iPad after installing.  That is another big no-no.
    Developers should not treat the iPad like a PC.

About the author

David W. MartinDavid W. Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the industry as a programmer, systems and business analyst, author, and consultant. David has written for CNET's iPhoneatlas.com, MacLife.com, CultofMac.com, BYTE.com and recently for aNewDoman.net. He comes to Cult of Mac's website with deep knowledge and passion for the all things Apple. Follow David on Twitter @david_w_martin or see what he's up to now at davidwmartin.com.

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