How to optimize Android for low RAM hardware

Mishaal Rahman
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How to optimize Android for low RAM hardware

This episode features a spirited nerding out over how we've used and developed for devices with minuscule amounts of RAM. From the days of Project Svelte on Android KitKat all the way up to Android Go Edition with Oreo, we go far and wide while trying to patch up any potholes that could crash apps or the operating system itself. Buckle in for a wild ride.

We're joined by Nolen Johnson, part of the team at DirectDefense, and Sean Hoyt, LineageOS developer.

  • 01:21 - What's the experience of using a low-RAM Android device?
  • 05:56 - What methods have actors along the parts chain developed to manage memory?
  • 11:47 - What is Project Svelte and how did it help?
  • 16:56 - What tricks did device OEMs use to stretch active memory?
  • 21:56 - What does the Low RAM flag do in Project Svelte?
  • 25:46 - What's Android Go Edition?
  • 33:42 - Are there any other coping mechanisms outside of what Svelte and Go have offered?
  • 38:21 - Will RAM optimizations eventually kill the 32-bit application?

About the Podcast

Android Bytes (powered by Esper)

A weekly show that dives deep into the Android OS

Android Bytes (powered by Esper) is the podcast that dives deep into the engineering and business decisions behind the world’s most popular OS. 

Android powers over 3 billion devices worldwide and is the platform of choice for over a thousand companies. You’ll find Android on smartphones, tablets, watches, TV, cars, kiosks, and so much more. How does Google architect Android to run on so many form factors, and how do companies fork AOSP to make it run on even more devices? These are the kinds of questions the Android Bytes podcast considers each week.

Join cohosts Mishaal Rahman and David Ruddock, two journalists with extensive knowledge covering the Android OS platform and ecosystem, as they speak to system architects, kernel engineers, app developers, and other distinguished experts in the Android space.

Get in touch with us at if you’re looking to use Android for your product — we have the experience you need.

Our music is “19” by HOME and is licensed under CC BY 3.0.


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Mishaal Rahman
Mishaal Rahman

Mishaal Rahman is a Technical Editor at Esper. He has been an Android user for over a decade and has been at the forefront of Android news coverage for half a decade. His in-depth breakdowns of new Android versions have been referenced across the Internet.