The new Virtual Memory Swap feature Apple announced for iPadOS 16 is one that appears to have been copied from Android, but it will bring improvements in performance to iPad. Apple is continually pitching the iPad as an alternative to a laptop. Last year, it announced a new iPad Pro powered by the Apple M1 chip, bringing the processing power of the MacBook to the iPad.

The 2021 iPad Pro not only has the same chipset as the 2020 MacBook Air, but it is also the first iPad with up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of onboard storage. There are other tablets with 16GB of RAM, such as the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. There’s even a version of the Surface Pro 8 with 32GB of RAM, although its storage capacity is only 1TB.

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Virtual Memory Swap is a new feature coming to the iPad with the release of iPadOS 16. What it does is allocate some of the device’s storage to use as memory (RAM) for demanding apps. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is no different from the Virtual RAM feature available on a lot of Android smartphones, albeit the Android version goes by different names like “RAM Plus,” “Extended RAM,” or “Dynamic RAM Expansion,” depending on the manufacturer. According to AppleVirtual memory swap will be able to expand the memory available for all apps, “delivering up to 16GB of memory for the most demanding apps.”

Not All iPads Will Support Virtual Memory Swap


Apple iPad Pro 2021

When the iPad is running out of memory (RAM), Virtual Memory Swap should kick in and allocate some of the device’s storage for use, keeping apps in memory and not reloading/relaunching when a user switches from one to another. It will also allow for faster switching between open apps and windows, which should translate to better multitasking. Judging from Apple’s announcement, however, Virtual Memory Swap will only be available on select iPads.

Essentially, iPad models powered by Apple’s M1 chip, such as the 12.9-inch and 11-inch iPad Pro (2021) and the iPad Air (2022), will be compatible with Virtual Memory Swap. All other iPads won’t benefit from this feature, at least for now. Apart from having an M1-powered iPad, sufficient storage space will also be needed. While that shouldn’t be a big deal for those with models that have 512GB, 1TB or even 2TB of storage, those with much smaller storage capacities will have less storage available for personal use, and Virtual Memory Swap. More details about this new iPad feature should become available when Apple releases iPadOS 16 later this fall.