In a nutshell: Despite sharing the same M1 chips as the new MacBooks and iMacs, the latest iPad Pros have so far been limited by a hard cap on the amount of memory an app can use. The latest iPadOS beta appears to be changing that, although most users are unlikely to benefit from it.
The 2021 update of the iPad Pro – dubbed “the fastest device of its kind” – is available with 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM, depending on the memory configuration selected. However, in May it was discovered that apps could only allocate 5GB of that capacity before the crash, even though the operating system was still able to use all of the device’s memory.
Apple’s second iOS and iPadOS 15 betas, released to developers Thursday, allowed developers to request a permission that gives their apps access to more RAM, and app still needs to behave correctly when it can’t access more memory .
There is also a function that can be called to determine the amount of RAM available, which suggests that there is no explicitly defined higher limit on the memory app usage.
Of course, the list of “supported devices” is likely limited to the newest iPad pros as they are the only ones with enough RAM to worry about the 5GB limit. Earlier generations of the iPad Pro were maxed out at 6GB and other models at 4GB or less, hence the rule to do the right thing with less storage.
We also saw apps that actually require more RAM, as the original limit of 5 GB was only announced by the developer of the photo editing app Artstudio Pro during the stress test of the tablets.
The lifting of this restriction could be seen as positive news for iPad Pro owners as it brings their tablets closer to par with macOS laptops as Apple unifies its ecosystem with the M1 chip and beyond. We’ll have to wait until fall to see it on the App Store apps, however, as that’s when iOS, iPadOS, and all of the other updates announced at WWDC21 should arrive.