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iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 7 Plus: Does 3GB of RAM really make a difference?

Published Sep 20th, 2016 10:44AM EDT
iPhone 7 3GB RAM iPhone 7 Plus
Image: Apple Inc.

There are two things that Apple never mentions during an iPhone event: the amount of RAM a phone has, and the battery capacity. But thanks to detailed teardowns that always confirm earlier rumors, we always find out. For example, the iPhone 7 has 2GB of RAM just like the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE. But the iPhone 7 Plus has 3GB of RAM, as it needs more memory to handle the extra camera features Apple introduced.

Does that extra gigabyte of RAM really make a difference in normal usage? Thanks to new test results that just hit the web, we now know the answer.

DON’T MISS: iPhone 7 vs. Galaxy Note 7 speed test: This is just embarrassing…

To compare the RAM performance of both devices, 9to5Mac put them through a simple test: Safari.

In the following clip, only Safari is running on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Each phone has the same websites loaded into memory, and the tester is simply going through the tabs in reverse order, from the most recent opened tab to the first one. As you’ll see, there’s no difference between the two phones when it comes to loading the webpages that are already in memory.

This is only a crude test to measure RAM performance on the two phones. Interestingly, similar comparisons between iPhones with 2GB of RAM (iPhone 6s, iPhone SE) and iPhones with just 1GB of RAM (iPhone 6, iPhone 5s) showed that the extra gigabyte of RAM mattered. But in this case, if RAM is among the deciding factors when choosing between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the dual-rear camera of the phablet isn’t, then you should have no problem purchasing the 4.7-inch model.

Yes, the amount of memory matters for other apps as well, and for multitasking, but it’s likely that you won’t notice any differences between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus when it comes to overall performance. This shows that Apple is right when it ignores RAM during its official keynotes, and when it doesn’t even list details like this on its website.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.