M1 iPad Pro apps currently limited to 5GB of RAM, even 16GB version

iPad Pro 2021 review
iPad Pro 2021 review (Image credit: Daniel Bader / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's iPadOS apps are confined to using 5GB of RAM.
  • That includes apps on Apple's new iPad Pro, even the 16GB version.
  • Developer Procreate has confirmed it will pass on access to more when available, suggesting Apple could unlock the feature in the future.

A developer has confirmed that apps on iPadOS all have access to the same amount of RAM on the new M1 iPad Pro (2021), even the larger 16GB models.

After announcing its new M1 iPad update, illustration app Procreate confirmed on Twitter that "all M1 iPads have the same amount of RAM available" for developers to use:

It came after one user noted that they were hoping the 16GB M1 iPad Pro might have had more layers and dimensions than they were currently getting because it has more power. As noted by the developer, however, this isn't possible as they're limited across the board by iPadOS.

One Artstudio Pro developer in Procreate's forums claims that stress testing on the new M1 iPad Pro with 16GB of RAM suggests that only 5GB of the iPad's RAM is allocated to the app, with any more causing crashing. User Lucky Clan later noted:

After more tests i can write that both 8GB and 16GB M1 iPads caps memory for app at exactly the same limit 5.1 GB. iOS 14.6 didn't fix that...

As multiple reports have noted, Apple's iPadOS apps have always been limited in how much RAM they can use by iPadOS. However, the limit seems much more pronounced now because of how much RAM isn't being utilized by apps with a heavier workload (5GB of 16GB is a much smaller portion).

Of course, the iPad needs at least some of that RAM to keep iOS running and will require some to keep the iPad performing well when it comes to multitasking and Split View, app switching, and background tasks. With that being said, there does seem to be some untapped potential that Apple could unlock further down the line.

We've previously heard rumors that Apple may bring 'Pro' apps like Final Cut and Logic Pro are coming to the iPad sometime soon. Apple is also expected to unveil its new iPadOS operating system at WWDC in June, which could well be a prime opportunity for announcing how its new software will be able to unleash some of the iPad's currently untapped potential.

The new M1 iPad Pro is the best iPad available for Pro users, and there are already some discounts to be had on purchases, like the ones found in our roundup of best iPad Pro 2021 deals.


The new iPad Pro is the first iPad to feature Apple's M1 processor, the same chip that powers the Mac.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9