iPhoneOS: Available Memory

An iPhone has very limited memory, and even simple applications can easily trigger a low memory warning. If you've implemented caching for performance reasons, you'll often find yourself balancing memory consumption against user experience.

Measuring the current available RAM allows one to make pre-emptive decisions about memory utilization before a low memory warning is triggered, possibly avoiding overly broad cache evictions when a memory warning is triggered.

As far as I know, the only way to find out how much memory is left on the device is to ask the Mach VM statistics. The following code is commonly referenced to:

#import <mach/mach.h>
#import <mach/mach_host.h>

static void print_free_memory () {
mach_port_t host_port;
mach_msg_type_number_t host_size;
vm_size_t pagesize;

host_port = mach_host_self();
host_size = sizeof(vm_statistics_data_t) / sizeof(integer_t);
host_page_size(host_port, &pagesize);

vm_statistics_data_t vm_stat;

if (host_statistics(host_port, HOST_VM_INFO, (host_info_t)&vm_stat, &host_size) != KERN_SUCCESS)
NSLog(@"Failed to fetch vm statistics");

/* Stats in bytes */
natural_t mem_used = (vm_stat.active_count +
vm_stat.inactive_count +
vm_stat.wire_count) * pagesize;
natural_t mem_free = vm_stat.free_count * pagesize;
natural_t mem_total = mem_used + mem_free;
NSLog(@"used: %u free: %u total: %u", mem_used, mem_free, mem_total);

Also interesting is this snipped to free up some memory on the device:

/* Allocate the remaining amount of free memory, minus 2 megs * /
size_t size = freemem - (2*1024*1024);
void *allocation = malloc(size);
bzero(allocation, size);