Foliobook does some things some competing apps don’t, like allowing unlimited numbers of galleries to be used, and also using a full size image import for zooming, the use of moving backgrounds (video) for the home page and subcategories and so on.

The problem

These capabilities while useful use the resources of the iPad quite heavily, and those resources are often thin on the ground, the main one being the available RAM in the iPad.

For those who are not familiar with the difference, the RAM (random access memory) is what the iPad uses as a ‘short term memory’ for running programs and this is completely different to the storage space that is available for holding your movies, iTunes music, apps and pictures.

While you can buy an iPad with 16, 32 or 64Gb of storage space, the maximum RAM available to an iPad is just 1Gb. And its the availability of this RAM that can affect the performance of apps such as Foliobook which handle the demanding needs of images.

On the iPad 1 the amount of RAM available is 256 Megabytes, and on the iPad 2 this is 512 Megabytes. There's not much room for programs to play in. In fact Safari can regularly use 60Mb of memory, and Foliobook needs about 16-20 to run smoothly. At best on an iPad1 there is often only 60-100Mb available that apps like Foliobook can use, so its easy to get that filled up if Safari is running at the same time.

Users of the iPad2 should very rarely encounter problems as the iPad 2 comes with twice the available RAM of the iPad1.

The iPad 3 has 1Gb of RAM which should be enough for anyone. However because of the retina display, images take 4x as much memory to be displayed, so keep that in mind when you fancy loading up an 80 megapixel image! There are limits even to the iPad 3.

Luckily, for the iPad user there are things you can do that make Foliobook run better if you see the following symptoms.
1) You get 'low memory warnings' 

2) Foliobook exits a gallery without being ‘told’ to do it.
3) Pictures move more jerkily than usual.
4) Reactions to links, buttons, navigation seems very slow.
5) The app exits by itself (crash).

Before allowing Foliobook to be sold via the app store we run tests of a variety of types which means that crashes are not caused by bugs in our program, crashes are almost always just caused by Foliobook running low on RAM, so this is something the user can help avoid, and we can’t do much about at our end, without removing some of the nice things our app does.

The fix

Luckily 9 times out of 10 there is a remedy that only takes a few seconds to use.

Double click on the round button on the iPad. You will then see a bar slide up from the bottom of the screen showing you what apps are running on the iPad in addition to Foliobook.

If you see Mobile Safari running, your problems may be over just by shutting that down as it uses a lot of RAM, in general it needs about twice the space Foliobook needs, but in truth it can’t hurt to shut down apps that you aren’t currently using and which are just hogging RAM when you don’t need them.

To shut down one or more app, touch one of the app icons and hold the finger down until the icons acquire badges and start to wiggle.

Once you see this, just tap the ‘-’ badge on the upper left to close the apps that appear here.

When you are done closing apps, just double click the round button again… and Foliobook will occupy the full screen again. So if you encounter a problem, such as slowness, you can quickly close some background apps without needing to stop and restart Foliobook.

In the past we’ve advised people to power off their iPad and power it on again, thats guaranteed to clean up a few things, but its very disruptive. Closing down background apps is much less time consuming and may be something you can even do in the middle of a presentation.

We would advise closing down unnecessary apps *before* you even start Foliobook and definitely before you give a presentation of your work.

In future we want to add some more capabilities to Foliobook like music playing during a slideshow, each feature we add can mean that Foliobook needs a bit more space to run successfully.

Careful management of apps in the background is the quick and easy way to get the best out of our app for users of older iPads.