Android Run Time – Enjoy the Future of Android

Along with the launch of Android 4.4 ‘KitKat’ on 31st October another very important but underreported tool was also introduced, named ART. And when in early December Android 4.4.2 update was launched, it is ready to appear in the mainstream. What is this ART? ART is something which quite plainly will change the way all Android phones work.

Android RunTime

ART is the acronym of Android RunTime and its job is very important – to run the apps on Android phones. ART has replaced Dalvik which used to perform this task right from the introduction of Android. As you might think Dalvik was getting very old and in the first place, it wasn’t that great. With ART it will get boot to give users two prominent benefits:

Increased Speed: To understand this, some tech speak is required here.

Dalvik makes use of the Just-in-time (JIT) process meaning it changes app source code in an executable program whenever it starts. Yes, Android apps need to go through a conversion every time they are started.

On the other hand, ART uses AOT, i.e. Ahead-of-time process and this does the conversion (compiles) right when the app is installed. Therefore this method reduces the launching time of apps to less than half and that will have a dramatic effect on the speed of your phone.

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Improved Battery Life: AOT process makes the app-launch less intense. Eventually your phone doesn’t have to work very hard, resulting into improved battery life.


However, ART has some minuses too.

More Storage: To be exact, the installed apps use more storage, about 10% to 20%. The reason for this is the pre-complied apps which let ART run so fast and effectively need to be installed this way which turns them bigger as compared to the on-demand process of Dalvik. Those of you who have installed hoards of apps this could take a prominent chunk of your space and they will take even a bit longer to install.

How to Get It?

Starters have to run Android 4.4 which at present limits you to Google Nexus lineup or a custom ROM on a rooted phone. (However this will probably change soon, because majority of handset manufacturers have now determined to upgrade their main devices to V 4.4 in the 1st quarter.) As KitKat is more compatible with budget phones than the earlier versions of Android, it should be the version of choice also for new budget phones.

ART has not yet become the default setting in Android 4.4.x. Here is how you can get it:

  1. Go to settings and then to “About Phone”.
  2. Tap the “Build Number” repetitively till you receive the announcement that you are a developer.
  3. Go back to settings and you will see a new “Developer Options” section.
  4. In “Developer Options” section change “Select Runtime” to “Use ART”.

The phone will be rebooted and that will take about 10-20 minutes to change your current app installations to be ART compatible. You can see a countdown during this. And you need not worry about your app data, as all of it is safe. If you want to switch back, just select “Use Dalvik” in the Developer Options. It will take around 10 minutes to finish and here too no app data will be lost.

But if you stick to ART you should congratulate yourself, because you will be enjoying the future of Android.