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Want ART on your Android 4.4 powered Nexus 5,4, 7 and 10? Here's how

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Want ART on your Android 4.4 powered Nexus 5,4, 7 and 10? Here's how
You might recall that back in November, we told you how Android 4.4 features Android RunTime on an experimental basis. The runtime environment is actually disabled on Android 4.4 as the Dalvik VM continues to use its "just-in-time" process for compiling the bytecode of an app. Dalvik won't compile the bytecode until you open an app. With ART, the bytecode is compiled when you install the app. This head start allows ART to run an app twice as fast as Dalvik while using half the resources of the processor.

If you own the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 or Nexus 10, and they are powered by Android 4.4.2, you can enable ART to run on your device and have a fairly smooth ride. ART wasn't ready for prime time on Android 4.4, but the later build seems to be offering a better experience.

Let's get going. First, you need to enable Developer Options on your Nexus device. Go to Settings > About and find the build number. Tap it repeatedly. You'll be prompted when you are close to enabling Developer Options, and then you will see the final prompt.

Now, go to Developer options and scroll down to "Select runtime." Pick ART and it is all over but the shouting. Your Nexus device will reboot which should take at least 20 minutes and all of your apps will be converted to ART. Keep in mind that not all apps have been configured to work with ART.

The last step is to let us know if you notice the difference in speed when opening and running apps on your Nexus device. Eventually, all Android devices will be using ART.


source: RedmondPie

35 Comments
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posted on 01 Mar 2014, 15:01 1

1. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1201; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


I knew that. Just saying.

EDIT: I'll do that when all apps have been optimised.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 17:10 3

11. Finalflash (Posts: 1588; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Going to hijack this comment here, DO NOT DO THIS. It will reset most off your app data for games and such. There is no real benefit to this at the moment so do not attempt it.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 17:27

12. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 1201; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


Alright thanks.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 19:05 4

17. tedkord (Posts: 4504; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


I haven't noticed any app data lost. I have noticed that some apps didn't restore properly with titanium backup, and need to be uninstalled and reinstalled.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 20:03 3

18. jove39 (Posts: 1262; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Real or not...but I have noticed youtube app opens (first time after reboot) little faster with ART. My N5 is running ART from day one and had no problem.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 15:01 6

2. varuntis1993 (Posts: 43; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)


I think every Nexus user already knows that.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 15:36

3. ringone (Posts: 2; Member since: 01 Mar 2014)


In Moto g it's possible too. I don't know how work, but it's possible.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 15:41 9

4. PBXtech (Posts: 970; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


C'mon people, articles like this are important because there's always going to be new users. And sometimes us veterans need reminding as well so we don't become complacent.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 15:48 1

5. HildyJ (Posts: 95; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Question - if an app is not configured to work with ART, will the app fail (close or error message) when opened after reboot or will it fall back to JIT?

Also, for recalcitrant apps, is there an error log generated during the compile process?

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 16:13 4

6. _Bone_ (Posts: 2107; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


ART was probably the best thing mobile tech gave us last year. It's incredible! My Nexus 4 smacks all the Davlik running Note 3s, G2s, Ones and Z1s around, checked it, all lag behind. It's such a joy that I gave up the desire to get the Nexus 5, money well saved for something else.

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 06:59

26. 1701nino (Posts: 242; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)


Yeah i turned it on a month ago also on my nexus 4,so happy with it,everything is smooth as butter and for some reason my battery lasts longer.And now with the google experience launcher everything is like on nexus 5,perfect.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 16:24

7. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 329; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)


I switched it on in late November and I forgot about it until now. I didn't notice a difference then but if it's optimized now I might switch it back to see Dalvik is any worse.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 16:36 2

8. PBXtech (Posts: 970; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


I did the same thing with my N7 and forgot it was activated. Both seem to run fine though, not sure which was faster because both run great. I'm leaving ART on though, mainly because it seems to be the direction Android is going.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 16:40

9. AfterShock (Posts: 2644; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Using it since it showed up.
All my apps work fine with it, YMMV.
It either works or it don't for those wondering.

Not ever going back to jit/dalvik.
Surprised no mention of dalvik an bionic patches, they make a big difference in dalvik mainly, but some small boost to ART as well.

posted on 03 Mar 2014, 09:39

33. SellPhones82 (Posts: 488; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


Yeah, I've thought about switching but use xposed framework and I don't believe it's compatible with ART at this time. I've also been use the bionic patches on my N5 and the phone flies so I've had no reason to even try it.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 17:07 2

10. mrbtree98 (Posts: 50; Member since: 04 Aug 2012)


it should be added that the nexus 7 2012 tegra 3 model can't use art for some reason on the stock firmware. custom roms are fine just with stock, google didn't add it in.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 17:53 1

13. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5559; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


the Moto X on 4.4.2 supports this change as well. ;)

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 20:41

19. jacobxtyler (Posts: 26; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)


Have you tested it yet? Making the change now on my VZW Moto X.

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 01:21

22. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5559; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


my 5S is my current primary so not extensively yet but i noticed it loaded my instagram feed faster than usual. even faster than on my 5S.

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 09:19

28. jacobxtyler (Posts: 26; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)


Other than taking forever to 'optimize' at boot, i can't really tell much of a difference. Moto X is already pretty snappy.

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 11:25

30. blazee (Posts: 254; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


I'm tempted to try this on my tmovBile moto x. Did you loose any app data when you switched?

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 18:03

32. true1984 (Posts: 586; Member since: 23 May 2012)


htc one as well

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 18:09

14. aco96 (Posts: 189; Member since: 12 Oct 2012)


I have Samsung ATIV S and I was thinking about buying LG G2. Should I buy it?

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 18:39 2

15. AfterShock (Posts: 2644; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


That is up to you and your feeling on it.
Weigh your options, make the best choice for yourself.
Be happy with your choice and enjoy it regardless of us all.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 18:52 3

16. PBXtech (Posts: 970; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


I own a G2, great phone. I was looking at the G2 and the Moto X but went with the G2 because the screen size is incredible for such a small phone. Battery life is outstanding too. I'd recommend swinging by your carrier store and taking a look at one in real life.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 20:47

20. philipjfry (Posts: 7; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)


ART is not available for Nexus 10s.

posted on 01 Mar 2014, 21:05

21. Heatfan316 (Posts: 366; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


I did this awhile ago and noticed only a minor increase in performance, like 2-3 seconds in boot times and about a half of a second in app launches.

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 01:54

23. shahrooz (Posts: 116; Member since: 17 Sep 2013)


I do not use it because it does not support Xposed

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 04:20

24. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 595; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


Thanks for the headups, thought about switching to ART but I'm using Xposed as well

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 04:22

25. jagreci (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Nov 2013)


The one thing I don't like about ART is that when you shut your N5 down and turn it back on for any reason, it takes 5 minutes to get to full boot. The phone goes through the app optimizing again and with dalvik the phone takes about 30 seconds to get to full boot. That part kinda sucks if you need to use your phone when your wife is trying to get a hold of you at WalMart and your just getting off work waiting for your phone to boot up and then she gets mad because you didn't answer your phone, ha! Just saying.

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 08:38

27. tehalley (Posts: 13; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)


Not there on a Nexus 10 tablet...

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 09:39

29. networkdood (Posts: 6261; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Huh, my Nexus 5 scored around a 35k on AnTuTu, using BobCat ROM and ELEMENTAL X kernel - looks like I was using runtime Davlik as some apps I use dislike ART - will have to double check how my benchmarks do with ART, just for the fun of it...

posted on 02 Mar 2014, 17:21

31. Augustine (Posts: 678; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


When my N7#1 got the update, it spent some 10 min compiling the existing apps, or so it said in the progress bar.

posted on 03 Mar 2014, 11:52

34. vishu9 (Posts: 251; Member since: 03 Mar 2011)


@Alan F. This option doesn't exist on the Nexus 10!

posted on 06 May 2014, 06:24

35. snimje (Posts: 1; Member since: 06 May 2014)


After using ART for about 12 hrs I found that App auto updates and OK google voice search was not working. Is it with me or did anyone face he same thing?

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