How to get the Android L performance boost on your phone now (swap Dalvik with ART tutorial)

Android L introduces the new Material Design to the world, but the update to L is not just about the visual appeal - it’s also about improved performance. There are many optimizations that Google made under the hood, but the one with the hugest impact in the future is the change to a brand new runtime environment - ART.

How to get the Android L performance boost on your phone now (swap Dalvik with ART tutorial)
Skipping the technicalities, let’s just say that the current runtime environment - Dalvik - only supports 32-bit apps, while the new one is fully 64-bit aware. While we are yet to witness the first Android phones with a 64-bit chip, good news is that you can use this new environment even on your existing device to get some of the performance enhancements coming with Android L.

The tutorial below will work with Android 4.4 KitKat (and newer) devices - earlier ones simply did not have that option. Luckily, this includes not just the Google Nexus series, but also popular phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), the LG G3, and so on.

How to do it? First, go into Settings, scroll to the bottom, and tap on "About phone." There, you'd see the "Build number" field - tap on it seven consecutive times, and this will enable 'Developer options'. The second step is to now go back to the Settings menu and find the newly-appeared 'Developer options' menu where you should look for 'Select runtime'. 

Tap on it and check the 'ART' button (the default one is Dalvik). And voila, that's all it takes!

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44 Comments

1. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Any problems changing to ART?

3. nazyr1803

Posts: 100; Member since: Jan 11, 2013

I only experience one problem. Opening facebook took longer duration rather than dalvik. Im using moto g and facebook much faster on dalvik.

5. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I'm just worried that the app data might get lost, and that developers may be too slow to make apps compatible.

28. gmp009

Posts: 23; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

any performance improvement ?? as me using moto g too ;)

32. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

None for me. I am using it on N4 for few weeks now. No (visible) performance improvement or any battery benefits. Things look exactly same. if someone changed it to Dalvik without me knowing, I wouldn't have know a single bit. I would say 95% same result. Can't say for Moto G. N4 feels same.

42. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

Nexus 4?

15. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

On curiousiy..i tried this to my htc one m8 and 1st problem ive encountered is that the power button is not working..i cannot turn it off or restart the phone...so i change it back to dalvic...much better to just wait for the official release of android L

31. mynameisfyl

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Mine did the same for about 2 minutes, then it worked just fine.

16. DEATHSTROKE9

Posts: 399; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Unless you have a galaxy s3 running cm11. In that case ART will actually slow down your phone smh :-/

19. yorkeandvedder

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 10, 2011

I'm on the same boat (GS3, CM11). How bad is the slowdown? Is there any reason to switch to ART that you've noticed?

21. tedkord

Posts: 17133; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I have a GS3 with CM11. No slow down. Not a huge speed boost either. Most apps launch more quickly. I don't use Facebook, so I can't confirm what the poster above said about it being slower.

30. NasirMalik

Posts: 8; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

Having WiFi connection problems on my S5. Have to type password each time I want to connect it to the WiFi

34. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

The only downside is that some apps do not work with ART...

2. M_Shaaban

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

Is there a workaround to enable ART on HTC One (M7)? There's no Runtime option under "Developer Options" on HTC One (M7) Developer Edition running Android 4.4.2 and Sense 6.0

4. nazyr1803

Posts: 100; Member since: Jan 11, 2013

Read carefully. Only latest device have that option, device that already 'old' recieve kitkat update dont have it

7. lhtbinh1909

Posts: 94; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

My friend has a new Nexus 7 (2013) and there is 'SELECT RUNTIME' option. Isn't it a "device that already 'old' recieve kitkat"?

10. UglyFrank

Posts: 2191; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Do we really need to explain why a nexus device would receive it?

12. lhtbinh1909

Posts: 94; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

I just say it because of nazyr1803's statement :)

47. DJY4m4

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 24, 2014

Hey bud, yes u can use ART but u need to update to Android 4.4.3 and lastest firmware | 6.09.401.5 | So.. Just find this ROM ARTMOD v5.2 or any other 4.4.3 that says it support ART

6. lhtbinh1909

Posts: 94; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

I have Note 10.1 N8000 running 4.4.2 but can't find the 'SELECT RUNTIME'

9. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

same problem on my note3.

8. GoBears

Posts: 456; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

If you currently use a lot of older APK's there's a good chance they will not be compatible with ART. Also some root mods such as Xposed do not work with ART so be warned that some of your apps just will not work in the new Runtime.

46. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Also, for anyone who's already taken the step to using Xposed and the like... Instead of using ART, you may as well just switch to franco.Kernel or the Qualcomm Optimized Dalvik/Bionic combo. To my knowledge, they're still better than ART. Of course, then the problem receiving the OTA updates, but that's a different ball of wax.

11. N3Z1droid

Posts: 89; Member since: Jan 02, 2014

nope3x... for N 3 & Z 2. Cant find "Select runtime"

13. AdamLeonard

Posts: 61; Member since: Aug 24, 2011

I've heard that ART in Android L is different than ART in KitKat and there is little benefit to enabling ART in KitKat - or at least not nearly as much benefit as Android L will provide.

17. LoveHater

Posts: 234; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

yes art -L has memory optimization + new Garbage collector art- Kitkat only experimental

14. xMichaelDuncanx

Posts: 16; Member since: Jun 12, 2014

That is so not fair I have Note 3 on 4.4.2 and I don't have that !:(

23. tedkord

Posts: 17133; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

From what I understand, TouchWiz is incompatible with ART so far, so Samsung left the library off those phones so people wouldn't screw up their devices.

29. livyatan

Posts: 867; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

The latest TouchWiz on the S5 is compatible. Us Note 3 owners on stock ROM will have to wait for the Samsung OTA upgrade

35. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Deal with it. You bought a Samsung phone and this is the way Samsung works...

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