- Google released a more efficient version of Android Runtime (ART) that uses 9% less code, resulting in 50-100MB storage savings per device and petabytes saved globally.
- Devices running Android 12 and later can benefit from ART 14, which is updated through Google Play system updates.
- The optimization techniques used in ART 14 include measure like eliminating write barriers and dead code.
Google released a new version of the Android Runtime (ART), which is in charge of translating apps’ bytecode into native instructions. According to the company, the new version is more efficient than its predecessor and uses up about 9% less code without any performance penalties. This allows memory and storage savings of about 50 to 100MB per average Android device, resulting in 47 to 95 petabytes saved on all supported devices globally.
Since ART hasn’t been a system component on Android for a while now and can be updated independently from the system, devices running Android 12 and later can all take advantage of it, according to Mishaal Rahman. ART 14, the new version, is updated via the Google Play system updates, which are rolling out to phones automatically.
Google goes in-depth about how it achieved these storage savings in its blog post, but the gist is that the company optimized certain processes happening in the translation. For example, Google says that it’s eliminating write barriers, optimizing loops, eliminating dead code and more. Combined, these changes can make a significant difference. They might be part of the reason why Android 14, which launched with ART 14, is perceived as a big improvement in battery life and performance for many.
A previous ART update managed to cut down app startup times for millions of devices, allowing them to be ready for use about 30% faster on average.
ART is a replacement for Dalvik, which served the same purpose on older Android versions. ART was first introduced as a preview in Android 4.4 KitKat and then fully replaced Dalvik with Android 5 Lollipop, one of the biggest visual refreshes that the operating system had seen to that date. In Android 12, Google turned ART into a mainline module, which allows the company to update the runtime without pushing a full system update. That’s the reason why so many devices can already take advantage of the new version.
Even though the new version only saves a few dozen MB on most phones, the change scales up across the entire ecosystem, making many devices run smoother all while freeing up some precious RAM and storage in the process.
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