One of Google’s biggest announcements at the I/O event was the preview of the next big version of Android, code named Android L. Google says this update with bring a UI change, battery saving mode, lockscreen enhancements, and more including doubling the app performance thanks to the new ART runtime. ART is basically just a way the system processes how the applications run.
Android devices right now are running the Dalvik runtime, but many people don’t know that the option to switch to the new runtime is right under our noses in the developers settings.
Simply put, when you are in your settings, go to ‘About Phone’, then tap the build number seven times to unlock developer options on your Android phone. For those of you who have never done this, all this does is add a section to your settings menu, nothing else.
Once in developer options, you’ll see that you can select the runtime between Dalvik and ART. Go ahead and select ART. Once selected, your device will reboot, and the process of Android optimizing your apps will commence.
I want to include that I have a Nexus 4 (Android 4.4.3) that runs the Paranoid Android custom ROM. When I selected ART, I got a message saying Paranoid Android is not optimized for ART and that I should proceed at my own risk. I did it anyway and so far everything is fine for me, no crashes or bugs to note for the short time I’ve been using it, however this could vary depending on the phone. I personally haven’t noticed a big speed increase yet, but maybe I will once I give it a day or two.
Regardless, the option is there, and you must proceed at your own risk.