Dave Burke explains Android 14’s big battery and performance improvements


  • Android 14 brings significant performance with 30% less cold start and 50% reduction in background activity.
  • Major improvements include changes to the system’s handling of RAM and processor workloads, resulting in significant improvements for users.
  • Android 14 also includes optimizations in ART (Android Runtime), reducing storage usage by up to 9% and freeing up 50MB to 100MB of data in optimized apps.

We’ve talked about it before, but Android 14 seems to really make a difference in performance. With the advent of Feature Drops, major OS release bumps aren’t as cluttered with user-facing changes as they used to be. But Android 14 has several big improvements that users will definitely notice, even if they aren’t new visual or performance upgrades: Google has changed the way the system handles RAM and CPU workloads, and the end result should be a significant performance boost.

Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of engineering who oversees Android development, shared information about many of these changes in an interview on the company’s podcast, The Android Show (via 9to5Google). “We’ve done a lot to reduce the CPU activity of background apps, and the result is now 30 percent fewer cold starts in Android 14,” says Burke. “Cold start is when you have to read pages of code from flash and read them before they run in memory, right, and so that 30 percent reduction is very dramatic, and you feel that as a user.”

Google listed some of these as the first builds of the Android 14 developer preview in February 2023. The company explained that the new version limits broadcasts, which are the system’s way of communicating with apps when a critical change occurs. Such as reducing the phone’s battery level or changing its internet connection from Wi-Fi to mobile data. Developers are also advised not to use detailed alarms to schedule tasks in their apps, unless these apps are intended to be used as clocks or calendars.

Burke explained that trying to reduce the chill for apps involves walking a fine line. “We wanted to increase the number of cache processes – these are the processes that are in RAM – to get a warmer start. But doing that, if you have a lot of cache processes and if they’re not really sleeping, that’s the risk. Quiesce – if they’re not really sleeping – They start using more CPU activity and then start consuming battery.”

In the end, some significant performance gains were achieved. “The team has actually been able to reduce background activity by 50 percent, with CPU metering, and we’ve done that through a bunch of projects internally to stop processes properly, but also reduce streams,” Burke explained. ». “Reducing replays and actually queuing them up after a program is uncached results in a 30% increase in cold starts.”

You know, it’s kind of beyond my expectations. I was excited about what we were doing, but I think the team did a really great job on that.

– Improved the performance of Dev Burk in Android 14

But playbacks and background activities aren’t the only major changes. ART 14 (Android Runtime) includes optimizations that should reduce the storage space occupied without compromising performance. Explaining this, Burke added: “We reduced the code size by 9% by collapsing recursive expressions and making various optimizations in the compiler. A machine that has anywhere between 500 megabytes and one gigabyte of optimized code – these are applications. that you have installed and optimized – the savings is like 50MB to 100MB of data that we just freed up.”

So while it might not seem like much of an upgrade when you first try Android 14, give it some time. Chances are, once you’ve put the battery through a few cycles and crunched the numbers, you’ll find tangible improvements — or, as Pixel 6 and 7 users can attest, maybe even a little more.

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