“Dalvik is dead”: Google replaces Dalvik with ART in AOSP master branch

by: Bogdan PetrovanJune 19, 2014

android 4.4 kitkat logo 1

Google has just pushed changes to the master branch of AOSP that remove the aging Dalvik virtual machine and replace it with ART.

It’s been a long way coming, but ART is finally taking the reins from the venerable Dalvik as Android’s default virtual machine. Standing for Android Runtime, ART was introduced in Android 4.4 KitKat as an experimental feature that users could activate from Developer Options. At the time, Google made it clear that ART was still a work in progress and that issues with various apps were to be expected.

One of the biggest differences between ART and Dalvik is that ART pre-compiles bytecode when the app is installed, unlike Dalvik, which requires Just-in-Time compilation, which happens when an app is launched. Through Ahead-of-Time compilation, ART cuts down app launch time in half, according to Google, though users are not likely to notice a huge effect on performance. More about ART vs Dalvik here.

Now it looks as ART is finally ready for primetime. As spotted by XDA Portal, two commits made to the Android Open Source Project (the open source base of Android) remove Dalvik and replace it with ART. The two changes were made by Google senior software engineer Brian Carlstrom to the master branch of AOSP.

The first commit removes Dalvik components from the project, while the second switches to the new Android Runtime.

art commit aosp (1)


art commit aosp (2)

The first signs that Google was readying to switch to ART emerged in January, when the new runtime was made the default option. Back then, Dalvik was kept as a fallback option, but following today’s commits that’s no longer the case.

So, what does that mean for the average user? Changes in AOSP are added to stock Android (and later to OEM implementations) through system updates. While we can’t speculate when it will happen, the next version of Android will definitely make the move to ART. With Google I/O next week, it’s tempting to see the switch as a sign of something new coming, but that may be just wishful thinking.

ART still poses problems to a few apps, most notably the Xposed framework. However, developers will have plenty of time to get their apps up to snuff before the change finally begins trickling down to users.

  • fatspirit

    Xposed is the only app that stops me from switching to ART right now.

    • CherriMattinsontyy

      my classmate’s
      aunt makes $68 every hour on the computer . She has been fired for 7 months but
      last month her paycheck was $15495 just working on the computer for a few
      hours. visit the site R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

    • The Lion

      I personally use F.ART

      • s2weden2000

        you use an aijphoney..nothing else…

  • Mattias Jonsson

    There is a major performance difference between ART and Dalvik on the Nexus 4, both on stock and custom roms! I have switched to Dalvik a number of times to use xposed, but i’d always end up switching back to ART after a day or two. ART is just faster. Specially when switching between apps, opening and closing the mulitasking menu, and pressing the home or back key.

    • RarestName

      This is also true on the Moto G and Nexus 7 (2013).

    • Melad360

      exactly me on nexus 5. just can’t give up the responsiveness of ART

  • More Bugs than Fixes with Android 4.4.3 KitKat Update

    The much anticipated Android 4.4.3 KitKat update from Google has come under the light but for all the wrong reasons. Initially slated to improve the Android KitKat firmware, the latest version from the internet giants has more bugs than fixes, along with other problems. Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 users have been vocal of the problems they are facing with the latest update. Android KitKat 4.4.3 was promised as a bug fixing and performance improving firmware over adding new features. But from the looks of it, it has failed to do so, and it won’t be long before other Android users realize what’s wrong with the latest Android version.

    New Bugs and Other Problems

    The reports suggest that Nexus device users are experiencing many issues with the latest Android firmware. Some of the reported issues include random reboots, auto brightness control, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Wi-Fi connectivity in Android KitKat has been dodgy for the most part, along with other issues.

    The call history tends to show a black screen with no contacts whatsoever. Even with the slider being available, users have reported to not see any contact details or call history.

    Reports reveal that the KitKat 4.4.3 users are facing dialer crash more often than not. Whenever a user opens the keypad to dial a number, the dialer will crash with a crash prompt notification. Users have also reported that they can’t see the names of whom they’re calling or who are calling them.

    Battery draining has been a prevalent issue with the Android KitKat and the latest update only makes it worse. Many users are complaining that they are experiencing more battery drainage with the update.

    These are some of the common issues that users are facing with their Kitkat update. However many users claim that these problems can be fixed by either booting the smart phone or by clearing the cache from Google Play Store.

    • Phil Rigby

      Source of this info, please. I haven’t had any of these issues with my Nexus 5 – sometimes as Stock, sometimes Paranoid. Copy and Paste of some website means nothing. “Reports reveal.” What reports? Who is the source?

    • droidtomtom

      I have 4.4.3 on my Galaxy S3 i747 using OmniRom and GideonX BMS Boop Kernel. I have not had any issues going from 4.4.2 to 4.4.3. Google Maps still crashes all the time :( but it always has. I have to use Mapquest instead.

      I love the new dialer it is a big improvement. Both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi work great as well as Bluetooth. I have not tried ART with it yet.

      I had battery drain issues with the CM kernel included with OmniRom but the GideonX BMS Boop Kernel has great battery life (you have to reflash the kernel every time you update OmniRom because it over-writes it with the CM Kernel and the battery life is a drastic difference).

    • Stephan Hall

      I’ve been watching and I have no issues with 4.4.3.In fact … I love the new dialer. I’ve been running ART on the Nexus 5 and I must admit that it is very noticeably faster. I am impressed!

  • daniel hariri

    Xposed need deodexed rom and ART is Odexed… the Odexed apk cannot be modified at all… Xposed need a total change it their code…

    • Paco Inurreta

      Rov already said there is going to be ART support a few weeks AFTER the final release of ART, since there is no point in releasing while ART is still an experimental thing, full of bugs.

  • Dalvik

    Please don’t kill me!

    • Hussain Murtaza Syed

      Lol don’t worry old friend,we still have phones that will use you as their runtime

    • ART

      Mah time to shine babeee!

    • WinRT

      I also exist

      • The Lion

        no you don’t you only think you do.

    • Symbian

      Somebody help me!

    • Tizen

      sup guys?

      • SailfishOS

        Hey cousin, how u doing? When will you come with us?

    • SailfishOS

      Hey, MS killed Nokia, but I escaped in a Jolla (boat in finish).

      Make room for me guys, I’m fast and I’m growing.

    • alex0000000001

      No worries; it’ll be another 2 or 3 years until you’re outnumbered by ART.

  • MasterMuffin

    So they’re taking the option to change back to Dalvik away completely? Isn’t that going to make app testing harder for devs (I don’t know if there’s a chance an app would work on ART but not on Dalvik)? Also haha users of xposed :P

    • That’s how it looks like.

    • thartist

      Oh, interesting point! Now that you put it like that, i find it interesting that Google is so decidedly forcing ART instead of leaving legacy options available, dragging innovation forever.

      I guess it’s painful at first, but it works wonders for the platform’s evolution. I wonder how it will go as we’re still very fragmented, while say, an iOS or even Windows Phone level of version parity would have made it that much easier.

      • MasterMuffin

        It might also hurt hacking and theme makers, because ART needs odexed ROMs to work

        • The Lion

          say what.

          • MasterMuffin

            Modifying .apk files is easier when they’re deodexed

  • Chris

    I forgot about ART! I recently got 4.4 on my Note 2. How can I enable ART? Thanks!

    • Settings>Developer options

      • joseph carmine nero

        On S4 sammy omited ART.i guess its same with note2

        • alex0000000001

          Same with Nexus 10. Hardly any devices support ART.

      • Chris

        I don’t see the option to switch to ART in there. Is it available on touchwiz 4.4.2?

        • Markuzy

          It’s available on the S5 Touchwiz 4.4.2, but turning it on breaks private mode and some other stuff

    • Jayfeather787

      Go to developer option and select ART in the Android runtime.
      If you do not see developer options, go to about phone, and tap biuld number about times until you see a little toast notification that developer options has been enabled.

      • Chris

        I don’t see the option to switch to ART in there. Is it available on touchwiz 4.4.2

        • Jayfeather787

          Dont know about touchwiz. I dont have touchwiz.

          • Jayfeather787


          • Jayfeather787

            Ignore these, I thought it didn’t send the first time.

          • Chris

            Yeah that option definitely isn’t available on my phone :/ Thanks anyway

    • zhangxiaoshi


  • wat

    What was the next scheduled run time called, ARTs successor? Why didn’t you mention it here? Google need to ensure Android x64 works with Qualcomm, MediaTek, etc chips now too cus Intel is on their tail til then.

  • John Zakaria

    Dear Sony ART Shouldn’t be removed from your android version stop being lazy and add it back

    • A Skylit [S]unjΔy

      They’ll be forced to add it back now.

    • bozzykid

      It isn’t being lazy. ART was always an experimental feature. I’m honestly surprised any OEM included it in their releases up until now.

  • Andrew

    It should be noted that having ART enabled makes your apps take much more data on your device, since it creates a type of fastboot pre built for the apps so it doesn’t need to compile the app every time you attempt to load it. That’s how I think it work.
    Time for some spring/summer cleaning of photos and videos you’ve been holding on to.

    • Michael Jones

      Increased app size from ART is usually under 10% and very rarely gets over 20% so I wouldn’t exactly say it takes “much more” data on your device. That and the fact that the ART we have now is still experimental you may see even less of an increase.

      • BB

        It definitely won’t be “much more.” It’s only increasing when compiling the application itself. Games and other applications that contain large data resources (images, etc.) will see a relatively small increase, as it won’t affect those resources.


    DO NOT MERGE! – Merged.

  • I use Xposed and ART. Unless my ROM is lying to me and I’m not actually using it

    • Joe

      You’re rom is lying or Xposed is lying. Xposed needs a total rework to work with ART.

      • Joe

        Your*. I apologize for my keyboard’ overzealous autocorrect.

      • You’re right its not actually switching to ART. When I go in dev settings and select ART it reboots and does the fix permissions deal but I just checked and its back on Dalvik. Weird. I never go back and check so I always assumed since I set it for ART it was using ART.

  • Jaime A.G.

    When Google will manage to learn something?? STOP USING DAMN VIRTUAL MACHINES!! Just use NATIVE CODE, stop LAZYNESS!

    • Bob

      Single native code for Android is pretty hard since it is across multiple architectures. Maybe you need to calm down. If it was so easy it would have been done by now.

      • Jaime A.G.

        We have only a few major cpu makers, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Mediatek, and all of these use the same instructions: ARM.

        Linux runs in PPC, x86, x64, ARM, MIPS and so on.. nothing is impossible if you aren’t lazy.

    • EarlyMon

      Lazy had zero to do with it. You may understand virtual machines but you missed the point of the Dalvik.

  • Duane Westerhaus

    Am I correct in that switching between Davlik and ART currently forces a factory reset? I realize this wouldn’t be much of a problem to those within the tech community as it is a given understanding that one should back everything up before taking an OTA and should even do a factory reset afterwards. But I think this will be more than your average user is willing to deal with and could result in millions of very unhappy people who’ll lose much of their personal data!

    • droidtomtom

      If it does it must be specific to that device. I switch back and forth all the time (SGS3 i747). The only thing special is that it must restart your phone to compile all the apps for ART which takes a lot of time (4min) but it does not reset anything.

      • Duane Westerhaus

        Thank-you for clearing this up!

  • s2weden2000

    That`s right!

  • desireamit


  • Anthony Catalano

    But will Samsung ever get touchwiz up to speed so I can use ART?

  • Ксаверий

    Apology for poverty English
    what was you thinking which dalvik die?
    i were learning this website when i read dalvik is die
    “dalvik is die”
    and you???

    • Jayfeather787


    • Reword

      “Sorry for the poor English
      What did you think when you heard this?
      I was reading this webpage when I read “Dalvik is dead”
      Website: “dalvik is dead”
      Me: “No he isn’t :/”

      That’s what i think he meant.

  • wendimaroon

    Oh the battery life..sooo need that!

  • Jonas Bendtsen

    ART is the only reason i don’t use Xposed.

    • mobilemann

      you’re missing out

  • kma

    And the question is:”Whatsapp”?
    They promised that google will correct for them at 4.4.1 update.
    I have come down on wearing 4.4.4 on my old phone… Whatsapp not working. :)

    • NoPovertyPimps

      …download whatsapp+ from the whatsapp+ website, it works fine with art.