Android 14 has 3 hidden upgrades that make your phone better — what you need to know

The Android 14 logo on a Google Pixel 7
(Image credit: Google)

Earlier this month we heard how updating to Android 14 seemingly boosted the efficiency of both the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 — improving battery life and reducing heat generation in the process. Now it looks like the specifics of Android 14’s efficiency-boosting powers have been unveiled.

Android sleuth Mishaal Rahman posted four of these improvements over on X (formerly Twitter), noting that they are designed for improving both performance and memory efficiency. The optimizations include freezing cached applications, optimizing broadcasts, launching apps faster and an overall reduction in memory footprint.

Any cached apps on your phone will be frozen by Android 14 after a “short period of time”. How much time isn’t clear, but the gain is that these apps end up taking up zero CPU time. That frees the CPU up for other things and alternatively ensures that apps aren't using up resources when they’re not doing anything. 

According to Rahman Google found that cached processes used “up to 50% less CPU cycles as compared to Android 13 public devices” during the Android 14 beta. Which is pretty good going.

Android 14 also adjusts how cached apps receive “context-registered broadcasts” to ensure that they actually stay frozen. Broadcasts are now queued, and any repetition gets merged into a single broadcast in the background.

Those two optimizations have then helped Google reduce what’s known as cold app starts, by limiting the maximum number of cached apps that are allowed. This is when an app is booted up from scratch, and requires more CPU cycles — so reducing them leads to a natural improvement to efficiency. According to Rahman, beta testers found that Android 14 led to 20% fewer cold starts on devices with 8GB of RAM and 30% fewer with 12GB of RAM.

Google has also apparently included optimizations that “reduce code size by an average of 9.3% without impacting performance”. The smaller a code file is, the better it is for both memory and storage — which improves efficiency in the process.

Google didn’t exactly publicize these changes, and Rahman hopes that the company shares full details about the changes in the near future — suggesting there may be more at play than we know about. 

Still, either way it’s good to know that Google has been hard at work optimizing Android 14 — especially given the inefficiencies in its own smartphones. Here’s hoping that this trend continues in future versions of the OS.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.