Tips to Improve Android App Startup Time

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Tips to Improve Android App Startup Time

When we talk about Android apps, performance is a Basic concept. The low resource availability in these devices means that any inefficient solution, no matter how small, is reflected in bad user experience, whether through an excessive battery consumption or non-responsive UI

Application Startup Performance

The first opinion the user has from an application is how much time it takes to start. Apps that take long to show something may frustrate users, leading to uninstalls and bad reviews. Therefore, startup time is one of Android’s most essential metrics. This is also a relevant metric because our software development kit is initialised whenever the Application starts. It is defined as the time taken to show any activity since the user triggered the action of opening the app.

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The Cold Start

Depending on the state of the app when the startup process starts, some additional effort might be needed to make the Application operational. The scenario that is time-consuming and causes the most overhead is a cold start. This is a disaster, and it is when the startup delay can be noticeable more.

How Much is Too Much?

Android Vitals think about a cold startup time extra long when it takes 5 or more seconds to execute. In extreme circumstances, long-running operations that are part of the initialization logic may also cause ANRs (Application Not Responding). An ANR event occurs when the UI thread is busy, and the app cannot respond to user inputs.

Fixing the Issues

Discovering the starting, or we can say the origin of the problem, is a smart start, but we need to fix the matter. There are a few points that will be helpful to offload the initialisation:

  • Move the Blocking Code to a Background Thread: Network and disk operations should not be performed synchronously on the main thread, especially when starting the Application.
  • Use Lazy Initialisation: parts of your Application do not need to be initialised throughout startup. Try to find out those parts and slow down the initialisation as much as feasible. For example, the user profile may only be mandatory on the profile activity and not very useful at startup time.
  • Dispatch Third-party Libraries Initialisation to a Background Thread: Number of library initialisations on the Application.onCreate() will doubtlessly make it a little slower. Make an effort to find the libraries that can be asynchronously initialised and move their initialisation to a background thread.
  • Remove Defective Third Party Libraries: This is an extreme scenario, but if a specific library is very slow to be initialised and there are no chances to initialise it elsewhere, you should consider removing defective third party libraries or replacing them.
  • Solve Synchronisation Issues: The startup time can be increased if the main thread is blocked waiting for another operation executed on another thread. Attempt to find those locks.
  • Avoid Reflection: Reflection operations are well known to be slow. Try to avoid a considerable number of them as part of the initialisation. We were able to considerably boost the startup time of our SDK only by avoiding reflection. Reflection operations are very ordinary in serialisation libraries like Gson and Jackson.

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