The M1 Pro for Android Engineers

The Setup

  1. 2021 14" MacBook Pro — M1 Pro (10 core)— 32gb RAM
  2. Desktop (Pop_OS!) — 4.2ghz AMD 2950x (16 core) — 64gb RAM
  3. 2019 16" MacBook Pro — 2.4ghz Intel i9 (8 core)–32gb RAM

Android Development on Apple Silicon

Performance

Clean Build

  1. M1 Pro: 125 seconds
  2. 2950x: 112 seconds (10% faster)
  3. i9: 154 seconds (23% slower)

ABI Change in :core (invalidates all feature modules)

  1. M1 Pro: 33 seconds
  2. 2950x: 35 seconds (6% slower)
  3. i9: 50 seconds (52% slower)

ABI Change in a feature module

  1. M1 Pro: 13 seconds
  2. 2950x: 19 seconds (46% slower)
  3. i9: 19 seconds (46% slower)

Android Studio Invalidate Caches and Restart

  1. M1 Pro: 97 seconds
  2. 2950x: 195 seconds (101% slower)
  3. i9: 177 seconds (82% slower)

Android Studio Gradle Sync

  1. M1 Pro: 15 seconds
  2. 2950x: 24 seconds (60% slower)
  3. i9: 23 seconds (53% slower)

Open Android Studio

  1. M1 Pro: 16 seconds
  2. 2950x: 27 seconds (68% slower)
  3. i9: 23 seconds (43% slower)
  1. M1 Pro: consistently 60–120fps. Never dropped below 60.
  2. 2950x: unfair comparison — 4k monitor.
  3. i9: Usually at 60 but often 24–60fps while scrolling new areas.

Battery Life

Thermal Throttling

Consecutive Build Times — Run Until Battery Died

Other Anecdotes

  • DO NOT use the migration assistant tool, especially not from an Intel mac. I found it frustrating to track which apps were universal and which needed updates. It also completely messed up my homedir permissions. I couldn’t even ls my Downloads folder.
  • Plugging in an external monitor is lightning fast. The external monitor doesn’t even flash black when opening and closing the MacBook lid.
  • Tasks that used to have slight delays (searching for apps in Spotlight, etc) feel nearly instantaneous now.
  • The ProMotion display adds to the perceived speed because actions like clicks and keystrokes can now appear in as little as 8ms as opposed to 16ms on 60hz displays.
  • Using Linux for the past year has felt second-class compared to macOS. I had to fall back on Chrome extensions for things like Loom and Todoist. Zoom doesn’t support custom backgrounds or blurring. I had a myriad of audio issues that led to frustrating meeting experiences. Random driver issues would cause major lag in all WebKit applications for weeks at a time with no known solution.

The Competition

M1 Max

32gb RAM

Thoughts and Conclusions

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Gabriel Peal

Gabriel Peal

Android at Tonal. Lottie and Mavericks. Formerly Airbnb and Android Auto at Google.