Improving Your Gradle Workflow by Not Auto-reloading Build Files

IntelliJ and Android Studio try to constantly reload Gradle projects by default, disabling that behavior can improve your workflow.

Android Studio and IntelliJ have some annoying defaults around auto-reloading Gradle projects when they (believe) build files have changed. While I can see why it seems like a convenience, in practice I find it's more trouble than it's worth due to how often it syncs when I don't want it to.

Here's a few settings to disable to minimize this impact. Unfortunately Studio still tries to sync automatically on startup and there's no toggle for this, but disabling these other settings should help.

  • Disable project reload after buildscript changes under Settings > Build, Execution, Deployment > Build Tools. This is enabled by default in IntelliJ and (usually) disabled in Android Studio.
  • If using Kotlin Gradle script – Disable "Auto Reload" of build/settings.gradle.kts files under Settings > Languages & Frameworks > Kotlin > Kotlin Scripting.
You can optionally leave it enabled for main.kts files but I honestly just disable them all as I hate having files re-syncing while I'm trying to type in them.

Usually the first thing I do when I open a project is pull latest main or change branches. That alone is reason enough to disable auto-syncing. On top of that, I've also found Studio's intelligent syncing behavior on startup to be quite conservative (i.e. it syncs more often than not) and the kotlin scripting to be just plain broken at times and trigger constantly.