Google has just shared more details about the requirement for developers to start moving their apps to 64-bit code. According to the latest blog post on the Android Developers Blog, the company shared an updated deadline for developers along with some changes. This updated timetable is made to ensure that developers developing for Android apps have enough time to shift their apps and games to 64-bit code architecture.
Before we dive into details about the updated time table, the company reiterated the benefits of 64-bit CPUs in smartphones adding that they offer “faster” and “richer experiences” to users. Only apps with 64-bit code are able to make use of the performance improvements on the 64-bit CPUs.
As part of the blog post, the company reiterated that it started supporting 64-bit CPUs from Android 5.0 Lollipop and first announced the plan to move to 64-bit back in 2017. As part of the initial announcement, the company made it mandatory for app makers using native code to provide a 64-bit version app along with 32-bit versions. According to the latest information, starting August 1, 2019, it will be mandatory for all the developers using native code in their apps to provide 64-bit versions of their apps along with the 32-bit versions while publishing any new app or new app update on Google Play Store.
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The company also added that it is offering an extension of the deadline to game developers for 32-bit only updates for existing games that are based on Unity version 5.6 or anything later. This extension in the enforcement of the rule will be valid until August 1, 2021. After August 1, 2021, Google will stop accepting 32-bit apps and games for 64-bit CPUs and users running 64-bit devices will not be offered 32-bit apps and games (including the ones based on Unity 5.6 or older) from the Play Store.
One thing to note here is that this is not applicable to apps or app bundles that are aimed at devices including Wear OS and Android TV that currently doesn’t support 64-bits chips. The post has also provided instructions to developers for moving to 64-bit or developing 64-bit versions of their apps. The reason Google has provided an extension to Unity-based games and their developers is that Unity has just started supporting 64-bit CPUs in version 2017.4 and 2018.2.