Google made a note last week via the official Android Developers blog that the Pixel 7 (review) and Pixel 7 Pro (review) are actually the first 64-bit-only Android phones. We’re nearly a month into launch, so if you didn’t already know that information, it’s possible you’d have gone the rest of your life being perfectly content not knowing that, but now that we do know…
What does it mean?
Real simply, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro dropped support for 32-bit code, which means reduced memory usage, improved performance, and enhanced security. Google expects this to be common in the world of Android relatively soon.
A few of the benefits for not supporting 32-bit code includes up to 150MB of less RAM usage (this RAM was used even if a 32-bit app wasn’t running), bigger address space makes defenses like ASLR (address space layout randomization) more effective, plus on the performance side, newer CPUs are detailed to deliver up to 25% better performance when running 64-bit code or even drop support for 32-bit code altogether.
Google provided the following note to developers.
While 64-bit-only devices will grow in popularity with phones joining Android Auto in this group, 32-bit-only devices will continue to be important for Android Go, Android TV, and Android Wear. Please continue supporting 32-bit ABIs; Google Play will continue serving 32-bit apps to 32-bit-only devices.
We’ve certainly come a long way. Google first introduced 64-bit support back in 2014, so to finally have an Android device drop 32-bit app support entirely almost 10 years later is pretty wild.