In the earlier days of the smartphone, apps were created in 32-bit, but if you recall, Google made it mandatory that future Android apps have 64-bit support. For the most part this doesn’t really affect many users, but it seems that it might have a bigger and more noticeable effect on the new Google Pixel 7 series.
In a Reddit post by Mishaal Rahman, it seems that the new Pixel 7 series could actually be the first only 64-bit Android smartphone launched to date. Rahman’s findings come on the back of several users who had issues sideloading older Android apps onto the phone. In the example he gave, the user was trying to sideload Flappy Bird, a game that does not have 64-bit support.
Further investigation where he tried manually compiling a 64-bit only version of Android for the Pixel 6 yielded similar results, suggesting that the Pixel 7 series might have shipped with a 64-bit only version of Android 13. While Rahman notes that the Pixel 7 still ships with 32-bit system libraries, it might have been compiled in a way so that 32-bit apps cannot run.
So what does this mean for users? If you download all your apps from the Play Store, then this is a non-issue as the Play Store apps should all be 64-bit by now. If you’re someone who sideloads apps, you will need to make sure it is a 64-bit compiled app otherwise there is a chance it won’t work.
Rahman has written up an interesting article on the benefits of a 64-bit system which you can read here if you’re curious as to why this matters.