In late 2017, Google began alerting Android app developers about a 64-bit support requirement for the Play Store. The policy comes into effect this August, and Google today is providing more details about the transition.
Android has supported 64-bit CPUs since 5.0 Lollipop, and the Play Store in 2017 announced that apps using native code must provide a 64-bit version in light of future chips that only support 64-bit code.
In August 2019, the Play Console will require that all new apps and updates that include native code provide 64-bit versions. Google is not removing 32-bit support with continued Play functionality in the future.
We are not making changes to our policy on 32-bit support. Play will continue to deliver apps to 32-bit devices. This requirement means that apps with 32-bit native code will need to have an additional 64-bit version as well.
There are several exceptions, with APKs or app bundles explicitly targeting Wear OS or Android TV excluded due to devices not yet supporting 64-bit code. The requirement also does not apply to apps that are “not distributed to devices running Android 9 Pie or later.”
Another exception applies to applications that leverage Unity 5.6, with 32-bit only updates to existing games still accepted. This automatic extension for games expires on August 1, 2021 when “Google Play will stop serving apps without 64-bit versions on 64-bit capable devices.”
Since Unity only recently began providing 64-bit support in versions 2017.4 and 2018.2, we are granting an automatic extension to existing games using versions 5.6 or older until August 2021. Unity provides guides that can help you through the process of upgrading to a 64-bit compliant version.
Google notes that “the move to 64-bit should be straightforward” for most developers and not require code changes. There are a number of resources available for developers transitioning in today’s blog post.