Having trouble installing that old app on your Pixel 7? There's a reason for that.
Google and partners have been pushing hard for Android to eventually become a 64-bit-only platform, and it looks like the company may have passed a landmark with the Pixel 7 series.
Esper editor Mishaal Rahman revealed on Reddit that the Google Pixel 7 series might be the first 64-bit-only Android smartphones. This comes after several users reported that they were unable to sideload some apps on their new Pixels.
Rahman asked an XDA-Developers writer to sideload once-popular game Flappy Bird (which is only available as a 32-bit APK) but the writer received a system message noting that the game “isn’t compatible with your phone.”
We tried sideloading the title on a Pixel 7 Pro review unit too and received the same error (see the first image below). However, the game was installed without issue on a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (see the second image).
Rahman noted that Android 13 for the Pixel 7 still includes 32-bit system libraries, but with a “64-bit-only zygote” so 32-bit apps won’t run.
This is nevertheless an interesting turn of events as the Pixel 7’s Tensor G2 processor still offers CPU cores with 32-bit support. By comparison, Arm’s recently announced CPUs — expected to debut in commercial devices next year — all lack 32-bit support out of the box.
This shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of people, though. Google mandated since 2019 that all new apps and app updates need to offer 64-bit versions in addition to 32-bit versions. Furthermore, the company has stopped serving apps without 64-bit versions to 64-bit capable Android devices since August 2021. So it stands to reason that 99% of users won’t run into app compatibility issues on a 64-bit only device.