Google Chrome on Android to switch to 64-bit starting with version 85

The change comes almost a year before the Play Store's 64-bit deadline

Google Chrome

Google Chrome on Android will finally make the jump to 64-bit, a change long in the making.

For those well versed in Android history, you’ll likely remember that Google introduced support for 64-bit architecture back in Android 5.0 Lollipop in 2014. In the years since, hardware has followed and now almost every Android phone runs on 64-bit processors.

Despite that, Google has continued to develop its Chrome browser on Android in the 32-bit flavour, potentially leaving it open to security and performance problems.

As spotted by Android Police, starting with Chrome 85, Android 10 and newer devices will automatically get a 64-bit version.

If you want to confirm this for yourself, type ‘chrome://version’ into the URL bar in Chrome on your Android phone. The current stable and beta builds — version 83 and 84 respectively — will say they’re 32-bit apps. However, the same test on the Chrome Dev or Canary channels — version 85 and 86 — should say 64-bit if you’re running Android 10.

Unfortunately, since the move to 64-bit seems to depend on Android 10, Android Police points out it will likely only impact about eight percent of users based on data from April. Still, it’s a start. Hopefully Google will start with Android 10 as a test and bring 64-bit to older Android versions later.

Considering the search giant’s own Play Store rules dictate all apps must be updated to 64-bit variants by August 1, 2021, Chrome should offer 64-bit to the majority of Android users before then. Chrome for Android is expected to go stable in August 2020, so that gives Google roughly a year to bring 64-bit Chrome to everyone.

It’s also worth noting that iOS removed support for 32-bit apps in 2017 and forced everyone over to 64-bit. Thanks to Apple’s complete control over software distribution and hardware, it was easier for the company to make that transition.

That said, Google should be leading by example with its apps — many of which are first-party and come installed on Android phones. Still offering 32-bit Chrome six years after rolling out 64-bit Android support is frankly disappointing.

Source: Android Police