Support 64-bit architectures

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Apps published on Google Play need to support 64-bit architectures. Adding a 64-bit version of your app provides performance improvements and sets you up for devices with 64-bit-only hardware.

The following steps ensure that your 32-bit app supports 64-bit devices.

Assess your app

If your app uses only code written in the Java programming language or in Kotlin, including all libraries or SDKs, then your app supports 64-bit devices. If your app uses any native code, or you are unsure if it does, then assess your app.

Quick status check

Go to the Play Console and take a look at existing releases to see whether they are compliant.

Play Console also shows warnings that apply to your draft releases if there are any issues related to the 64-bit requirement. The following image is an example.

If an alert appears, see the following steps to make your app compatible with 64-bit devices.

Does your app use native code?

Your app makes use of native code if it:

  • Uses any C/C++ (native) code in your app.
  • Links with any third party native libraries.
  • Is built by a third-party app builder that uses native libraries.

Does your app include 64-bit libraries?

Inspect the structure of your APK file. When built, the APK is packaged with any native libraries needed by the app. Native libraries are stored in various folders based on the ABI. It isn't required to support every 64-bit architecture, but for each native 32-bit architecture you support you must include the corresponding 64-bit architecture.

For the ARM architecture, the 32-bit libraries are located in armeabi-v7a. The 64-bit equivalent is arm64-v8a.

For the x86 architecture, look for x86 for 32-bit and x86_64 for 64-bit.

Ensure that you have native libraries in both of these folders. To recap:

Platform 32-bit libraries folder 64-bit libraries folder
ARM lib/armeabi-v7a lib/arm64-v8a
x86 lib/x86 lib/x86_64

Note that depending on your app, there may or may not be exactly the same set of libraries in each folder. The goal is to ensure that your app runs correctly in a 64-bit-only environment.

In a typical case, an APK or bundle that's built for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures has folders for both ABIs, each with a corresponding set of native libraries. If there's no support for 64-bit, you might see a 32-bit ABI folder but not a 64-bit folder.

Look for native libraries using APK Analyzer

APK Analyzer is a tool that allows you to evaluate various aspects of a built APK. Use it to find any native libraries, and ensure 64-bit libraries are present.

  1. Open Android Studio, and open any project.
  2. From the menu, select Build > Analyze APK

    launch APK analyzer

  3. Choose the APK you wish to evaluate.

  4. Look within the lib folder, which hosts '.so' files if any. If there are none, then your app supports 64-bit devices and no further action is required. If you see armeabi-v7a or x86, then you have 32-bit libraries.

  5. Check to see if you have similar '.so' files in the arm64-v8a or x86_64 folder.

    launch APK analyzer

  6. If you don't have any arm64-v8a or x86_64 libraries, update your build process to start building and packaging those artifacts in your APK.

  7. If you already see both libraries being packaged, you can skip ahead to testing your app on 64-bit hardware.

Look for native libraries by unzipping APKs

APK files are structured like zip files. With the command line or any other extraction tool, unzip the APK file. Depending on your extraction tool, you might have to rename the file to .zip.

Browse the files that are extracted, following the guidance above to determine if your app supports 64-bit devices. You can run the following command example from the command line:

:: Command Line
> zipinfo -1 YOUR_APK_FILE.apk | grep \.so$
lib/armeabi-v7a/libmain.so
lib/armeabi-v7a/libmono.so
lib/armeabi-v7a/libunity.so
lib/arm64-v8a/libmain.so
lib/arm64-v8a/libmono.so
lib/arm64-v8a/libunity.so

Note in this example the presence of armeabi-v7a and arm64-v8a libraries, which means the app supports 64-bit architectures.

Build your app with 64-bit libraries

The following instructions outline how to build 64-bit libraries. Note that these steps only cover building code and libraries that you are able to build from source.

If you are using any external SDKs or libraries, ensure you are using 64-bit versions by following the steps above. Reach out to the SDK or library owner if a 64-bit version is not available and take this into account when planning your support for 64-bit devices.

Building with Android Studio or Gradle

Most Android Studio projects use Gradle as the underlying build system, so this section applies to both cases. Enabling builds for your native code is as simple as adding the arm64-v8a and/or x86_64, depending on the architecture(s) you wish to support, to the ndk.abiFilters setting in your app's 'build.gradle' file:

Groovy

// Your app's build.gradle
plugins {
  id 'com.android.app'
}

android {
   compileSdkVersion 27
   defaultConfig {
       appId "com.google.example.64bit"
       minSdkVersion 15
       targetSdkVersion 28
       versionCode 1
       versionName "1.0"
       ndk.abiFilters 'armeabi-v7a','arm64-v8a','x86','x86_64'
// ...

Kotlin

// Your app's build.gradle
plugins {
    id("com.android.app")
}

android {
    compileSdkVersion(27)
    defaultConfig {
        appId = "com.google.example.64bit"
        minSdkVersion(15)
        targetSdkVersion(28)
        versionCode = 1
        versionName = "1.0"
        ndk {
            abiFilters += listOf("armeabi-v7a","arm64-v8a","x86","x86_64")
        }
// ...

Building with CMake

If your app is built using CMake, you can build for 64-bit ABIs by passing the arm64-v8a into the '-DANDROID_ABI' parameter:

:: Command Line
> cmake -DANDROID_ABI=arm64-v8a … or
> cmake -DANDROID_ABI=x86_64 …

This option has no effect when using externalNativeBuild. See the Building with Gradle section.

Building with ndk-build

If your app is build with ndk-build, you can build for 64-bit ABIs by modifying your 'Application.mk' file using the APP_ABI variable:

APP_ABI := armeabi-v7a arm64-v8a x86 x86_64

This option has no effect when using externalNativeBuild. See the Building with Gradle section.

Porting 32-bit code to 64-bit

If your code already runs on the desktop or iOS, you shouldn't need to do any extra work for Android. If this is the first time your code has been built for a 64-bit system, the main issue you must address is that pointers no longer fit in 32-bit integer types like int.

Update code that stores pointers in types such as int, unsigned, or uint32_t. On Unix systems, long matches the pointer size, but this isn't true on Windows. Instead, use the intention-revealing types uintptr_t or intptr_t. To store the difference between two pointers, use the ptrdiff_t type.

You should always prefer the specific fixed width integer types defined in <stdint.h> rather than traditional types such as int or long, even for non-pointers.

Use the following compiler flags to catch cases where your code is incorrectly converting between pointers and integers:

-Werror=pointer-to-int-cast
-Werror=int-to-pointer-cast
-Werror=shorten-64-to-32

Java classes with int fields that hold pointers to C/C++ objects have the same problem. Search for jint in your JNI source and ensure that you switch to long on the Java side and jlong on the C++ side.

Implicit function declarations are a lot more dangerous for 64-bit code. C/C++ assume that the return type of an implicitly declared function (that is, a function that the compiler hasn't seen a declaration for) is int. If the actual return type of your function is a pointer, this works fine on a 32-bit system where your pointer fits into an int. However, on a 64-bit system, the compiler drops the top half of your pointer. For example:

// This function returns a pointer:
// extern char* foo();

// If you don't include a header that declares it,
// when the compiler sees this:
char* result = foo();

// Instead of compiling that to:
result = foo();

// It compiles to something equivalent to:
result = foo() & 0xffffffff;

// Which will then cause a SIGSEGV if you try to dereference `result`.

The following compiler flag turns implicit function declaration warnings into errors so that you can find and fix this problem more easily:

-Werror=implicit-function-declaration

If you have inline assembler, rewrite it or use a plain C/C++ implementation.

If you have hard-coded sizes of types (8 or 16 bytes, for example), replace them with the equivalent sizeof(T) expression, such as sizeof(void*).

If you need to conditionally compile different code for 32-bit than 64-bit, you can use the #if defined(__LP64__) for generic 32/64 differences, or __arm__, __aarch64__ (arm64), __i386__ (x86), and __x86_64__ for the specific architectures supported by Android.

Adjust format strings for printf or scanf-like functions, as the traditional format specifiers don't allow you to specify 64-bit types in a way that's correct for both 32-bit and 64-bit devices. The PRI and SCN macros in <inttypes.h> solve this problem, PRIxPTR and SCNxPTR for writing/reading hex pointers, and PRId64 and SCNd64 for writing/reading 64-bit values portably.

When shifting, you may need to use 1ULL to get a 64-bit constant to shift rather than using 1, which is only 32 bits.

Mitigating size increases with Android App Bundle

Adding 64-bit architecture support to your app can cause your APK size to grow. We strongly recommend taking advantage of the Android App Bundle feature to minimize the size impact of including both 32- and 64-bit native code in the same APK.

Game developers

The three most used engines currently support 64-bit:

  • Unreal since 2015
  • Cocos2d since 2015
  • Unity since 2018

Unity developers

Upgrade to capable versions

Unity provides 64-bit support with versions 2018.2 and 2017.4.16.

If you are on a version of Unity that does not support 64-bit, determine the version you wish to upgrade to and follow the guides that Unity provides to migrate your environment, ensuring your app is upgraded to a version that can build 64-bit libraries. Unity recommends you have access to the latest features and updates by upgrading to the latest LTS version of the editor.

Here's a chart that outlines the various Unity versions and what you should do:

Unity Version Version supports 64-bit? Recommended course of action

2020.x

✔️

Ensure your build settings output 64-bit libraries.

2019.x

✔️

Ensure your build settings output 64-bit libraries.

2018.4 (LTS)

✔️

Ensure your build settings output 64-bit libraries.

2018.3

✔️

Ensure your build settings output 64-bit libraries.

2018.2

✔️

Ensure your build settings output 64-bit libraries.

2018.1

Has experimental 64-bit support.

2017.4 (LTS)

✔️

Supported as of 2017.4.16. Ensure your build settings output 64-bit libraries.

2017.3

✖️

Upgrade to version that supports 64-bit.

2017.2

✖️

Upgrade to version that supports 64-bit.

2017.1

✖️

Upgrade to version that supports 64-bit.

<=5.6

✖️

Upgrade to version that supports 64-bit.

Change build settings to output 64-bit libraries

If you are using a version of Unity that supports 64-bit Android libraries, you can generate a 64-bit version of your app by adjusting your build settings. Use the IL2CPP backend as your Scripting Backend. To set up your Unity project to build 64-bit architecture, do the following:

  1. Go to Build Settings and ensure you are building for Android by verifying that the Unity symbol is next to Android under Platform.
    1. If the Unity symbol is not next to the Android platform, select Android and click Switch Platform.
  2. Click Player settings.

    Player settings in Unity

  3. Navigate to Player Settings Panel > Settings for Android > Other settings > Configuration

  4. Set Scripting Backend to IL2CPP.

  5. Select the Target Architecture > ARM64 checkbox.

    set target architectures in Unity

  6. Build as normal!

Note that building for ARM64 requires all your assets to be built specifically for that platform. Follow Unity's guidance for reducing APK size, and consider taking advantage of the Android App Bundle feature to help mitigate this increase in size.

Multi-APK and 64-bit compliance

If you are using Google Play's multiple-APK support to publish your app, note that compliance with the 64-bit requirement is evaluated at the release level. However, the 64-bit requirement does not apply to APKs or app bundles that are not distributed to devices running Android 9 Pie or later.

If one of your APKs is marked as not being compliant, but is older and it's not possible to bring it into compliance, one strategy is to add a maxSdkVersion="27" attribute in the uses-sdk element in that APK's manifest. This APK isn't delivered to devices running Android 9 Pie or later, and no longer blocks compliance.

RenderScript and 64-bit compliance

If your app uses RenderScript and was built with an older version of the Android tools, you might see 64-bit compliance issues for the app. With build tools earlier than 21.0.0, the compiler may generate bitcode into an external .bc file. These legacy .bc files are no longer supported for 64-bit architectures, so the presence of the file in your APK causes the compliance issue.

To fix the issue, remove any.bc files in your project, upgrade your environment to build-tools-21.0.0 or later, and set the renderscriptTargetApi in Android Studio to 21+, to tell the compiler to not emit .bc files. Then, rebuild your app, inspect for .bc files, and upload to Play Console.

Test your app on 64-bit hardware

The 64-bit version of your app should offer the same quality and feature set as the 32-bit version. Test your app to make sure that users on the latest 64-bit devices have a great experience in your app.

64-bit-only devices

Whenever possible, we recommend testing your app in a strict 64-bit-only environment using one of the following options:

Other device options

If you don't have one of these devices or can't use the Android Emulator, your next best option is to use a device that is 64-bit capable, such as a Google Pixel or other recent flagship devices from other device manufacturers.

Install and test your app

The easiest way to test your APK is to install the app using Android Debug Bridge (adb). In most cases, you can supply --abi as a parameter to indicate which libraries to install to the device. This installs the app with only the 64-bit libraries on the device.

:: Command Line
# A successful install:
> adb install --abi armeabi-v7a YOUR_APK_FILE.apk
Success

# If your APK does not have the 64-bit libraries:
> adb install --abi arm64-v8a YOUR_APK_FILE.apk
adb: failed to install YOUR_APK_FILE.apk: Failure [INSTALL_FAILED_NO_MATCHING_ABIS: Failed to extract native libraries, res=-113]

# If your device does not support 64-bit, an emulator, for example:
> adb install --abi arm64-v8a YOUR_APK_FILE.apk
ABI arm64-v8a not supported on this device

Once you have installed successfully, test your app like you normally would to ensure the quality is the same as the 32-bit version.

Check for known compatibility issues

As you test, check your app for the following issues that affect apps when running on 64-bit devices. Even if your app doesn't depend on the affected libraries directly, third-party libraries and SDKs in your app's dependencies might.

SoLoader

If you are using the native code loader SDK SoLoader, update to v0.10.4 or higher. If your app uses SDKs that depend on SoLoader, make sure to also update to the latest stable version of the affected SDKs.

SoLoader v0.9.0 and lower assume that system libraries are present in /vendor/lib:/system/lib. This bug is not observable in devices like the Pixel 7 where the path exists, but this assumption causes crashes in devices that only have system libraries in /vendor/lib64:/system/lib64.

For more information on fixing this and other issues caused by SoLoader, see the corresponding answer in the Google Help Center.

OpenSSL

If you are using the OpenSSL library, update to OpenSSL 1.1.1i or higher. If your app uses SDKs that provide communication using HTTPS, or other SDKs that depend on OpenSSL, make sure to also update to the latest version of the SDK that uses a newer OpenSSL version. Reach out to the SDK provider if one is not available.

ARMv8.3 PAC functionality enables hardware-assisted control flow integrity by authenticating pointers at runtime. Older versions of OpenSSL use this functionality incorrectly, causing runtime crashes in all devices with processors based on ARMv8.3a and above.

For more information on fixing this and other issues caused by OpenSSL, see the corresponding answer in the Google Help Center.

BTI

ARMv8.5 and higher use Branch Target Instructions (BTIs) to help protect against JOP attacks. Older versions of obfuscation SDKs that branch into random offsets of libraries built with BTI can cause apps to crash. Since the instructions are encoded as HINTs, this bug is not observable in devices that don't support BTI.

Publish

When you feel like your app is ready, publish as normal. As always, continue to follow the best practices for deploying your app. We recommend taking advantage of closed testing tracks to rollout to a limited number of users to ensure the quality of your app is consistent.

As when rolling out an major update, make sure you have thoroughly tested on 64-bit-capable devices before publishing to a larger audience.