“For apps that use native libraries, 64-bit code typically offers significantly better performance, with additional registers and new instructions,” explained the company on the Android Developers Blog.
The company says it’s making the move in anticipation of future Android that exclusively support 64-bit apps. If your app has a 32-bit library, you’ll need to add a 64-bit alternative too, either within the same APK or as one of the multiple APKs that you submit for publishing.
For those keeping score, Apple dropped support for 32-bit apps in iOS 11 back in September.
Naturally, Google’s decision means that developers will have to retool their apps in order to remain listed in the Play store. Hopefully that’ll lead to more performant apps in the future.
The company also noted that it’ll soon begin appending security metadata to verify that authorized apps were indeed served through the Play store. It’s also detailed new target API level requirements, which will come into effect late next year. You can read more about those on this page.