The first Android version to support 64-bit architecture was Android 5.0 Lollipop, introduced back in November 2014. Since then, more and more 64-bit processors shipped, and today, virtually all Android devices are capable of running 64-bit software (excluding one or two or more oddballs). However, Google Chrome has never made the jump and is only available in a 32-bit flavor, potentially leading to some unnecessary security and performance degradations. That’s finally changing: Starting with Chrome 85, phones running Android 10 and higher will automatically receive a 64-bit version.
A look at chrome://version confirms as much: The current stable and beta builds, version 83 and 84, note that they’re still 32-bit applications. Chrome Dev and Chrome Canary (release 85 and 86) are proper 64-bit apps.
Above: Chrome 83 and 84 on 32-bit. Below: Chrome 85 and 86 on 64-bit.
From our testing, the 64-bit version is only distributed to devices running Android 10 or higher. Considering that back in April, only about 8% of people were using that version of the OS, the impact is much smaller than it could have been, but at least it’s a start. Hopefully, Google will expand support for older Android versions later. Chrome 85 is scheduled to go stable by the end of August, so if you’re running Android 10 or higher, the browser should soon be more secure and maybe even a little snappier.
Meanwhile, iOS already dropped support for 32-bit applications back in 2017, though with Apple having complete control over software distribution and hardware, the move is much easier to pull off. Still, first-party software like Chrome being a 32-bit application on Android is a bad joke, and it’s good it’s getting better soon.
You can get Chrome Dev and Chrome Canary from the Play Store or over at APK Mirror (Chrome Dev, Chrome Canary).