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All iOS apps to support 64-bit by February

Apple insists all developers make their apps 64-bit compatible from early next year

Apple is pushing iOS 8 developers to make their apps and games 64-bit ready, in order to take advantage of the newer 64-bit processors now appearing in the latest iPhone and iPad devices.

First spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple made the announcement to developers through its developer news portal, confirming that all apps and updates will need to include 64-bit support from the 1st of February next year, as well as be built against the iOS 8 SDK rather than older versions of the kit.

Right now, developers have the choice of whether to submit a 32-bit only app, or a universal app that includes 64-bit support as well as 32-bit. That won’t be the case in February, meaning newer devices like the recently announced iPad Air 2 will be able to take advantage of performance and memory gains from running the 64-bit version.

Apple’s 64-bit line-up currently includes the A7 processor, the first Apple-produced chip to gain 64-bit support and made its debut in the iPhone 5s, the A8, which was used for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and A8x which appears in the latest iPad Air.

Because the iOS developer guidelines still make allowances for 32-bit apps, owners of older devices don’t need to worry about becoming obsolete just yet; apps and games will still work, but they won’t perform as well as they will on native 64-bit hardware. Apple has no plans to remove 32-bit apps that aren’t updated, but any feature additions or bug fixes will require the developer to upgrade the whole app to 64-bit.

According to 9to5Mac, this isn’t a major undertaking: “Adding 64-bit support to an app usually only takes a few days of development time at most, even with a big project.”

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News | Tablets