Google Pixel 6a vs Pixel 5a

You can now upgrade to 64-bit only on your Google Pixel phone

Google offers new 64-bit factory-only images to flash to your Pixel 4a or newer


The Google Pixel 7 Pro and its little sibling are the first Pixel phones to release with only 64-bit app support. While that meant some apps were no longer available on the new series, the move was generally painless since nearly all modern apps on the Play Store support 64-bit architectures these days. With this successful rollout behind it, Google is now allowing you to optionally flash a 64-bit beta to all Pixel phones through the Pixel 4a through the Pixel 6 series.

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The new 64-bit-only images are available alongside other Android 13 Quarterly Platform Release 1 betas on the Android developer website. Unlike the regular Android 13 QPR, you can’t join it via an over-the-air update — instead, you’ll have to manually flash 64-bit builds. Google makes it clear that these “images provide a strictly 64-bit environment only for testing 64-bit application compatibility. These 64-bit-only configurations are for developers only.

As an enthusiast, you might want to steer clear of these builds, especially since they won’t change much about your experience with your phone. As Esper.io Android expert Mishaal Rahman notes, the builds come with a slightly smaller system partition size (around 120MB total savings) by removing all 32-bit system libraries, which might be all you notice in regular use. Interestingly, the 64-bit-only builds for the Pixel 4a through the Pixel 6 get rid of all traces of 32-bit. The Pixel 7 series still comes with 32-bit libraries, even though they are not used on phones.

If you want to try the 64-bit builds, you can easily flash them to your existing Android 13 QPR1 beta, confirmed by Mishaal Rahman to be safe to do. Otherwise, you might not have to wait too long for the 64-bit option to become a reality for everyone. After all, Google doesn’t just randomly test these builds, and it’s likely the company plans to make the switch for everyone sooner or later.

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