Why Apple Needs Every App to Migrate to 64-Bit Architecture

Why Apple Needs Every App to Migrate to 64-Bit Architecture
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 23 Dec 2015

Back in the 1990s, there was shift that desktop computing and gaming consoles went through, when they were required to move towards higher bit architectures and processors. Recently when Apple urged developers to shift from 32-bit architecture to 64-bit processors, one could imagine that there is a lot of futuristic evolution that is to be expected in the near future. For developers, though it may seem like a heavy-handed approach from Apple, it presents them with immense possibilities.

In October 2014, Apple announced that beginning on 1st of February, all new iOS apps need to include 64-bit support and be built on the iOS 8 SDK. Apple recommends using the default Xcode build setting of ‘Standard architectures’. This is to ensure that a single binary is used for both 32-bit and 64-bit codes. All 2015 app updates from June 1st will also be required to follow the same regulations.

64-bit processors are incredibly fast and they are packed with superior processing power. Apple’s October 2014 update was thus a major shift in the paradigm when it comes to mobile app development. In fact, it makes sense for Apple to force developers to move every app to 64-bit architecture as soon as possible.

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In this article, let us take a look at some of the benefits of a 64-bit system and why it is important for mobile developers to make this transition happen.

Having more than 4GB of RAM

64-bit computing is based on the fact that it can handle 64-bit memory addresses, rather than just 32-bit ones. This means, a device can handle more than 4GB of memory, resulting in a higher processing power. Servers usually need 64-bit chips as they need a lot of memory to run several tasks in the background. 64-bit chips can also compute and process information very quickly.

While most mobile devices still do not have the 4GB capacity, iOS apps will be already ready for those devices when they arrive in the market. Games which require complex maneuvering and intense graphics will benefit from 64-bit processing.

Enjoying faster speed, better performance

64-bit chips are built to process information very quickly and efficiently. At the end of the day, we get applications that do not freeze, hand or are slow to respond. This improves the overall experience of the user and it will increase the stickiness of an app.

In fact, research studies reveal that people often use applications that are quick to respond and that which are efficient and easy to use. 64-bit processing future-proofs all these applications and you will not need to worry about future iOS updates, which will of course be based on 64-bit processing and computing.

Using additional advanced features

The PC world took many years to move from 32-bits to 64-bit processing. Apple seems to be a pioneer in its own by encouraging and even insisting developers to move ahead with 64-bit processing. It will take a few years before developers are ready to use 64-bit applications but the fact is, Apple has already begun to ask them to make the switch and with good reason.

64-bit computing opens the door to several new features which weren’t possible with 32-bit applications. This will help app developers to create apps that are loaded features which were unseen before. Ultimately, all this will help to enhance user experience.

Final thoughts

As mentioned earlier, computers have already made the shift from 32-bit computing to 64-bit computing. Apple has correctly urged and insisted developers to start using 64-bit architectures when they release new apps or updates to existing ones.

This will help to make the paradigm shift that is desperately required in the mobile space today. Moreover, applications will be ready for the future, which will be based on 64-bit architectures. Last but not the least, applications will be able to make the most of 4GB memory, which will become the industry standard very soon too, for mobile devices.

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