Apple outlines 64-bit support deadlines for new, updated iOS apps

Although Apple announced it in October, it’s now reminding developers that new iOS apps must include 64-bit support by February 1, 2015. In addition to the new app requirement, all app updates must also be 64-bit compatible by June 1, 2015, according to the email that Apple sent to registered developers Wednesday.

This doesn’t mean all iOS apps will immediately lose 32-bit support or no longer work on these dates; instead, [company]Apple[/company] is suggesting that developers use the “default Xcode build setting of ‘Standard architectures’ to build a single binary with both 32-bit and 64-bit code.” Apps will then run on iOS devices with either 32- or 64-bit processors so that older iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices will still have access to them. However, the newer iOS devices with 64-bit processors will be able to take advantage of the code optimized for 64-bit.

This is a way for Apple to keep developers moving forward through the transition between 32- and 64-bit support. Eventually, Apple will likely cut off iOS apps from using any 32-bit code, but it will choose to do so when a minimal number of users are affected.

I wouldn’t expect to happen for a good two or more years; watch the iOS software upgrades and supported devices for a clue to when it might happen. Once Apple itself stops supporting iOS on 32-bit devices, the app changeover to 64-bit only should soon follow.