What you need to know
- Arm32 apps will not be supported by Windows 12 or Qualcomm's upcoming Oryon processors.
- Microsoft shared the fact during Build 2023 and noted in a support document that "support for 32-bit Arm versions of applications will be removed in a future release of Windows 11."
- Many Arm-based applications have been upgraded to Arm64, so many popular apps will be unaffected by the change.
Microsoft Build is about to wrap up. At the conference Microsoft announced several improvements to Windows and the company's apps and services. But as highlighted by XDA, Microsoft is also going to take away a feature from its flagship operating system. Luckily, the change won't affect many people.
During a session of Build 2023, we got word that Qualcomm's upcoming Oryon processors and the next major version of Windows will not support Arm32 apps. 32-bit Arm apps aren't very common these days, as many have been upgraded to Arm64 or x86, but you may see a few apps stop working.
A Microsoft document specifies that "support for 32-bit Arm versions of applications will be removed in a future release of Windows 11." That leaves the exact timeline for the end of Arm32 a bit murky, but we know support for the older apps is coming to an end.
Microsoft has not shared an official name for the next version of Windows, but the company is working on a modern version of the operating system. Our Senior Editor Zac Bowden covered Microsoft's plans for its next operating system, which is colloquially called Windows 12.
The next version of Windows isn't set to ship until 2024, though plans are subject to change. Qualcomm's Oryon chips are also expected at some point in 2024. Arm32 apps should be far off in the rear-view mirror by then, so the best Windows apps shouldn't be affected by the change.
Qualcomm's Oryon processors will be based on tech from the company's acquisition of Nuvia. That deal is currently facing a lawsuit from Arm Ltd. that alleges Qualcomm breached license agreements and committed trademark infringement. If the purchase does go through, it could be a major boost to Windows on ARM PCs.
The new chips have a “significant number of design wins," according to Qualcomm. The company expects to see an "inflection point" for Windows on Snapdragon PCs in 2024. Qualcomm claims that its Oryon processors will rival Apple’s M-series chips. If that's accurate, it could lead to a major shift in Windows on ARM computing.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.