This OnePlus 12 trick gives your old apps a lifeline

The OnePlus 12 colors
(Image credit: OnePlus)

What you need to know

  • The OnePlus 12 has already been released in China, but the U.S. launch event is set for Jan. 23. 
  • OnePlus included a translation later called "Tango" that can run 32-bit apps on the OnePlus 12's 64-bit processor. 
  • Most apps have already switched to support 64-bit architectures, but Tango could be useful in running older apps. 

OnePlus' latest flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 12, is in a weird middle ground right now. It's available in China, and we already know nearly everything about the OnePlus 12, but we're still anxiously waiting for the January 23 launch event, where OnePlus will reveal the phone for North American markets. 

As more people get to dissect the OnePlus 12 in other regions, we're learning even more about the device. That includes a clever trick allowing 32-bit apps to run on the OnePlus 12's processor, which features 64-bit CPU cores. A new translation layer, called "Tango," has been found on the Chinese version of the OnePlus 12 and can be used to run any 32-bit app. 

It's unclear if the feature will make its way to the U.S. version of the OnePlus 12, as Android Police points out. Being able to run 32-bit apps matters a lot more to users in China than in the U.S., hence why Tango has been included in the Chinese variant. That's because while nearly all Android apps on the Google Play Store have been 64-bit for some time, apps distributed via app stores in China have not. 

This is notable now because there are no 32-bit cores on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor that powers the OnePlus 12. Previously, the last-generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip had specialized cores kept around to enable 32-bit compatibility. Now that all the 32-bit cores are gone on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 platform, users may have run into compatibility issues on phones that use Qualcomm's newest chips. 

OnePlus 12

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Without a translation layer, the 64-bit chip in the OnePlus 12 would have no way to process 32-bit apps, breaking their compatibility with the smartphone. 

But this likely won't be an issue in the U.S. since Google has already detached itself from 32-bit apps. It dropped support for installing 32-bit apps on 64-bit phones more than two years ago and stopped accepting updates and new submissions of 32-bit apps two years before that. 

According to Mishaal Rahman, the Tango translator was originally restricted to apps approved by OnePlus. However, Rahman says OnePlus opened the feature to all 32-bit apps in an over-the-air software update. 

Though most users won't need a 32-bit app, having the option can come in handy for using old apps that haven't been transitioned to 64-bit versions. We'll be interested to see whether Tango ships worldwide or whether it's region-locked. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.