By February, Facebook’s WhatsApp instant messaging app stops working on millions of older mobile devices globally, after the company suspended support for such phones running older versions of Android and iOS altogether.
With more than a billion users across 180 countries, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging systems in the world, but millions of these people may now find themselves isolated with the company’s announcement that it has discontinued support for older Android and iOS phones.
The company said in a post: Although these portable devices were an important part of our story, they do not provide the capabilities that we need to expand the application features in the future, and this was a difficult decision for us, but it is the right decision in order to give people a better way to keep in touch with Friends, family and loved ones.
Affected users will not be able to use their existing accounts, in addition to losing conversations if they did not export their chat history earlier, and the company notes that the option to export chat is not available in Germany.
The company that developed the application had suspended on December 31, 2019 its support for Windows Phone users, with a message saying: “You can no longer use WhatsApp on this phone, because WhatsApp no longer supports it.”
With the deadline of today’s date, users who use Android devices running 2.3.7 (known as Gingerbread) and earlier versions, as well as users of iPhones running iOS 8 and earlier, are affected.
According to Google, only 0.3 percent of Android devices are still powered by this Gingerbread version of the operating system, while Apple claims that only 7 percent of devices are powered by an older version of its iOS 12 operating system.
In other words, if the user had an iPhone 4 or earlier, or an Android device released before 2011 (such as Google Nexus One or Samsung Galaxy S), it is unlikely that he could install WhatsApp from the App Store or Google Play Store.
Notable devices that lose WhatsApp support include: iPhone older than iPhone 5, and all Android smartphones launched in 2010 or earlier, such as: Samsung Epic 4G and Motorola Droid X.
These users ’ability to create new WhatsApp accounts or re-check their existing accounts is restricted, and these users will not be able to use WhatsApp at all after today.
WhatsApp recommends that users who wish to continue using the service obtain a device running Android 4.0.3 at least, or an iPhone with iOS 9 or higher.
The company claims that this step, which came into effect today, is necessary to ensure the safety of users against hackers who may attempt to exploit loopholes in old operating systems to steal personal details, and the American company advises users to update to the latest version of the application in order to maintain their security during messaging.