WhatsApp to end support for older devices

Next year, WhatsApp is changing its policy, which could impact millions of its users. This is because the platform will no longer support older Android and iOS devices.
WhatsApp iPhone
There could be problems for owners of older mobile devices as the 2020s approach. Photo: Pixabay

Who will be impacted?

TechRadar reports that from February 1, 2020, devices with operating systems up until 2.3.7 or iOS 8 will no longer be covered. This means that users of phones running on these software may no longer be able to use the messaging service.

It’s likely that users of these devices won’t be able to install the app from either Google Play or the App Store. WhatsApp has stated that if anyone has the service installed on a pre-2011 device some features could stop functioning at any time. Furthermore, owners won’t be able to verify their existing accounts or create new ones.

For those that are still using Windows-powered phones, they will find themselves in a tough situation even sooner. From December 31, 2019, the Facebook-owned brand will also stop supporting these handsets.

The company recommends upgrading to a device that runs on at least Android 4.0.3 or iOS 9 if they want to continue using the popular platform.

Mark Zuckerberg
WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users from 180 countries. Photo: Facebook

Industry efforts

This news follows a similar support-dropping move by Netflix. The streaming service announced that it will no longer work on Samsung TVs that were released around the same time.

WhatsApp’s approach will see millions of users impacted. The majority of those who still use these aged devices haven’t upgraded due to financial constraints. Therefore, they will struggle to purchase a new phone in order to still use WhatsApp. There could be fears of having to upgrade once again when WhatsApp drops its support models that aren’t as old.

This could cause a problem for the firm, as even though it has a considerable market share, it’s not the only popular messaging service around. The impacted users may choose to try their luck at suitable alternatives. Apps such as Line have dominated Asian markets, with millions of users spanning across countries such as Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

However, the pressure of staying looped in the WhatsApp group conversations may be a strong enough incentive for current WhatsApp users take the leap and get a new phone.

WhatsApp chatting
Facebook has a firm grip on the instant messaging market as Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users. Photo: Santeri Viinamäki via Wikimedia Commons

Strong decade

WhatsApp has come a long way since its emergence before 2011. At the turn of the last decade, Blackberry messenger was still a popular service. Along with that, it was still standard procedure to text someone using a network service, rather than using data via an app.

In its infancy, WhatsApp was one part of a phone user’s communication toolbox. However, it started to include both audio calls and video calls in its arsenal. Therefore, it’s now the all-encompassing solution for several mobile phone users. The success of the app spurred Facebook to acquire it for $19 billion in 2014.

What do you think of WhatsApp’s decision to stop supporting pre-2011 devices? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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