Why WhatsApp Will Soon Stop Working on Older Smartphones

WhatsApp is currently the number one mobile messaging platform with more than 1 billion users worldwide.

The Facebook-owned company keeps growing and evolving, and at the same time, it receives new features that wouldn’t be possible without the technologies that are bundled into modern operating systems.

More recently, WhatsApp announced that support for some older operating systems would be dropped, meaning that some of those people using 10-year-old smartphones would no longer be able to chat with their contacts.

More specifically, WhatsApp would no longer work on the following platforms starting with February 1, 2020:

• Android versions 2.3.7 and older

• iOS 8 and older

Because some have turned to social media to express their anger towards WhatsApp’s decision to leave behind these platforms, let’s have a look at more data regarding these operating systems.

The seventh version of Android, also known as Gingerbread, was released in December 2010, so right now, it’s no less than 8 years old. The latest update of this release was version 2.3.7 and landed in September 2011.

The last data shared by Google in May 2019 indicates that only 0.3% of the Android devices out there run Android Gingerbread. Android Marshmallow had the biggest share at that time, accounting for 16.9% of all Androids out there.

iOS 8, on the other hand, was announced at WWDC 2014 in June and then released to devices in September 2014. While it’s a newer release as compared to Android Gingerbread, it’s still a version that runs on a very limited number of devices. Apple includes iOS 8 in the “Earlier” group, which back in October powered just 9 percent of iPhones on the market. The same category also includes iOS 11, iOS 10, and iOS 9.

In case you’re wondering what devices are affected by this change in WhatsApp, super-old models like Samsung Galaxy S and iPhone 4 are the most popular names on this list.

The data above is living proof that only a few people are likely to be affected by WhatsApp’s new support policy, and it also shows that the vast majority of users already updated to newer versions of Android and iOS. Regardless of platform and country, that is.

In the case of Android, even devices in the low-end market now come with Android 9, so theoretically, upgrading to a newer release, which in its turn comes with a series of benefits, doesn’t really cost a fortune.

As far as iOS are concerned, things are a little bit more complicated here because Apple itself doesn’t make affordable devices that would encourage users to upgrade. iPhone SE is one attempt in this regard, but options in the iOS ecosystem are still limited as compared to Android.

For those wondering, getting around WhatsApp’s limitations will most likely be impossible, especially as the block will also be configured server-side. Installing the APK on Android won’t make any difference, as the minimum API is currently Gingerbread, and the upgrade that WhatsApp is…


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