After months of warnings, the day is finally here. WhatsApp has stopped working on millions of devices worldwide. From today, users with an older iPhone or Android could find the Facebook-owned messaging service no longer works – leaving them unable to continue conversations, answer video calls, and receive photos or files from friends and family.
If you’re hit by the block, it could mean a hefty bill as you’ll be forced to head to the shops, get your credit card out, and buy a new smartphone to continue accessing your messages and contacts.
WhatsApp has been very upfront about its new ban, with the messaging service alerting users about the February 1, 2020 support deadline for a year or more. However, this will be of little comfort to those who are now having to upgrade their phone at great expense.
So, how can you find out if this latest WhatsApp block is affecting you?
Luckily, this new end of life is only targeting much older iPhone and Android devices so many won’t need to worry. First, let’s talk about Android as this platform has a much higher number of users who are likely to be hit by the ban.
JUST IN: WhatsApp shock – Millions face a huge bill to continue using popular chat app
WhatsApp will no longer support Android smartphones running anything prior to version 2.3.7. Granted, this is a very old operating system but, according to the latest figures from Google, there are still plenty of phones using it.
In fact, this chat ban could hit 7.5million devices that will have to be upgraded before they can continue sending message, photos and videos.
Next up, it’s iPhone. Apple devices are less of a concern as this end of support only affects devices running anything older than iOS 7 and that’s likely to be a very limited amount of users. Unlike Google, Apple doesn’t reveal the exact figures, but unofficial figures suggest it will impact less than one percent of older hardware, including the iPhone 5S, with anything that was eligible for an upgrade to a new operating system now running it.
Although it might not be a hugely popular decision for those with ageing smartphones there has to come a point where tech firms simply can’t continue supporting every operating system.
WhatsApp has explained the decision clearly with the team saying: “As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use. While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future.
“This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.
“If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone to continue using WhatsApp.”
Android and Apple’s iPhone aren’t the only devices to suffer. WhatsApp has slowly been phasing out plenty of other gadgets over the past few years with Windows phone the most recent casualty of the block.