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Millions of older phones can no longer use WhatsApp

On February 1, 2020, WhatsApp ended support for some of the oldest devices still in use. This includes iPhones running iOS 8 and below and Android devices on Android Gingerbread 2.3.7 or older. In other words, it’s time to either update your OS or upgrade your phone.

The popular messaging platform WhatsApp has stopped working on millions of smartphones running older mobile operating systems. The company owned by Facebook, officially ended support for smartphones running an OS older than iOS 8 or Android 2.3.7. The messaging platform also ended support for Windows 10 Mobile, due to the ailing popularity of Microsoft’s mobile OS.

The main reason behind terminating support for older devices is that they can no longer receive new security updates from Apple and Google, which makes them especially susceptible to privacy attacks and puts the users’ data at risk. To counteract this, WhatsApp recommends upgrading to newer devices which can support more up to date OS versions capable of getting these privacy updates.

“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,” said a spokesperson for the company.

However, this is easier said than done for a lot of people who rely on their older phones to communicate with the rest of the world. For example, according to statistics provided by WhatsApp itself, around 0.3% of global Android devices run on Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, which will be the latest version losing support.

Most of these devices are in developing countries in Africa and Asia, meaning it’s difficult for the people who use them to upgrade to newer devices. Similarly, people using iPhones models up to the iPhone 4 will also lose support as those devices stopped receiving updates after iOS version 6.

For some users, that might be as simple as an OS update; upgrading from iOS 8 to 9 should be enough to keep your favorite chat app working. However, not all devices can be upgraded. If you’re still holding onto that iPhone 4 you loved, you’re stuck on iOS 7; the most recent device compatible with iOS 9 is the 4s.

On Android, it’s even more complicated with the wealth of fragmentation that’s plagued the platform since its inception, but if someone you know is running an older device, it might be a good idea to tell them to install the latest OS updates.

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