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WhatsApp and old phones: Many people to lose access to WhatsApp but you probably should not worry

Today is February 1, the day WhatsApp that stops working on many old phones and you may have seen reports telling you that your WhatsApp access will not be available from today. Chances are you don't have to worry.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | February 3, 2020 | Updated 10:13 IST
whatsapp phones

Highlights

  • WhatsApp has stopped support for phones running Android 2.3.7 and older.
  • Whatsapp has regretted the decision but has maintained that it decided to provide better ways for people to stay in touch.
  • It now runs only on iOS devices running iOS 9+ and Android devices running OS 4.0.3+.

Today is February 1, a dreaded day for some people who are no longer going to have access to the popular messaging app, WhatsApp. Reason: They are using a very old phone. But are you one of these phone users? In the last few days, a number of reports have highlighted that you may lose access to WhatsApp because the Facebook-owned app is dropping support for a number of older phones. However, chances are that you are not going to be affected because these phones, and the software that these phones run, is old. Like VERY VERY old.

WhatsApp now runs only on iOS devices running iOS 9+ and Android devices running OS 4.0.3+ along with the Jio phones. This means all the phones that are running older software are no longer compatible with WhatsApp, effective now. The company has regretted the decision of withdrawing the support from many operating systems but has maintained that it decided to provide better ways for people to stay in touch. Basically, sorry no sorry.

Interestingly, Android and iOS weren't the only operating systems that stopped receiving WhatsApp support. On December 31, 2019, WhatsApp ended support for the Windows phones and coincidentally Microsoft also ended support of its Windows 10 mobile OS. For a better understanding, check out the list of operating systems that will not have WhatsApp anymore:

The phones running Android 2.3.7 and older
The phones running iOS 8 and older
The phones featuring Windows OS

This list also means you are likely not affected. The operating systems that are mentioned above are installed in very old devices such as the iPhone 4, 5 or 5C and in Android, they are similar to the phones such as Samsung E7, Mega that were launched in or before 2015. Considering how tech-savvy the world has become it would be highly unlikely to find people using any of the devices in 2020, as not just WhatsApp these phones also deprived of many other important functionalities. Some new apps like Snapchat, TikTok, Google Pay might not be available for download on these stale operating systems.

And in a way, WhatsApp is right in dropping the support for older software and devices. At a time when severe breaches of security have been detected in WhatsApp, it is not very favourable to use the stale version of the software that doesn't have any new security updates.

More significantly, the fact remains that very few people are actually using these devices. Windows OS devices are no longer on sale for the last 5 odd years. So much so that not even Microsoft is providing support for the phones, if at all there are these functional phones with people in 2020, that run on Windows OS. The Android OS 2.3 aka Gingerbread and software released before that is now used on less than 1 per cent Android phones. In fact, the precise number according to official Android pie chart is 0.3 per cent. Then there is the iOS 8, which too is no longer used on any iPhone that is not like 7 or 8 years old. In other words, if you are using a phone that you bought in 2016 or after that, chances are you are fine and are not going to be affected as WhatsApp stops support for (very) old phones.

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