WhatsApp Will No Longer Work On These Devices Starting November 1, 2021
WhatsApp has updated its support guidelines with fresh baseline requirements, which means official support ends for a bunch of devices soon.
WhatsApp has again updated its device support guidelines, limiting the software compatibility to phones running iOS 10 or later and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or later. This is not the first time that WhatsApp is cutting a small bunch of aging devices off the support channel, and has actually been doing so on an annual basis for some time now. Back in 2020, WhatsApp formally ended support for the Windows Phone platform. At the start of this year, the baseline requirements were bumped up to iOS 9 as well as Android 4.0 Jelly Bean.
The reason behind ending support for certain OS versions is that aging phones running old software build no longer receive security updates, which means they are left vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, most of these old phones have ‘ancient’ hardware that either doesn’t support the advanced features of an app or offers a poor experience. In either case, the end result is not desirable, which is why developers periodically raise the software and/or hardware requirements to ensure that their apps offer the best user experience possible at the time. Being one of the most widely-used apps on the planet, WhatsApp is no different.
The official support page now mentions that WhatsApp will no longer support phones and tablets running Android 4.0.4 Jelly Bean or older builds. The minimum software version for running the instant messaging app on Android devices now stands at Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or later. As for iPhone, iOS 10 is now the minimum requirement for running WhatsApp. What this means is Apple fans still rocking an iPhone 4S will no longer enjoy official WhatsApp support starting from November of this year, while folks with an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c will be good for at least another year.
What Happens When Official Support Ends?
WhatsApp mentions that phones and tablets that don’t fulfill the software criterion will lose support on November 1, 2021. Such devices will no longer be able to download the app from the Play Store or App Store. Moreover, folks with the app already installed on their aging device will lose out on some core WhatsApp features once the deadline hits. As of July 2021, only 0.46-percent of Android phones boot Android Jelly Bean, and similar is the market share of iPhones running iOS 9 or lower. Needless to say, the number of such devices in the wild is quite low, but it’s still worth pointing out.
The only solution for users still rocking these older phones is to either update their phone’s operating system, or switch to a new device. WhatsApp allows users to move their chat history from one iPhone to another via a seamless backup-and-transfer process, and the same applies to Android. A native chat migration tool for iOS to Android is also live in the beta channel as of now, but a parallel Android-to-iOS bridge is still in development. The only other method to recover the WhatsApp chat history is via email attachments, which tends to be a tedious process.
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