December 12, 2019

Article at The Inquirer

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WhatsApp is giving up on some ageing phones

Chances are this will still be on your home screen for the foreseeable future (unless you're on Windows Phone)

HORRIBLY NAMED MESSAGING APP WhatsApp is giving notice to owners of ‘vintage' smartphones that support is going to end soon.

Well, we say "giving notice" - if you're a regular reader of the WhatsApp FAQ you'll have spotted it immediately, anyway.

From 1 February 2020, only handsets that run Android 4.0.3 and up will be able to use the app. That almost certainly doesn't include you, if the latest stats on Android distribution are accurate, with Google estimating that just 0.6 per cent of users are still on Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich.

Still, with over 2.5 billion Android devices worldwide, 0.6 per cent is still pretty significant, representing around 15,000,000 phones and tablets. But in short, if you bought your Android handset since 2012 or so, you should be absolutely fine to continue bombarding family and friends with GIFs for the foreseeable future.

iPhone owners, meanwhile, will need to be on iOS 9 or later, which means as long as you're using an iPhone 4 or up, you're good to go. Although we can't imagine using an iPhone 4 in 2019 is a particularly fulfilling experience, WhatsApp or no WhatsApp.

The end of days is coming even sooner for Windows Phone - stop sobbing, Kevin - which will have the plug roughly yanked out on 31 December.

Despite this cull of older OSes, WhatsApp still boasts of support for "select phones running KaiOS 2.5.1+, including JioPhone and JioPhone 2." If you Google KaiOS you'll be struck at the difference between the official site's tagline of "The emerging OS" and the Wikipedia page, which notes it was discontinued in 2016.

Still going strong with WhatsApp, though - although the FAQ does note that "because we no longer actively develop for these operating systems, some features might stop functioning at any time." You have been warned. µ