In the past few months, there have been reports from a wide range of publications claiming that WhatsApp – the most popular chat app on the planet, with more than two billion users – will drop support for millions of devices from the beginning of 2021. This is something that has happened before, as WhatsApp has tried to balance bringing exciting new features to the vast majority of its users with supporting older platforms, like BlackBerry, to help a minority continue to use the service to keep in touch with friends and family.
According to these troubling new reports, when January 1, 2021 arrives WhatsApp will only support smartphones running – at the very least – iOS 9 on iPhone and Android 4.0.3 or newer for Android devices, like the Google Pixel, OnePlus, Samsung Galaxy series, and more. Devices set to be impacted by such a change to the list of supported devices include the Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, which are too old to be upgraded to iOS 9 or later.
However, there is one important thing that WhatsApp fans on iOS and Android need to know about this recently circulated warning. It’s not true. Or rather, it is true – but the change that people are so concerned about has already happened. As the BBC, The Independent and Android Police (to name a few) have already reported, WhatsApp dropped support for iOS 8 and Android 2.3.7 towards the start of 2020. As such, users have been living with this change for months.
From February 1 2020, WhatsApp announced that it would only run on smartphones powered by iOS 9 and Android 4.0.3 or newer.
WhatsApp users will be blocked from chat app unless they accept new rules
Express.co.uk previously reported back in October 2019 that WhatsApp’s support page had been updated to warn users of these forthcoming changes. The WhatsApp support page for iOS had previously stated: “WhatsApp for iPhone requires iOS 9 or later. On iOS 8, you can no longer create new accounts or reverify existing accounts. If WhatsApp is currently active on your iOS 8 device, you’ll be able to use it until February 1, 2020.
“For the best experience, we recommend you use the latest version of iOS available for your phone.”
So, while WhatsApp does require iOS 9 or Android 4.0.3 – this change isn’t on the horizon, it has already happened. Speaking about these changes before they were rolled out to billions of users worldwide, WhatsApp said support was being dropped for a number of devices to help expand the app’s feature set in the future.
In a previous statement, WhatsApp said: “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.”
So, if you’ve seen an article claiming that your smartphone will lose WhatsApp. Please don’t panic. If you can open WhatsApp on your iPhone or Android phone today, then you’re guaranteed to still be able to open it when the fireworks start on January 1, 2021. That’s because the change you’re being warned about happened months ago.
In other WhatsApp news, Express.co.uk recently reported that WhatsApp users will need to agree to new terms and conditions which kick into effect next February. If WhatsApp users don’t agree to these new terms and conditions, they will no longer be able to use the market-leading chat app. The notification from WhatsApp read: “By tapping Agree, you accept the new terms, which take effect on February 8, 2021. After this date, you’ll need to accept the new terms to continue using WhatsApp or you can always delete your account.”