Check your software version and model if you've got an older iPhone or Android phone

The Facebook-owned app stopped supporting a number of old mobile phones at the end of 2019, including phones using Windows Mobile. And from February 2020, it will class a lot of older iPhone and Android models as out of date too.

If you own a phone that runs a version of Android 2.3.7 or older or an iPhone running iOS 7 or older, you will no longer be able to create a new account on WhatsApp or re-verify an existing WhatsApp account as WhatsApp is ending support for phones running those software versions.

Which phones won't work?

The last iPhones released that were running iOS 7 were the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c back in 2013. iOS 8 was then released in 2014 so if you bought your iPhone after that date then you'll be fine.

Android 2.3.7 (also known as Gingerbread) launched in 2010. In February 2011 Android 3.0 was released (Honeycomb), so chances are if you're using a Google Nexus S or Samsung Galaxy S-Series phone, your phone should be fine too.

If you have a phone that is compatible with these more recent software releases then it's just be a case of updating your software rather than your phone, so make sure you do this by February 1st 2020. For example the iPhone 4S is compatible with iOS 9. This can be done on an iPhone by going to Settings, then General, then Software Updates. On Android, you will need to head to Settings then About Phone then Software Info.

This move of ending support for older devices is quite common place for WhatsApp as they want to focus their efforts on the most popular mobile platforms which makes complete sense.  On December 31st 2019, support was switched off for Windows Mobile and it was Nokia S40 before that.

The full list of dates when WhatsApp stopped working on older phones:

  • June 30, 2017 – Nokia Symbian S60
  • December 31, 2017 – BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10
  • December 31, 2018 – Nokia S40
  • December 31, 2019 – Windows Mobile
  • February 1, 2020 – iOS 7 and Android 2.3.7

For those of you that have been living in a cave, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and is the preferred messaging app for over a billion users. It uses the internet to send messages instead of the mobile network which can reduce your monthly bill significantly and the platform is actually free to use if you are on a WiFi network. You can even make video and voice calls through it, internationally for free as long as you are both using WiFi. You can also send photos, videos, documents and recorded voice messages which are very popular with people on the move that don’t have time for a chat.

When WhatsApp launched in 2009, Skype was the go-to for video calling around the world but it was only available via PC at the time. In contrast, you can use WhatsApp to video call from wherever you are, as long as you have your phone and a decent mobile or WiFi network connection. As a result, WhatsApp has pretty much killed SMS and MMS which charged extra for sending multimedia, messaging certain contacts or a lengthier word count than specified. However, it should be noted that data rates apply for using WhatsApp, despite it being a free app - it will use your mobile data if you're not using a WiFi connection.

The other advantage of WhatsApp is that it identifies people through their mobile number rather that requiring a username. This means that anyone who has your number can find you on WhatsApp. This can be embarrassing if your boss finds you unexpectedly along with your profile photo of that hilarious night when you had a quick go at being a pole dancer and/or your questionable ‘about’ message that you poked into your profile then promptly forgot about but which remains visible to all 😳.

‘As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use,’ WhatsApp said to explain why it ends support for older operating systems. ‘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. ‘If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone to continue using WhatsApp.’

If you need help with your phone you can tweet the Chitter Chatter team on Twitter or chat to us and other customers about all things mobile in our Facebook Group.

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