In its updated list of supported devices, WhatsApp revealed that support for older versions of devices will soon stop. In specifying the devices to be affected, the post named certain OS versions of Android, iPhone, and Windows phones. The Facebook-owned company claims to be discontinuing support in order to ensure functionality and security of users.
As things stand, devices running Android 2.3.7 “Gingerbread”, Windows Phone 8.1, and iOS 8 will no longer be able to create new accounts or verify existing ones -- this also applies to all versions before those mentioned. However, users of existing accounts on these devices can continue using the service until February 1 2020.
WhatsApp recommends an OS upgrade or a switch to phones with higher specifications for people who want to hold on to their old devices and still use the app from the 2nd of February.
This is not good news for users who will choose to stick with older devices, especially those that do not support an OS upgrade. They might have no choice but to uninstall the app and move to other social media apps like Facebook Messenger, which statistics reveal is just behind WhatsApp on the list of top social messaging apps globally, and can be accessed using a web browser.
WhatsApp is currently touted to be the most popularly used messaging service worldwide with more than 1.5 billion users across 180 countries. The Facebook-owned messaging app has become people’s favourite for a number of perks like WhatsApp status, WhatsApp Business, and the recently integrated WhatsApp catalogue for small businesses in a few countries.
Apparently, this is not the first time WhatsApp has made such a move. Between 2017 and now, it ended support for BlackBerry OS and Nokia Symbian S60.
It remains to be seen how this will affect the average African user.