Android phones running version 2.3.7 and older will lose access to WhatsApp (Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Android phones running version 2.3.7 and older will lose access to WhatsApp (Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

WhatsApp has announced it will soon stop working on millions of phones around the world as they reach the end of their supported lifespan.

That means users on a variety of older handsets could end up losing access to the messaging app.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has confirmed via its support page that it will stop supporting these devices on December 31, 2019.

The company says that any phone running the Windows Mobile operating system will not be supported after this date. However, that’s not all.

Any iPhone running software older than iOS 7 will no longer be supported and neither will any Android device with version 2.3.7 installed. The iOS and Android blocks won’t happen this month but will take place on February 1, 2020.

So, which phones won’t work?

The last iPhones released running iOS 7 were the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C back in 2013. It was superseded by iOS 8 in 2014 so if you bought an iPhone (or iPad) after that date you’re going to be fine.

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Similarly, Android 2.3.7 was known as ‘Gingerbread’ and was launched way back in 2010. By the February of 2011 it had been supplanted by Android 3.0, also known as Honeycomb. Chances are, unless you’re still rocking a Google Nexus S or a Samsung Galaxy S, you’ll probably be fine.

Windows Mobile is even older – it was originally rolled out in 2003 and ran until 2010 on devices like the Motorola MPx200. When it became clear that iOS and Android were more superior, Microsoft re-engineered its mobile operating system into the tile-based Windows Phone OS – which didn’t fare much better.

WhatsApp says that anyone using these older phones can no longer create new accounts or reverify existing accounts.

A Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone photographed during a studio shoot for Official Windows Magazine, November 5, 2012. (Photo by James Looker/Official Windows Magazine via Getty Images)
Windows Phone was the tile-based OS designed to compete with Android and iOS that came after Windows Mobile (James Looker/Official Windows Magazine via Getty Images)

‘Because we no longer actively develop for these operating systems, some features might stop functioning at any time,’ the company said in a blog post announcing the cut-off dates.

When does WhatsApp stop working on old phones?

WhatsApp regularly stops support for older devices, forcing users to keep up to date if they want to continue using the app.

Here are all the dates that WhatsApp stopped working on older phone systems.

  • 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

‘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 justify why it routinely strips support for older operating systems.

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‘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.’

BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 14: The Logo of instant messaging service WhatsApp is displayed on a smartphone on December 14, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
WhatsApp is also working on a dark mode (Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

As well as ditching older systems, WhatsApp is focused on adding new features for current systems. It is currently working on a dark mode which should help reduce its battery usage a bit, but it’s not available for general release.

Now the app detectives at WABetaInfo have found a clever new feature which should allow dark mode to bring even more light to your life.

It is rooted through beta mode to find a new option buried in the settings. This will let you choose between the light and dark side of WhatsApp, but also tick a box marked ‘battery saver’. This automatically switches on dark mode when your juice is running low.

‘WhatsApp doesn’t stop amazing us, continuing to improve with new features like the Battery Saver option’ the blog wrote.

The feature was found in a beta version of the software for Android. It will eventually be released to the public and run on every device, but it’s not clear when this will take place.

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