WhatsApp will cease on old phones in January

5 Dec 2016

WhatsApp. Image: Jakraphong Photography/Shutterstock

WhatsApp will no longer be supported across a number of Android and iOS devices, as the company is following through on an earlier pledge.

In March, WhatsApp engineers revealed plans to move away from older smartphones, with Nokia and BlackBerry devices the obvious victims of a 2017 cull.

The duo represented 70pc of smartphones when WhatsApp was born seven years ago but, with Google, Apple and Microsoft accounting for almost 100pc of all operating systems today, the decision was sound.


“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,” the company said at the time.

Though last month, it surprisingly gave several such devices a stay of execution, supporting BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10 OS, Nokia Series 40 and Nokia Symbian S60 devices until June 2017.

Instead, it’s Android 2.2 Froyo and/or older versions, Windows phones pre-Windows 8.1 and iPhones still operating on iOS 6 that will be left behind.

WhatsApp has had a very active 2016. In the calendar year, it has changed font options, introduced video calls and will soon see a Snapchat-like storyboard feature incorporated into its service.

Video streaming is on the way, GIFs are now supported and a confusing data-sharing agreement with Facebook is afoot.

These are all tweaks and improvements aimed at both keeping its 1bn customers happy and monetising a product that Facebook paid around $19bn for in 2014.

It enjoyed ‘just’ 450m active monthly users at the time, with this figure having doubled in less than two years.

WhatsApp. Image: Jakraphong Photography/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic