A big change is coming to WhatsApp on New Year's Day

Greg Evans
Saturday 30 December 2017 09:30
news
Picture:(Getty Images)

If you try to send a traditional 'Happy New Year' message via WhatsApp on 1 January, don't be surprised if it doesn't work.

This isn't down to WhatsApp trying to shield you from all your mates. Instead, the app is subtly trying to tell you to get a new phone.

As of 1 January 2018, the developers of the popular messaging app will remove support from all old smartphones.

Therefore all new software updates for the app will not be available for certain users who still use old operating systems on their devices.

The systems that will be affected are Blackberry OS, Blackberry 10, Windows Phone 7, Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1, Android 2.2, iPhone 3GS and iOS 6.

A blog post by WhatsApp from February 2016 details why they are taking these steps. They wrote:

When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people's use of mobile devices looked very different from today. The Apple App Store was only a few months old.

About 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia.

Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 percent of sales today – were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold at the time.

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.

They go on to list a number of mobile devices that will not be able to use WhatsApp after the clock strikes midnight on 1 January.

Those include the aforementioned Blackberry, Nokia and Windows models, while Nokia Symbian 260 users will have noticed that their phones stopped receiving updates on 30 June.

Android phones using the 2.3.7 version or older will no longer receive updates as of 1 February 2020, so you can savour the app for just a little longer.

Although this might seem like a drastic measure for WhatsApp to be taking it does make sense given the heavy influence held by the likes of Apple in the OS industry.

WhatsApp concluded their statement by admitting that it was a tough decision to make:

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.

HT UniLad

More: WhatsApp: 12 incredibly useful features you probably didn't know

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