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If you have one of these phones, you can’t use WhatsApp after January 1st

Updated Dec 29th, 2020 9:38AM EST
WhatsApp Support
Image: oatawa/Adobe

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  • WhatsApp will stop working on older smartphones starting January 1st, including some iPhone and Android devices.
  • iPhones running iOS 9 or older and Android devices on Android 4.0.3 will not be able to run WhatsApp, or the app experience might lack some functionality.
  • Users who still use older hardware like the iPhone 4 and Galaxy S2 will have to upgrade the operating system if possible or consider upgrading to a newer smartphone.

WhatsApp is Facebook’s most popular instant messaging platform and possibly the most popular chat app in the world. It works on phones, tablets, and PCs, and features end-to-end encryption support. It offers several handy features that make it a must-have app on your phone, regardless of the operating system, including cross-platform support, which allows iPhone users to chat with their Android friends who do not have access to iMessage.

Unfortunately, some devices will no longer be able to run the app starting next year. Come Friday, January 1st, WhatsApp will stop working on some smartphones, including certain Android and iPhone devices.

iPhones that aren’t running at least iOS 9 and Android phones that are not on a software version newer than Android 4.0.3 will not run WhatsApp or be able to offer the full WhatsApp experience at the beginning of next year, per News 18. Last year, the same thing happened when Facebook ended support for devices running iOS 8 and Android 2.3.7.

To avoid losing access to WhatsApp, you should make sure you upgrade to the latest available software version your iPhone or Android supports. That should be a simple process for most iPhone users, as Apple has always been much better than Google when it comes to ensuring that all of their devices are supported with software updates years after they launch. Even so, iPhone 4 and older devices won’t run newer iOS versions. But if you still operate a 10-year-old phone, you might want to consider moving on to a new device anyway.

For Android users, it’s more complicated. Some of the old Android handsets that might still be in use might not run the required Android version because smartphone vendors stopped updating them. Even so, you’d still have to use a phone that’s almost 10 years old. Some of the affected devices include the Galaxy S2 and the Droid Razr.

If you’re unsure of what operating system you have installed on your old device, you should go into the Settings app on iPhone or Android and look for software information. Head to SettingsGeneralSoftware Update on iPhone, or SettingsAbout Phone on Android to find out if a new version of the OS is available.

If that’s not possible, the only solution is getting a new phone. You’ll be able to transfer all your WhatsApp chats to the new device, so you don’t have to worry about losing any data in the process of upgrading.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.