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WhatsApp won’t work on these iPhone models starting in October

Published May 23rd, 2022 12:21PM EDT
Apple iPhone 13 Software
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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WhatsApp is the world’s most popular chat platform, having hit 2 billion users more than two years ago. The app offers rich instant messaging features on par with other similar apps. And WhatsApp supports end-to-end encryption for texts and calls, just like Apple’s iMessage. The best part about it is that WhatsApp works on iPhone and Android.

But WhatsApp continues to evolve, which means older devices will lose access to the app in the near future. Come October, WhatsApp for iPhone will require at least iOS 12, which means some older iPhones will not make the cut.

Facebook (now Meta) spent nearly $20 billion to acquire the chat platform in early 2014. The company has been updating WhatsApp ever since, adding new features over the years. This helped the platform grow when it comes to monthly users, but didn’t help Facebook make money with it.

Last year, Facebook made a controversial privacy change to WhatsApp, seeing plenty of pushback from users and some governments. Despite millions of users flocking to competing products, WhatsApp remains the most used messaging app on iPhone and Android.

And it was just last year that we learned WhatsApp would not support a variety of old smartphones. On November 1st, 2021, WhatsApp ended support for Android handsets running OS versions older than Android 4.1 and iPhones on software older than iOS 10.

WhatsApp notification warning iPhone users the app won't support their version of iOS.
WhatsApp notification warning iPhone users the app won’t support their version of iOS. Image source: WaBetaInfo

WhatsApp on iPhone requires iOS 12

Almost a year later, WhatsApp will make another significant change to its minimum requirements. The chat apps will not support iOS 10 or iOS 11 starting on October 24th.

WaBetaInfo, a prominent WhatsApp leaker, revealed the notification that will appear on devices running iOS versions older than iOS 12. A WhatsApp support document also notes the iOS 12 requirement.

That means the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c models that Apple released in September 2012 will no longer be able to run WhatsApp. But iPhone users on newer models who somehow never updated their devices to iOS 12 or later will also be temporarily affected.

Say you own an iPhone 5s or iPhone 6 that’s still on iOS 10, which was released in September 2016. You won’t be able to use WhatsApp unless you upgrade to the latest iOS update available for those handsets.

If you’re still using an iPhone that’s nearly 10 years old, losing WhatsApp access might not be your biggest problem. The most pressing issue on an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c is likely the phone’s battery life after so many years of service.

You might be better off upgrading to a brand new iPhone. You’ll be fixing battery life issues and securing WhatsApp access for years to come. Not to mention that any new iPhone you purchase right now will significantly boost the overall performance. Also, it’s easy to move all your WhatsApp chats to the new iPhone once you upgrade.

You have until October 24th to decide how to handle the WhatsApp-mandated iPhone upgrade. The app will continue to send notifications, warning about the risk of losing access come fall. And remember, new iPhones come out in late September, and current iPhone models will get price discounts at the same time.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

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.

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