WhatsAppers with older smartphones are the latest victims of a technological arms race that punishes customers for not upgrading their mobiles.
The Facebook-owned messaging app is used by more than a billion people, but many will have found themselves locked out this week after functionality was removed for older iPhones and Android and Windows devices.
Affected handsets include those running Android 2.1 or 2.2 or iOS 6, as well as iPhone 3GS devices and Windows Phone 7s.
“These platforms don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,” WhatsApp said in a blog.
The firm recommends customers upgrade to newer phones if they want to continue using the service.
It’s expected that the decision to stop focusing on software for less modern models will help WhatsApp to more deeply integrate encryption into the app.
The handsets and operating systems affected by the decision are several years old, but they still have a significant numbers of users. As many as 1.4 million devices run Android 2.2, Mashable reported.
WhatsApp had also been planning to remove functionality for all Blackberry models, as well as some Nokia handsets. But it appears to have u-turned.
“We are extending support for BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60 until June 30, 2017,” the company wrote in a blog.
Many phone companies prevent users with older models from updating to the latest operating systems, rendering their handsets increasingly less useful.
HuffPost’s selection of the best smartphones you can buy now
Apple iPhone 7
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This is Apple’s best iPhone ever, and if we’re honest it’s one of their most innovative devices yet. It has an incredible camera, is water-resistant and boasts a stunning bright new display. Of course it can’t escape the rumours surrounding next year’s device but if you’re looking to buy a smartphone right now, and Apple are on your radar, this is the phone for you.
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This is Google’s iPhone. It’s that simple. As such there are achievements and compromises. If you’re after an incredibly well-built, powerful Android flagship, Google have given you a truly five-star smartphone. If you’re a photographer, the Pixel’s camera and cloud storage option make this a no brainer. It's not cheap though, with the XL costing over £800.
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The OnePlus 3T is simply a continuation of the ethos that makes OnePlus phones so good. It’s exceptionally well-built, powerful and offers you everything you could want in an affordable and meaningful package. No smartphone will give you more value for money.
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
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With a new curved back and larger 5.5-inch display the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is more about evolution than revolution. The S7 edge now sports a water-resistant body, embedded camera and a MicroSD card slot. The S7 edge is also Samsung's most powerful smartphone yet, so powerful in fact that Samsung have actually had to equip a tiny water-cooling system inside the phone. The good news though is that means you'll never have to worry about getting a warm hand.
Apple iPhone SE
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Incredibly, Apple's familiar-looking iPhone SE manages to boast the same performance as its top-of-the-range iPhone 6s making it the most powerful 4-inch smartphone available. If you're keen to return to the days of one-handed texting then Apple's bite-sized iPhone is the smartphone for you.
The LG G5 sets itself apart from rivals like the S7, Xperia XA and the iPhone 6s by being something utterly unique. The G5 is the first commercial 'modular' phone, allowing you to swap out the bottom for new accessories. So far there's an audio one made in partnership with Bang & Olufsen and a camera-focused attachment which gives you extra camera controls.
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The Huawei P9 is a smartphone designed for capturing life. Thanks to a partnership with photography legends Leica this dual-lens camera can take pictures that'll put your dedicated camera to shame. Of course it helps that the P9 is also a pretty great Android smartphone as well.
Google Nexus 5X
The Nexus 5X strikes the ultimate balance between power and affordability. Taking over the responsibility from the frankly excellent Nexus 5, Google's new smartphone boast an ultra-light body but still crams in a fingerprint sensor, the latest version of Android marshmallow and a Full-HD display.