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WhatsApp Has Removed Functionality For Older Smartphones

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04/01/2017 12:55 | Updated 04 January 2017

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. 

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

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.

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