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 7Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
Google PixelThe Huffington Post UK
OnePlus 3TThe Huffington Post UK
Samsung Galaxy S7 edgeBloomberg via Getty Images
Apple iPhone SEThe Huffington Post UK
LG G5ASSOCIATED PRESS
Huawei P9JACK TAYLOR via Getty Images
Google Nexus 5X