WhatsApp won’t stop working on older phones from January 2021 as claimed by media reports

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By Cheryl Kahla, The South African

Several outlets reported this month that WhatsApp will stop working on certain older phones from January 2021. It might seem like credible news, WhatsApp had discontinued support for certain models in the past.

However, that isn’t the case this time around, as confirmed by WABetaInfo, a trusted source about WhatsApp news and updates.

WhatsApp is not dropping the support for older iPhones. It’s fake news.

WABeta Info, Twitter, 22 December 2020.

Let’s clarify. The news is true, but the timeline is all wrong.

WHATSAPP WON’T SUSPEND SUPPORT FOR OLDER PHONES

Recent reports indicated that iPhones running on iOS 9 – such as the iPhone 4 and earlier models – would lose WhatsApp support in the new year. Anything from an iPhone 4S and newer would reportedly be safe.

Users were instructed to upgrade to iOS9 as soon as possible. However, unlike in the past when WhatsApp announced which devices would not receive updates any longer, the FB-owned hasn’t shared any announcement recently.

As we reported in December 2019, Whatsapp already dropped support for older phones at the start of 2020. The new version was only available on phones running on iOS 9 and Android 4.0.3 or newer since February 2020.

Billions of WhatsApp users have been living with this change for an entire year already. There really isn’t anything to be concerned about. Chill.

WHY IS THIS REPORTED AS ‘FACT’?

A quick look at WhatsApp official blog shows that the recent changes to the world’s biggest chat app include a new feature called Carts, and an announcement about ways in which users in India can send payments over WhatsApp.

WhatsApp initially said some phones would lose support in January 2021, but those changes have already been rolled out in 2020. WhatsApp amended its official statement on June 2019 to include the correct dates.

whatsapp old phones january 2021
Screengrab of blog.whatsapp.com

As per WhatsApp’s official statement, This is the timeline for ending support on older devices. See? No mention of January 2021 whatsoever:

  • Nokia Symbian S60 after June 30, 2017
  • BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10 after December 31, 2017
  • Nokia S40 after December 31, 2018
  • All Windows Phone operating systems after December 31, 2019, and the app might not be available in the Microsoft Store after July 1, 2019
  • Android versions 2.3.7 and older after February 1, 2020
  • iPhone iOS 7 and older after February 1, 2020

CROWNED TOP MOBILE APP

In other news, the Facebook-owned app was recently crowned as the top non-gaming mobile app. Analytics company Sensor Tower confirmed that the app was installed 58 million times in the month of November.

Approximately 30% of all installations were from India; while the country with second-most installs was Nigeria. Following WhatsApp, the top five include TikTok, Facebook, Weather & Radar USA, and Instagram.

“Our estimates include downloads for the App Store and Google Play worldwide between 1 November 2020 and 30 November 2020. […] We report unique installs only”.

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