As of January 1, millions of WhatsApp users will no longer have access to this messaging service, we have been reading everywhere for several days. It is true, many phones, which are considered too old, will no longer be able to run applications. But it is more complex than it looks. And this is not new.
Today, with over 2.2 billion users on the planet – which makes it undoubtedly the most downloaded app – WhatsApp regularly decides not to offer its services on some phones considered too old. This has happened at least three times. The service, which belongs to Facebook, had already decided in January 2019 that it would no longer be active on twenty Nokia phones running with the Series 40 system. In early 2020, WhatsApp also became unusable to run with version 7 on some older iPhones. iOS system. This is specifically related to the iPhone 4. It has also been running on Android smartphones equipped with 2.3.7 or older version for almost a year.
WhatsApp is being denied access to a new range of smartphones on WhatsApp – and it is unclear whether it has been in force since January 1 or a few months old. But the result is similar: for iPhones, the service requires installation of version 9 of iOS. As a result, owners of older models (iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 6 and 6S) should absolutely update the iOS operating system to continue using WhatsApp. And version 4.0.3 is required for Android phones. For example, HTC models from Samsung or Desire models from the Galaxy S2. For owners of Sony’s Galaxy S3 or Xperia Pro models, they too have to update Android to the latest version for these models.
Gradually, WhatsApp is giving up, every twelve months or so the phone is considered very old. And this event will definitely continue for the next few years. Why? First, because messaging regularly launches new services, such as financial transactions, interactions with companies and even advertising soon. It is not always possible to offer these services on models that are very old.
Another big concern: if Apple or Google stop providing updates for operating models of older models, they become less secure. They are susceptible to attack by hackers to exploit vulnerabilities that endanger not only the user, but in some cases the entire service.
WhatsApp is thus a reflection of obsolescence which is slowly affecting all phones. Like other apps, WhatsApp is forced to follow this never ending movement, which eventually forces users to buy new phones. how many are they? It is very difficult to say. According to our estimates, 0.5 to 1% of service users may be affected by the new requirements, which still represent between 10 and 20 million people. In Switzerland, since the number of smartphones is more recent, the percentage should also be lower.
Do Apple and Google have some responsibility for this headlong rush? without a doubt. Take Apple. It is the oldest iPhone 4S model running WhatsApp, which was released in late 2011. Since July 2019 and iOS version 9.3.6, the Apple brand has stopped updating this phone (with the most recent version 14.3 benefiting people). But looking at the update history, we come to know that Apple had not already offered any updates between 2016 and 2019.
Therefore, less than five years after its marketing, Apple has stopped providing important updates for the iPhone 4S. This is a relatively short duration. And the situation is often worse on Android’s side, as many smartphone makers quickly decide not to offer updates for their models running with the Google system.