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WhatsApp drops support for older iPhones

Despite all of the controversies its parent company Meta has faced, WhatsApp still remains one of the most-used instant messaging services around the world. Its promise of end-to-end encryption, which has miraculously managed to stay intact, has always endeared it to its user base. The ability to conveniently send and receive money has also been a critical product feature. For business reasons, WhatsApp tries to support as many devices as it can, but it eventually has to draw a line somewhere. That line is apparently being moved, and owners of very old iPhones might find themselves out of options unless they upgrade to a new version of iOS or, worse, upgrade to a new iPhone.

It’s not surprising that WhatsApp would eventually drop support for nearly ancient versions of operating systems. In addition to keeping its codebase lean and clean, it also needs to adopt new features that may not work on older versions of those platforms. There might also be some lingering security holes and bugs that can only be closed by relying on a new capability that’s available on more recent versions of operating systems. Such moves naturally cut off some users, but it’s not unexpected, especially for very old software and hardware.

Giving credence to rumors that have been running around since late 2021, WABetaInfo reveals that WhatsApp indeed plans to drop support for two of Apple’s oldest iOS versions, namely iOS 10 and iOS 11. This means that for iPhone users, you’ll need to be running at least iOS 12 to continue using WhatsApp. The switch won’t be flipped until October, however, so there’s plenty of time for affected users to prepare for that day.

By dropping iOS 10 and iOS 11, WhatsApp will effectively stop working on certain iPhones, particularly those that were launched as far back as 2012 and 2013. That said, all hope is not lost for some of these phones thanks to Apple’s long support period. Phones like the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6s will still support the app as long as they’re upgraded to iOS 12 before the deadline. Given how iOS 16 is already around the corner, it might indeed be high time to make that change regardless.

Things are not so rosy for owners of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c, which were launched in 2012 and 2013, respectively. These phones are stuck at iOS 11 and can’t upgrade to iOS 12 at all. Assuming there are still owners of these 10-year-old phones, they will have to upgrade to a new device if they want to continue using WhatsApp. Fortunately, migrating to a new phone, even to a different platform, has become easier on WhatsApp these days.

WhatsApp will pull the plug on iOS 10 and iOS 11 on October 24, 2022. It is perhaps no coincidence that iOS 16 will most likely launch around that time as well. The next version of iOS is expected to finally drop support for the iPhone 6s, among others, so it’s probably a good time as any for those old models to take the plunge with a new version of iOS anyway. SlashGear

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