NEW YORK: A huge update to WhatsApp will see millions of iPhones and Android devices cut off from the tremendously popular messaging app.
The Facebook-owned app was to stop supporting a number of devices from yesterday and users will no longer be able to open up WhatsApp.
A spokesperson for the group said it was necessary to block people who are running older versions of the Android or iOS operating systems in order to protect the security of its users under a new data protection law.
The latest update will mean users on unsupported devices will no longer be able to create new accounts or verify existing accounts, which will result in users not being able to open up the messaging service. Detailing the blockage, a WhatsApp blog post explained:
“We no longer actively develop for these operating systems, some features might stop functioning at any time.
“For the best experience, we recommend you use the latest version of iOS (or Android) available for your phone.”
The Apple devices affected include any iPhone running iOS 8 or earlier, meaning anyone who has a iPhone 4 or an older will no longer be able to use WhatsApp and phones which were released before the iOS 9 was launched will be prompted to update to the newer operating system. This includes the iPhone 4, all models of the iPhone 5 range and all models of the iPhone 6 range.
In regards to Android devices, any phone released before 2011 will also not be safe from being cut off. This means that smartphones running Android 2.3.7 will be impacted by the block, as well as all older versions of the OS.
In a statement, WhatsApp said: “As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use.
“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future.
“This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.”
The measure follows a similar purge taken by WhatsApp on December 31 last year when the app withdrew support for the Windows Mobile operating system and people who used these devices were told to upgrade.
For a full list of all affected devices it is recommended to visit www.whatsapp.com.