With over a billion users, WhatsApp is the biggest messaging service on the planet and back in 2016, the company announced that it would cease support for a number of operating systems by the end of that year.
This deadline has been extended several times but finally the day has come, as WhatsApp will stop working on BlackBerry handsets and Windows Phone 8.0 or older from today.
Users will be able to continue to use the Facebook owned app but won’t be able to create new accounts or re-verify existing accounts and the move will eventually lead to the messenger service crashing and becoming unusable, after update support was officially withdrawn today.
Windows phone users will have no problem with the app as long as they have the newer operating systems. and only devices which still operate Windows Phone 8.0 or earlier will be affected.
The deadline for Blackberry was originally set for the end of 2016, however WhatsApp later announced it would continue support until the end of 2017.
From today (January 1, 2018), the app will go into “deprecation” mode. It will still continue to function for a short grace period, but some behaviors will change. Most importantly, you will no longer be able to re-register your account with the app. That means if you delete and reinstall it (or install it on a different phone), it will no longer allow you to verify your phone number and complete the setup process.
After the grace period, which is approximately two weeks after the published date, the app will go into “expired” mode. At this point, it will stop functioning as a usable WhatsApp client, and thus will no longer connect to the servers. (Around this same time, our servers will stop allowing the client to connect as well.) However, once it is expired, the app may still allow you to access your existing message content on your phone.
If you are using one of the affected models, you will need to upgrade to a newer OS to ensure ongoing support.
This includes Android running OS 4.0 or above, iPhone running iOS 7 or above, or Windows Phone 8.1 or above.
Writing in a support note on WhatsApp’s website, a company spokesman said:
These platforms don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future. If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer OS version, or to a newer Android running OS 4.0+, iPhone running iOS 7+, or Windows Phone 8.1+ so that you can continue using WhatsApp.
Once you have one of these devices, simply install WhatsApp and verify your phone number on the new device. Keep in mind that WhatsApp can only be activated with one phone number on one device at a time.
The company added that,
There is currently no option to transfer your chat history between platforms. ‘However, we provide the option to send your chat history attached to an email.
WhatsApp has evolved a great deal since its inception as a simple mobile-messaging app and it seems this, in part at least, explains why the company is looking to refocus its efforts in terms of the platforms it supports.
Back in 2016, the company said:
Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 per cent of sales today – were on less than 25 per cent of mobile devices sold at the time.
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.
This is the latest in a string of streamlining changes for the messenger, which ended supporting for iOS 6 at the end of 2016 and earlier this year withdrew the Nokia S60 from its roster. The slimming down of platforms and services is set to continue after Blackberry and Windows 8.0.
The Nokia S40 is to be jettisoned at the end of 2018 and by the end of February 2020, Android versions 2.3.7 will no longer work.