Will WhatsApp stop working on old phones? Not quite | Applications and Software

Curious news has been circulating at the end of this year, claiming that the Whatsapp will stop working on old phones from 2021, including iPhone and Android models. This is not quite true: the company warns that support for these devices had already ended in 2020, and was surprised that this is being advertised as something new.

Old iPhone with WhatsApp (Image: Webster2703 / Pixabay)

The headlines claim that WhatsApp “will stop working on some smartphones in 2021”, or that the app “will stop working on millions of phones this Friday”. The news, both in Portuguese and in English, mention the same devices that would become incompatible, such as the Samsung Galaxy S2, Motorola Droid Razr, LG Optimus Black and iPhone 4.

The fact is that WhatsApp ended support for old iPhones and Android… in February 2020. Since then, the app has not received updates on phones with Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, iOS 8 or earlier versions. There has been no change in that, and there is nothing foreseen in that regard for 2021.

WhatsApp itself surprised the buzz, which gained strength in India before it spread to other countries. The company says in a statement to the India Today (emphasis added):

All news saying that WhatsApp will stop working on January 1, 2021 on old iPhones and Android devices, which do not run at least iOS 9 or Android 4.0.3, are not saying anything new. These old devices are no longer supported. They are just talking about the WhatsApp policy change that was announced in December 2019 and somehow it was connected to the date of January 1, 2021.

WhatsApp also clarifies that there are “no policy changes at the moment”. And the company notes that, before discontinuing support for older phones, “we provide adequate notification to our users who would be affected so that they can learn more about how to continue using” the app.

Where did this rumor about WhatsApp start?

News about the end of WhatsApp on old cell phones (Image: Reproduction / Entrepreneur)

News about the end of WhatsApp on old cell phones (Image: Reproduction / Entrepreneur)

The zero patient of these rumors appears to be the website Entrepreneur: on December 14th, they published an article with the title “WhatsApp will stop working on these iPhones and Androids as of January 1st” (from 2021).

Without citing sources, the text states that this deadline applies to cell phones running versions prior to iOS 9, such as the iPhone 4; or earlier than Android 4.0.3, such as the Galaxy S2, Motorola Droid Razr and LG Optimus Black mentioned in news from other media outlets.

Days later, this misinformation started to pop up on other sites, basically summarizing what was said by Entrepreneur (often without giving credit or a link).

It is worth noting that the Entrepreneur reported another incorrect data recently: according to them, WABetaInfo confirmed that WhatsApp will show advertisements in 2021. The reverse engineering specialist has a lot of credibility, and reveals several functions of the application before they are launched.

However, WABetaInfo himself resorted to Twitter to deny this news: he had informed that WhatsApp will have a section for important announcements such as changes in terms of use, not advertisements. Facebook even had plans to show paid ads in the app’s Status (stories), but decided to suspend the idea during the pandemic.

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