Millions of users of the social media network WhatsApp face a crunch time within a few days as the app will go offline for those with old technology.
Facebook – the company owning the app – plans a WhatsApp upgrade on February 1 that will switch off the service on millions of devices.
Users will then face the choice of moving to another social media network or buying a newer and more expensive gadget to keep in touch with their friends, work colleagues and families.
The upgrade has been a long time coming, as Facebook issued warnings last year to give people time to keep up with the upgrade.
The new app will leave behind users on iPhones running iOS7 or older and Android version 2.3.7 or older.
Tough decision, says WhatsApp
Google reckons more than 7.5 million devices still use Android 2.3.7 or older and the users will have to move to other devices to continue to take part in WhatsApp messaging.
“As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms most people use,” said a WhatsApp spokesman.
“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.
“If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone to continue using WhatsApp.”
How to upgrade WhatsApp
The good news is updating the WhatsApp software is easy for most users:
- For Android, go to the Google Play Store and search for WhatsApp. Tap ‘update’ next to WhatsApp Messenger
- For iPhone, go to the App Store and search for WhatsApp. Tap ‘update’ next to WhatsApp Messenger
Users can also access WhatsApp on a computer with a desktop or browser app. Machines running Windows 8 or later and macOS 10.10 or later.
WhatsApp on a desktop app can be paired with a user’s mobile phone app.