WhatsApp has said that its messaging app will cease to work on older phones and operating systems as early as the end of this year.
The announcement comes after a warning earlier this year that the Facebook-owned company would be pulling support for older models, and that the deadline to upgrade was fast approaching.
The same blog post was then updated to say some phones would be supported until June 30, 2017, while the service would be discontinued on others by the end of this year.
The blog says: “When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today. The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 per cent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia.
“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.”
Those using certain handsets will have to buy new ones if they want to use the world’s most popular messaging app, which has a billion users globally.
“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,” a spokesperson said. (Video calling was recently added to WhatsApp)
WhatsApp will stop working on iPhone 3GS at the end of this year.
It will also cease to function any iPhone running iOS 6, so any phone which hasn’t been updated to a later operating system will lose WhatsApp.
The change also affects first, second, third or fourth generation iPads that haven’t been updated.
WhatsApp will cease to function on any Android tablet or phone running Android 2.1 or 2.2.
This affects any phone released between 2010 and 2011 which hasn’t been updated.
Windows phone users
Anyone still using Windows Phone 7 will not be able to use WhatsApp anymore.
Blackberry and Nokia users
People who have these phones are safe until June 2017: BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60.
WhatsApp is dropping its subscription fees to access the popular messaging service. WhatsApp introduced the fees a few years ago, forcing new users to pay an annual 99 cents subscription after the first year. “As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well,” admits WhatsApp in a company blog post today.
“Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”
If you’ve been using WhatsApp for the six years it has been available then you’ve probably never experienced the subscription fees. Most original users were granted a free lifetime service, but in recent years the company introduced its subscription to new users. Recode reports that if you’ve already paid the 99 cents for the year then there won’t be a refund, but subscription fees will cease immediately.
WhatsApp now has nearly 1 billion users, so the free timing removes the barrier for millions more to join the messaging service. The Facebook-owned service plans appears to be planning to generate revenue through services to businesses. “We will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.” That means you might be able to send WhatsApp messages to your bank or airlines in the future. WhatsApp isn’t planning to enable third-party ads within the service, and it’s sticking to its original principles. The founders of WhatsApp were strongly opposed to ads, noting back in 2012 that “when advertising is involved you the user are the product.”
Facebook has been promising to add video calling to WhatsApp for over a year now and it looks like they could be on the cusp of releasing the feature in the coming days and weeks, as evidenced by a pair of leaked screenshots obtained by German Apple blog Macerkopf.de.
Moreover, the app will gain tabs for moving between multiple conversations with ease. Like Apple’s FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, Viber and many other messaging platforms, WhatsApp should permit users to send and receive video calls via Wi-Fi or cellular.
The video feed from the caller will be shown full screen, with your own video overlaid on top of it in a small preview window that you’ll be able to move around and reposition on the screen as you like.
Standard controls are available, including switching between the front and rear camera and muting the microphone. As for the aforementioned tabbed chat interface, this feature will put multiple chat tabs at your fingerprint.
This will let you quickly switch between individual conversations without needing to go back to WhatsApp’s chat list. Last but not least, developers are said to be redesigning the app to show the green branding more prominently.
The screenshots are taken from WhatsApp’s internal build (version 188.8.131.52) which has yet to be released. For reference, the most recent release of WhatsApp for iPhone carries a version number of 2.12.12.
If the internal build number is anything to go by, we can expect video chatting to go live in WhatsApp with the app’s next update in the App Store.
Facebook launched both video calling on Messenger and audio calling (VoIP) on WhatsApp in April of 2015. Rival Viber has had video calling since September of 2014.
Last week WhatsApp introduced ‘read receipts’ in the form of two blue ticks, letting users know if their message or picture had be seen by their chatting partner.
However, it seems that this wasn’t a universally popular move and WhatsApp is now introducing the option to disable this feature if they want to keep the nagging out of their conversations.
It’s only available to Android users who have downloaded the new beta version of the app (whatsapp.com/android), but those that have can go to Settings > Privacy > and disable the ‘Read Receipts’ option to banish the blue ticks when you read other people’s messages.
Are you surprised why your whatsapp arrows (Ticks) started turning blue suddenly today? Here’s why!
New WhatsApp update for iOS & Android tells you when the person has read your messages by making the arrows turn blue.
So the Whatsapp Hide Last Seen feature is now useless since you can know when someone reads your message!
NOTE: You do not need to update the app to receive the feature. Changes will apply automatically within the app. The update is still rolling out. It’s not available to all users yet, so be patient!