The Facebook-owned messaging service will halt their support for multiple operating systems. Millions of WhatsApp users might be unable to access the application after the last day of the decade. Apart from phones running on the Windows operating system, many Android and iOS phones will also be unable to update or run the app soon.
A significant number of the messaging app's 1.5 billion users will be affected by the halt in service. It is estimated that around 0.3% to 0.7% of all smartphone users in the United Kingdom still use phones with the Windows operating system.
Phones with the Windows operating system were sold until 2017. Microsoft halted the development of Windows phones in 2017 after they stopped their push into the smartphone niche. Nokia Lumia devices which were sold until 2017 will be affected by the application's service discontinuation. Users retaining devices such as the Nokia Lumia 650, which was released only four years ago, will not be able to use the app.
Before the news of the halt in support for all Windows phones, WhatsApp had released a cryptic warning to Windows phone users earlier in 2019. WhatsApp informed users that they would not be able to use certain features of the app at any point in time this year. Since July 1, the application became unavailable from the Microsoft store. Later, it was confirmed that the application would no longer run on all Windows phones.
The Telegraph pointed out that in 2018, WhatsApp had halted service to older Windows phones as well as Blackberry phones.
Following Windows phones, WhatsApp will stop working on older iOS and Android phones as well. From February 1, 2020 iOS 8 and older as well as Android 2.3.7 and older will not be able to run the app either.
WhatsApp stated that the "tough decision" was to "give people better ways to keep in touch."
Smartphone users in the UK hold on to their devices for a minimum of 28 months. The longer possession of devices contributed to the drop in smartphone sales in 2019. Apps halting their service on older devices force users to update their devices.