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Meta to pull WhatsApp support on older phones

Facebook's messaging service WhatsApp on a Samsung smartphone.
Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp on a Samsung smartphone. (Photo by Helar Lukats)

Meta Platforms will stop supporting its WhatsApp messaging service on several models of Apple iPhone and Android-powered devices by the end of the year.

The devices that will lose WhatsApp support are generally older-model phones that are unable to receive new operating system updates pushed out by Apple and Google, many of which have been unavailable for sale through official channels for some years.

According to the website Phone Arena, two models of Apple phones — the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C — will lose WhatsApp support by the end of the year, with Meta officially pulling the plug on the app running on those devices.

The reason? Those phones are unable to update to newer versions of Apple’s iOS software, with the phones last seeing support for iOS 10.3. Apple’s latest operating system is iOS 16, which was introduced across its newer-model phones and tablets this year.

In October, Meta said WhatsApp would stop running on other old iPhone models, including the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, for the same reason — those phones cannot receive operating system updates.

In addition to the two Apple phones, WhatsApp will stop running on dozens of older-model, Android-powered devices on December 31. Those models include:

  • Archos 53 Platinum
  • HTC Desire 500
  • Huawei Ascend D, D1, D2 and D Quad XL
  • Huawei Ascend G740
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
  • Huawei Ascend P1
  • Lenovo A820
  • LG  Lucid 2
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
  • LG Optimus F3, F3Q, F5, F6 and F7
  • LG Optimus L2 II
  • LG Optimus L3 II and L3 II Dual
  • LG Optimus L4 II and L4 II Dual
  • LG Optimus L5 II and L5 II Dual
  • LG Optimus L7, L7 II and L7 II Dual
  • LG Optimus Nitro HD
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
  • Samsung Galaxy S2
  • Samsung Galaxy S3
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy Trend II
  • Samsung Galaxy Trend Lite
  • Samsung Galaxy XCover 2
  • Sony Xperia Arc 2
  • Sony Xperia Miro
  • Sony Xperia Neo L
  • Wiko Cink Five
  • Wiko Darknight ZT
  • ZTE Memo V956
  • ZTE Grand S Flex
  • ZTE Grand X Quad v987

As with the Apple phones, the Android-powered devices that are losing WhatsApp support at the end of the year are running versions of Android that Google itself no longer supports. The majority of the devices run Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or older; Google’s latest operating system is Android 13, though it continues to support Android 12, Android 11 and Android 10 devices.

Those who are holding on to an older-model device can consider upgrading if they want to continue using WhatsApp — and there’s plenty of cheap Android devices (and even some refurbished Apple phones) on the market that won’t break the bank.

The TCL A30 costs $90 at Amazon, comes unlocked, will work with any carrier and runs Android 11. It’s a perfect phone for those who primarily use WhatsApp and a handful of other apps like Netflix, YouTube, text messaging and e-mail, but it’s by no means a powerhouse, so gamers and heavy video streamers should look for something else.

Motorola’s G Power packs a punch, with a battery that can last as long as three days, support for Android 10 apps and a high-resolution, 48 megapixel camera for just $130.

Amazon also has a refurbished Apple iPhone 8 model in Space Grey for as little as $140, though quantities are pretty limited. These refurbished Apple phones are unlocked and ready to work with any carrier, and they support Apple’s latest operating system — which means they will definitely work with WhatsApp now and for the foreseeable future.

Don’t want to wait for shipping? Get the Nokia G100 Android phone online at Best Buy, and pick up at a local store in as little as an hour. The Nokia G100 supports Android 11, has a triple-camera array on the rear, a selfie camera on the front and a nice, big 6.5-inch display — big enough to rival the rest, without breaking the bank. Those who want something a little cheaper than the Nokia G100 should consider the Blu J9L, which costs just $100 when ordered online. While it’s not as polished as the Nokia G100, it’s fine for doing basic tasks like WhatsApp, checking e-mail, sending text messages and taking occasional pictures.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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