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WhatsApp cuts off access to thousands of old smartphones


The WhatsApp icon on a smartphone (Yui Mok/PA)

The WhatsApp icon on a smartphone (Yui Mok/PA)

The WhatsApp icon on a smartphone (Yui Mok/PA)

WhatsApp has today cut off access to thousands of old smartphones which it says are out of date.

The move could hit basic users hardest, such as senior citizens who only keep a smartphone so they can stay in touch with family using the ubiquitous WhatsApp service.

WhatsApp, a division of Facebook, says it is cutting off old phones for security reasons.

WhatsApp is the most used messaging system in Ireland, with four out of five Irish adults signed up to the system, according to Ipsos MRBI.

The measure will affect any iPhones using iOS 8 or older. But while this might include phones such as the iPhone 6 or 5S, these phones can generally be updated to a newer version of the operating system. However, older models, such as the iPhone 4, cannot.

The measure will also affect Android phones running version 2.3.7, also known as ‘Gingerbread’, or older.

While ‘Gingerbread’ would only have come on phones over six years old, Android devices are not updated to newer versions as consistently as iPhones.

Some industry estimates put the number of Android phones running this older version at 0.3pc, which would be around 10,000 phones in Ireland.

Users with this older phone configuration can expect to see an error message on their phones, telling them that their operating system is no longer supported.

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