The Facebook-owned app is set to stop support for older phones around the world on November 1, 2021.
It will cease to function on up to 43 different smartphone models as it shifts the requirements for the Android and iOS operating systems.
In the FAQ section on its website, WhatsApp says people should use phones running Android version OS 4.1 or iPhones running iOS 10 and newer.
If you haven’t updated your system software recently, then you may well escape having to upgrade. But a few select devices – of which there could be thousands still being used – will lose security and feature updates.
And, in the very unlikely case you’re running WhatsApp on a Linux-based phone, you’ll need to update to KaiOS 2.5.1.
Which phones will lose access to WhatsApp?
Here’s a list of smartphone models that WhatsApp will stop supporting from next week.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the app will cease to function – but it does mean you’ll no longer be able to download patches and updates, which could leave it open to crashes or bugs or – in some cases – security exploits.
The iPhone SE (2016), 6S and 6S Plus. These models launched with iOS 9 but can be updated through to iOS 15 to continue to support WhatsApp.
Older iPhones that cannot be updated past iOS 10 will lose access. At present, that now includes the iPhone 4S from 2011.
The Samsung Galaxy Trend Lite, Galaxy Trend II, Galaxy SII, Galaxy S3 mini, Galaxy Xcover 2, Galaxy Core and Galaxy Ace 2.
The LG Lucid 2, Optimus F7, Optimus F5, Optimus L3 II Dual, Optimus F5, Optimus L5, Optimus L5 II, Optimus L5 Dual, Optimus L3 II, Optimus L7, Optimus L7 II Dual, Optimus L7 II, Optimus F6, Enact , Optimus L4 II Dual, Optimus F3, Optimus L4 II, Optimus L2 II, Optimus Nitro HD and 4X HD, and Optimus F3Q.
The ZTE Grand S Flex, ZTE V956, Grand X Quad V987 and Grand Memo.
The Huawei Ascend G740, Ascend Mate, Ascend D Quad XL, Ascend D1 Quad XL, Ascend P1 S, and Ascend D2.
The Sony Xperia Miro, Sony Xperia Neo L, Xperia Arc S.
The Alcatel One Touch Evo 7, Archos 53 Platinum, HTC Desire 500, Caterpillar Cat B15, Wiko Cink Five, Wiko Darknight, Lenovo A820, UMi X2, Faea F1 and THL W8.
What to do if your phone is too old
The most obvious answer is, unfortunately, you’ll need to think about paying to upgrade your phone.
However, there is a way you can save your chat history if you don’t want to see it gone when you move on to a different handset.
You can back up your message history to Google Drive or iCloud depending on which platform you use (iOS or Android). Alternatively, you can export your chat history as an email attachment.
WhatsApp regularly updates its list of supported handsets which get access to the app’s latest features – such as disappearing messages.
These were introduced in November and let you send vanishing messages in individual conversations and group chats. The most recent feature included the option to quickly join an ongoing group audio or video call.