The popular messaging app WhatsApp will cease working for millions of people in just a matter of weeks, as the company, owned by Facebook, has decided not to support the device on older phones.
With 1.5 billion active users, experts say that many people are facing being suddenly cut off from their friends and family.
Beginning in February, anyone who uses iPhone 5’s or earlier models will be locked out, which means phones operating on iOS7 or older. Meanwhile, Androids operating on version 2.3.7 or older will also no longer work.
While users can try to update the operating systems on their phones, many older models cannot run the newer versions. And with just weeks before the deadline, users may want to consider thinking about alternatives.
“If there’s one app I would recommend I would say WeChat, it’s separate from Facebook, all you need is a phone number to sign up and it does support end-to-end calling for international communication,” said Kate Kozuch, a writer for Tom’s Guide.
This comes in addition to WhatsApp’s announcement earlier this year that phones using windows operating systems will be cut off for good at the end of this month.
WhatsApp says that it was a touch decision but one they had to make to ensure the safety and functionality of the app for other users.
Tech experts, however, wonder if this is a precursor to Facebook merging WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram messaging into a single platform.