WhatsApp usually ends support for older iOS and Android smartphones at the end of each calendar year - and this year, several reports are indicating the same. It is being said that WhatsApp will stop working on smartphones running iOS 9 or Android 4.0.3 and below. However, the company's support page clearly highlights that users are recommended to have at least iOS 9 or Android 4.0.3 to enjoy its messaging app. It essentially means that the Facebook-owned company wants users to get the compatible OS version of their smartphone (subject to availability) to enjoy all the new features with timely security fixes.
Apple iPhone users can go to Settings > General > Information to check their OS version, while Android users need to head to Settings > About Phone, to find the same information. While there are not a lot of smartphones that are currently running on these dated operating systems, it is still important to note which specific devices will lose support for the popular messaging app. For iPhones, all the iPhone models up to the iPhone 4 will lose support for WhatsApp as they do not have iOS 9. It also means that other older models such as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6S must update their operating system to iOS 9 or later in order to continue using the messaging app. For Android, WhatsApp will stop working on smartphones that are running on an Android version earlier than 4.0.3.
Again, not a lot of devices currently run on an Android version earlier than 4.0.3. However, some of the models are the HTC Desire, LG Optimus Black, Motorola Droid Razr, and the Samsung Galaxy S2 that use the erstwhile Android OS.
Coming to the date for the end of support, the WhatsApp support page does not provide any exact details over this. Several reports; however, are claiming that WhatsApp will stop functioning after January 1, 2021, on devices with iOS 9 or Android 4.0.3 or below. In a response to India Today, the company says that phones with OS version below iOS 9 or Android 4.0.3 are already not supported. "All the news reports that say WhatsApp will stop working on the old iPhones and Android devices that don't run at least iOS 9 or something newer or Android 4.0.3 or something newer from January 1, 2021, aren't saying anything new. These old phones are already not supported. They are just talking about the WhatsApp policy change that was announced in December 2019, and somehow connecting it to January 1, 2021," it added.
Therefore, Android and iOS users do not need to panic as long as you're on the latest or compatible OS version. However, for others, the only solution may be to get a new smartphone altogether. Earlier this year, WhatsApp ended support for smartphones running on iOS 8 or older, and Android phones running on version 2.3.7 or older.