WhatsApp is a nice mobile app for real time messaging that I bought some time ago (0.99€). The app is extremely simple and many people I know use it, so it quickly became part of my toolkit for social life.
Now for the bad pard. I own an iPhone 3G and the latest os that runs on my phone is iOS 4.2. The last version of WhatsApp dropped support for this iOS version, which is normal in today’s accelerated market. What’s not normal, is that WhatsApp forced the upgrade on my mobile. This means that the app stopped working until I upgraded it. And of course after I upgraded it I was not able to install it anymore due to the new requirements.
End of the story, I am left with a blank tile in my iPhone, I have lost the ability to connect with my friends, I have lost all my conversations and finally I have been robbed of my 0.99€.
Of course they blame it on Apple. Here is what the support answered to my inquiry:
Thanks for your message.
In order to connect to WhatsApp, or activate your number, you will need the latest version of WhatsApp Messenger – v2.8.7 – available from the App Store on your iPhone. Please note that iPod and iPad are not supported devices.
The latest version of WhatsApp for iPhone requires iOS 4.3 or later. Regretfully, Apple does not allow new app updates to be compatible with both iOS 6 and older versions of iOS, effectively ending support for the iPhone 3G. Because of Apple’s decision to stop supporting these devices, we can no longer provide new app updates for iPhone 3G users.
If you have an iPhone 3GS or newer device, please update to the latest version of iOS. Instructions for updating can be found at this Apple Support page: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4972
WhatsApp is also supported on Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and select Nokia devices. Find out more at http://www.whatsapp.com/
However this is total BS. In any normally managed company backwards compatibility is a priority if you don’t want to alienate the user base. It’s perfectly normal to stop supporting an old version of the app and stop providing new features. It’s totally crazy to force the upgrade on people and make the app stop working.
Thanks WhatsApp, seriously great customer care.
Update: WhatsApp has changed its mind and now allows the old version (2.8.4) to access its servers. So if you have an iPhone 3G and the old version you should be all set. If you (like me) tried to update, then you have to download WhatsApp 2.8.4.ipa from somewhere on the internet, and downgrade your version (as easy as double-clicking on the .ipa). I think I am not allowed by law to put my .ipa bundle online, however here is its md5 hash in order to avoid fakes:
Disclaimer: I am reasonably sure the .ipa I have is the correct one, but you never know. Don’t blame me if things blow up 🙂