WhatsApp has ended support for its messaging app on versions of Android released prior to 2011. Specifically, any device running a version older than Android 4.0.3 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) will no longer receive updates to WhatsApp, and users can no longer sign up for the service on those devices.
Continue use at your own risk — According to the company, WhatsApp will continue to function on Android versions 2.3.7 and older until February 1, 2020. The app may continue to work after this point, 9to5Google notes, but WhatsApp says that because they no longer develop for these operating systems, “some features might stop functioning at any time.” If you’d like to guarantee that your conversations aren’t lost, WhatsApp offers a way to export message history as an email attachment.
Android 3.0 was specifically designed for tablets, which is why it isn’t mentioned here — WhatsApp does not develop its app for tablets.
Most people aren’t affected — Google’s publicly available data on Android adoption indicates that most users are running a version newer than 4.0.3, so the change by WhatsApp shouldn’t affect too many people. Maintaining an app for older operating systems can be resource-intensive relative to the small amount of users impacted, and older operating systems oftentimes cannot support the newest functionality and security measures.
Much has changed in the Android ecosystem since 2011, most notably that hardware quality has increased tremendously. Great phones like Google’s Pixel 3a XL can be had for as little as $400, and sometimes less during promotions. Basically, you should upgrade.