There was bad news for millions of older Android device users this week, with Google having blocked access to some of the platform’s most important features. As announced by the company several weeks ago, September 27 brought the official withdrawal of access to YouTube, Google Maps and Gmail for users of older versions of Android.
Specifically, anybody running Android version 2.3.7 or lower no longer has access to these essential apps. The announcement of the block came early in the month, which according to Google was necessary for reasons of user privacy.
Google said the move represents “part of our going efforts to keep our users safe.”
Official figures are hard to come by, but estimates suggest that many millions of device users worldwide are still using Android Lollipop or a lower build. Google mentioned earlier in August that support would be dropped for such users later in the year, though this represents the first major withdrawal of access to key lifestyle apps.
Reports continue to suggest that users of older Android and Apple devices could soon be locked out of WhatsApp. Though Facebook has yet to confirm whether this is the case, and how many users are likely to be affected if it proves to be true.
Users Urged to Upgrade
For reasons of privacy, security and all-round performance Google has been urging users of older versions of Android to upgrade for some time. Perhaps the withdrawal of several essential apps will motivate those who have been reluctant to migrate to do so with greater urgency.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to keep our users safe, Google will no longer allow sign-in on Android devices that run Android 2.3.7 or lower starting September 27, 2021,” read the official statement from Google.
“If you sign into your device after September 27, you may get username or password errors when you try to use Google products and services like Gmail, YouTube, and Maps.
“If your device has the ability to update to a newer Android version (3.0+), we advise you to do so in order to maintain access to Google apps and services on that device.”
For those unsure of the exact build of Android they are using, some of the devices that will no longer have access to YouTube, Google Maps and Gmail include the Sony Xperia Advance, Lenovo K800, Sony Xperia Go, Vodafone Smart II, Samsung Galaxy S2, Sony Xperia P, LG Spectrum, Sony Xperia S, LG Prada 3.0, HTC Velocity, HTC Evo 4G, Motorola Fire and Motorola XT532.
Affected users may still be able to log in to their accounts and use these blocked applications via the web browsers on their devices, but will no longer be able to use the apps in the usual way.