If you’ve been struggling on with an older version of Android, the end of the road is finally here. Google has confirmed plans to block users from signing in with their Google Account on these devices. This will cause a slew of popular apps, from Google Maps to YouTube, to immediately stop working. WhatsApp abandoned this ageing version of Android last year.
Anyone with a smartphone powered by Android 2.3 will be impacted by the latest change. The operating system, launched under the “Gingerbread” brand back when Google used to use dessert names for each major iteration of Android, first launched in December 2010.
Google says it’s now withdrawing support for the platform “as part of our going efforts to keep our users safe”. In February 2017, it suspended Google Pay contactless payments from working on any handsets running Android 2.3. From September 27, the Californian company has confirmed plans to block all users from signing in with a Google Account.
Later this month, users who try to login to their Android device will receive a username and password error – even though the details they have entered will be correct. Trying to add a Google Calendar or Gmail account to the settings menu of the device will also trigger the same error. A number of other popular Google-made apps that rely on the Google Account, including YouTube, Google Play Store, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Calendar, and more, will also stop working.
To continue using these apps, you’ll need to upgrade your smartphone to Android 3.0. However, since not all devices running Android 2.3 are able to make the jump to the next version of the operating system, some users will never be able to use these applications again. If you can’t upgrade to a new device, Google does offer a workaround.
Using the web browser on Android, it will be possible to access some of these Google services. However, the apps will be permanently blocked on your handset.
If you’re unsure which version of Android you’re running on your device, you can easily check by heading to System > Advanced > System Update.
Some of the most popular smartphones that remain stuck with Android 2.3 include 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.
As the seventh major iteration of Android, Gingerbread is one of the most iconic launches in the history of the platform. It was the first to arrive with an annual update plan – a release schedule that Google has stuck with ever since. The latest version of the operating system, Android 12, is due to launch in October 2021 on Google’s own Pixel smartphones. Other manufacturers, like OnePlus and Samsung, will follow.