WhatsApp Will Stop Working on Nokia Symbian, BlackBerry OS Phones on June 30

HIGHLIGHTS

  • WhatsApp will end support for BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10
  • Support for Nokia S40, and Nokia S60 platforms also dropped
  • Users can upgrade to a new device or platform to continue using WhatsApp

WhatsApp users still on handsets running the ageing BlackBerry OS and Nokia S40 and S60 platforms will not be able to use the popular messaging service after June 30. The Facebook-owned company will officially pull the plug on the dated Nokia Symbian software and the BlackBerry OS as July starts. This comes after WhatsApp delayed ending support for them by six months, from the original date of December 2016 to June 2017. The reason behind WhatsApp killing support for old Nokia and BlackBerry phones is that they don’t have the capabilities needed to add new features in the app.

The most widely used instant messaging app had last year announced that it will drop support for a few platforms. The company later extended the support until June 2017 after BlackBerry expressed its disappointment with WhatsApp’s decision to abandon the platform. Support for Android 2.2 Froyo, iOS 6, and Windows Phone 7 was ended by WhatsApp in December last year.

In its Support page, WhatsApp explains, “These platforms [Nokia S40, S60, and BlackBerry OS] don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future. If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer OS version, or to a newer Android running OS 2.3.3+, iPhone running iOS 7+, or Windows Phone 8+ so that you can continue using WhatsApp.”WhatsApp Will Stop Working on Nokia Symbian, BlackBerry OS Phones on June 30

Interestingly, the lack of support for the old Nokia Symbian phones is the reason WhatsApp will not work on the new Nokia 3310 feature phone. The Facebook-owned company has advised that anyone with the above-mentioned older platforms who want to keep chatting with friends via WhatsApp will need to upgrade to a newer operating system or a new device.

WhatsApp also clarifies that currently there’s no way users can transfer your chat history between platforms though the company will provide the option to send your chat history attached to an email, if requested by users. You can head to WhatsApp’s Support page to understand the steps.

WhatsApp had previously emphasised how much the market changed in the years since WhatsApp was launched in 2009. Recapping the market, the messaging service said that in 2009 Android and iOS platforms were running on less than 25 percent of the devices, while BlackBerry and Nokia’s operating systems dominated the market with roughly a 70 percent share. WhatsApp’s decision to pull the plug on Symbian and BlackBerry, however, recaps how the platforms have lost popularity.

Secure OS Tails 3.0 Launches With Debian 9 Base, Redesigned Interface

Tails, the “read-only” Linux-based operating system that routes all internet traffic through the Tor anonymity network, has now reached version 3.0. The new release dropped 32-bit support to increase security and adopted the latest Tor Browser 7.0, and it also comes with a more polished desktop interface.

How Tails Works

Tails, the operating system that Edward Snowden used to reveal the NSA documents, is typically run from a DVD or USB stick (the latter is less secure) in a “read-only” mode so that malware can’t be written on the storage. Malware can still be activated in RAM during a Tails session, which is why it’s important to keep the sessions short and reboot the Tails operating system often. At reboot, you get the same clean image you have on your DVD.

Because of how it works, Tails is not well-suited for everyday computing (Qubes OS would be preferable for that); it’s for moments when you most need that increased anonymity. It also means that you need to write a new DVD or install it again on your USB stick every time there are new security patches out, to minimize the risk of hacking.

Security Improvements

The new Tails 3.0 dropped 32-bit support because of potential attacks against weak ASLR protection. Support for “No Execute” (NX) bit is also mandatory, but this feature should already be available on all 64-bit computers. The NX bit separates areas of memory that are used for the storage of processor instructions from areas used for processor data storage, offering increased resistance against hacking.

The Tor Browser 7.0 comes pre-installed, so Tails users can take advantage of an overall faster and more reliable browser due to the new multi-process architecture enabled in Firefox ESR 52, as well as the content sandboxing functionality.

Debian 9 Base With Redesigned Interface

The new Tails 3.0, which is now based on the latest major version of the Debian operating system, brings a new more modern-looking Gnome interface, too. Because Tails’ focus has been primarily on user anonymity, the interface has been lacking over the years; having a good user experience is key for user adoption, so the new look is an important development.

The Tails Greeter, which is the application that is used to configure Tails at startup, has been completely redesigned for ease of use. Now, all options are available from a single window, including the language and region settings, which should simplify the setup process for international users.

The shutdown experience has also has also been redesigned to make it more reliable, as well as more discrete so that it looks “less suspicious.”

The “Files” application has also been redesigned to reduce clutter and make the interface easier to use. The developers also added the ability to rename multiple files at the same time and extract compressed files without a separate application.

The notification area has been improved, as well. It now allows easy access to previous notifications, and the notification pop-ups have been made more noticeable.

Shortcut windows have also been added to help users discover keyboard shortcuts in applications.

Software Upgrades

Some of the first-party applications have been updated to their latest versions, too, as part of the migration to the latest Debian 9 base:

  • KeePassX from 0.4.3 to 2.0.3
  • Your password database will be migrated automatically to the new format of KeePassX2.
  • LibreOffice from 4.3.3 to 5.2.6
  • Inkscape from 0.48.5 to 0.92.1
  • Audacity from 2.0.6 to 2.1.2
  • Enigmail from 1.8.2 to 1.9.6
  • MAT from 0.5.2 to 0.6.1
  • Dasher from 4.11 to 5.0
  • git from 2.1.4 to 2.11.0

If you want to maximize your anonymity–when the Tor Browser running on Windows is just not good enough for you–you can now download Tails 3.0 from the project’s website. Those who are already using an older version of Tails should also upgrade to patch multiple security bugs.

Chrome OS is ready to use printers without the cloud

Despite decades of attempts to straighten out the connections between printers and computers, it’s a situation that always (at least for me) seems to have an extra complication. On Chrome OS, ever since launch it has by default relied on Google Cloud Print and compatible printers to get the job done, but now that version 59 has reached the Stable release channel, it’s a little easier to use.

That’s because it has a new ability for “Native Printing,” which basically means that it can connect directly to compatible printers on your network, without the need for any cloud connection at all. Some manufacturers and third parties have been getting around the cloud print requirement with extensions like this one, but now support is built in and available to everyone.

Chrome OS printer dialog box

You’ll need to know your printer’s IP address to make things work, as well as which protocol it supports. According to Google’s FAQ, for most printers that will be IPP, which is what allows many printers to connect to other devices like your phone or tablet. As Chrome OS spreads throughout schools and businesses, the ability to work with existing hardware has become more important, and at least now you’re probably not looking at a printer replacement along with your new operating system.