Many phones and tablets are stuck on older versions of Android, either because the device maker didn’t put in the effort, mobile carriers got in the way, or the device is just too old. That means each version of Android usually works with the latest apps and games for at least a few years, but eventually even Google isn’t interested in maintaining support. Now, devices stuck on Android 7 Nougat or below are about to lose updates for two core applications.
The Chrome 120 release in 2024 will increase the minimum supported Android version up to Android 8.0 Oreo, cutting off Android 7.1 Nougat users and older versions from the latest browser updates. Similarly, Google Calendar is also apparently getting ready to drop Android 7.1 users, as it looks like the latest version of the app, now rolling out to users, can only be installed on Android 8.0 and higher devices. As for Chrome, the change hasn’t taken effect yet: as we mentioned, it’s coming with Chrome 120, which is due to roll out to users in December. But when it does roll around, users on older Android versions won’t be able to update. The change was previously confirmed on a support page, so it shouldn’t take a lot of people by surprise.
The fact that Chrome support is being discontinued, however, is particularly problematic for users on older Android phones. Most, if not all, were already not getting security updates—Android 7.0 was released in 2016, seven years ago, so these devices aren’t actively maintained. Even then, however, with Chrome updates, security issues within Chrome and the operating system’s WebView component were still promptly fixed. Now, it’s unlikely most security patches related to Chrome/WebView will roll out for these older devices.
This serves as a bitter reminder that it’s probably time to update your phone (if you happen to have a pending update to at least Android 8, 9, or 10) or get a new one altogether. Many developers have started to drop support for Android 6 and 7 from their applications, so it’s just a matter of time before you’re cut off from most remaining apps and services.