Google will kill off very old versions of Android next month

Enlarge / Scrumptious gingerbread Android cookies.

Google has began emailing customers of very outdated Android units to inform them it is time to say goodbye.

Beginning September 27, units working Android 2.3.7 and decrease will now not be capable of log in to Google providers, successfully killing an enormous portion of the on-rails Android expertise. As Google places it in an official community post, “Should you check in to your system after September 27, you could get username or password errors once you attempt to use Google services and products like Gmail, YouTube, and Maps.”

Android is likely one of the most cloud-based working techniques ever. Particularly in older variations, many included apps and providers have been tied to your Google login, and if that stops working, a big chunk of your telephone is bricked. Whereas Android can replace many core parts with out delivery a full system replace immediately, Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, launched round 10 years in the past, was not so modular.

The person Google apps started to be updatable via the Android Market/Play Retailer, however signing in to Google was nonetheless a system-level service and is frozen in time. Any Google providers wanting to permit sign-ins from these variations must conform to 2011-era safety requirements, which suggests turning off two-factor authentication (2FA) and enabling a particular “allow less-secure access” setting in your Google account. Actually, these outdated Android variations should die ultimately as a result of they’re simply too insecure.

Google exhibits energetic consumer base breakdowns for Android variations in Android Studio, and Gingerbread has such a low system rely that it does not even make the listing. It is lower than 0.2 p.c of energetic units, behind 14 different variations of Android. Customers of those outdated units might nonetheless sideload a third-party app retailer and discover replacements for all of the Google apps, however should you’re a technical consumer and may’t get a brand new system, there is a good probability you possibly can load a complete new working system with an aftermarket Android ROM.

The current Android user base. Android 2.3 Gingerbread doesn't even make the list.
Enlarge / The present Android consumer base. Android 2.3 Gingerbread does not even make the listing.


After September 27, the oldest model of Android you’ll check in to is Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which is just for tablets. This OS nonetheless is not modular, however Google realized that login safety updates would begin to be a problem sooner or later, and Honeycomb added a “sign-in through browser” choice to the preliminary setup. The hard-coded Android login can nonetheless be damaged, however “sign-in through browser” will kick you out to a webpage—which may be up to date with newer expertise—and may then ahead that login to the OS. It is nonetheless not sufficient to avoid wasting Honeycomb from the “less-secure app” designation and does not work nicely with 2FA, but it surely’s sufficient to maintain the OS trucking for now.

The login process turned updatable in Android 5.0 Lollipop, which checks for preliminary setup updates earlier than you even log in.

These units have been out of date for some time, so it isn’t an enormous deal for day-to-day utilization, however Google’s server shutdowns are a nightmare for preservationists. At the moment, anybody can hearth up an outdated Apple II or set up Home windows 1.0 on an outdated pc and see the total expertise, however as soon as Google cuts off login assist, outdated variations of Android are useless. If you cannot log in to Google, say goodbye to the Android Market, Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Discuss. The bottom OS will nonetheless work, however you will not be capable of do something individuals truly did on these telephones. You may by no means be capable of see these apps work on the telephones once more, barring some type of loopy login emulation system.

This is not the primary time Google has killed off older variations of Android due to larger login safety. The Android 1.0-era apps have been damaged for years. Right here at Ars, we noticed all this coming and documented each early model of Android in this giant article. The apps may not work anymore, however we’ll all the time have the screenshots.

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