Google Will Kill Off Very Old Versions of Android Next Month

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Google has started emailing users of very old Android devices to tell them it’s time to say goodbye. Starting September 27, devices running Android 2.3.7 and lower will no longer be able to log in to Google services, effectively killing a big portion of the on-rails Android experience. As Google puts it in an official community post, “If you sign in to 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.” Android is one of the most cloud-based operating systems ever. Especially in older versions, many included apps and services were tied to your Google login, and if that stops working, a large chunk of your phone is bricked. While Android can update many core components without shipping a full system update today, Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread, released around 10 years ago, was not so modular.

The individual Google apps started to be updatable through the Android Market/Play Store, but signing in to Google was still a system-level service and is frozen in time. Any Google services wanting to allow sign-ins from those versions would have to conform to 2011-era security standards, which means turning off two-factor authentication and enabling a special “allow less-secure access” setting in your Google account. Really, these old Android versions have to die eventually because they’re just too insecure. Google shows active user base breakdowns for Android versions in Android Studio, and Gingerbread has such a low device count that it doesn’t even make the list. It’s less than 0.2 percent of active devices, behind 14 other versions of Android. Users of these old devices could still sideload a third-party app store and find replacements for all the Google apps, but if you’re a technical user and can’t get a new device, there’s a good chance you could load a whole new operating system with an aftermarket Android ROM. After September 27, the oldest version of Android you’ll be able to sign in to is Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which is only for tablets.