Niantic warned players about this a long while back, but the day of reckoning is nearly upon us. In a week’s time, your iPhone may no longer be able to play Pokémon GO if you’re using a particularly old model.
The cut-off is the iPhone 5, where that model and below will no longer support Pokémon GO as of February 28th, and you won’t be able to keep playing on that device at all. To be clear this is the iPhone 5 and below, not the 5s, which should continue to work.
The stipulation here is that your phone needs to be able to run iOS 11 in order for you to keep playing GO going forward. It doesn’t need to actively have iOS 11 on it, only the ability to run it. As to why this is happening, this is more something that Apple is doing with 32 bit/64 bit app submissions rather than Niantic itself, though it does impact Pokémon GO obviously.
The good news is that players will still be able to take place in the second, Dratini-based Pokémon GO Community Day which runs for a few hours on Saturday, Feb. 24. But it will be a last hurrah for players who don’t switch to a newer device after that.
While it is a pretty reasonable request for players to upgrade their phones to keep playing current games after a good number of years, and relatively few people may still be using a phone as old as an iPhone 5, one common complaint I’ve heard is that some parents have given their old phones to their kids as a way for everyone to play without needing to actually get every family member a new advice. So you might have an iPhone 7 while your seven year-old is using your old iPhone 5 to catch Pokémon. But now that won’t work, and I predict at least some amount of unhappy kids as a result. But there’s really no way around this.
iPhone 5s-6 users, beware, your time may come soon enough. I have an iPhone 6 I’ve been using to play Pokémon GO since the start (it even has a crack in it from when I dropped it trying to play with freezing fingers last winter), but now I’m starting to get left behind. My 6 cannot run new features like Apple’s ARKit, and I presume that will definitely not be the last new feature that I can’t access due to my phone’s aging tech. But perhaps we have a while yet to go before that becomes a serious problem. ARKit alone isn’t enough to get me to upgrade at this point, given how pricey new phones are.
So you’ve been warned. Enjoy your last few days with the game if this applies to you, and start thinking about upgrades if you want to continue.