Discontinued support for iOS 8 has been announced in an official Pokémon GO Support post published today. As stated in the original post, Trainers using iOS 8 devices won’t be able to play Pokémon GO after 11/20/2017.
The recommended course of action for players using iOS is to upgrade to iOS 9 and above, otherwise they won’t be able to play the game. iOS 8 was initially released in 2014, with several new iOS releases after.
According to Apple’s official statistics, less than 10% of iOS users are using iOS 8 and 9, while iOS 10 is used by 38% and iOS 11 by 52% of users. Niantic has also acknowledged these numbers, stating the following: “We periodically update our supported device requirements to focus on the devices our player base use.”
Niantic has gone on record and explained why are they gutting iOS 8 support:
By removing support for iOS 8, we are able to streamline our development process and focus resources on supporting newer operating systems and technologies.
With that being said, it’s expected that this will be a smooth discontinuation with nothing major expected for that date besides it. However, players speculating that the aforementioned date could be more significant than we think.
Is Niantic planning something for the 11/20?
According to boomeu1 (via reddit), it could be possible that Niantic is planning something for the 20th. We’re sharing his (or hers?) full speculation below:
How I see this:
Generally speaking, it‘s of course a benefit to developers for their app or game to support more devices (with an older OS), because it means more devices are able to play/use it, thus generating more revenue.
However, with every OS update, more options within the programming become available to developers; options that may not run on older OS versions. As a developer, you can then choose to either not use those options, enable them only on certain devices (those that are able to use them), or discontinue support for devices without the option to run your game or app (thus forcing users to either update their OS, or stop using it altogether).
It‘s quite likely that Niantic is planning something for the 20th, because it‘s a date that they chose themselves to discontinue the support of iOS 8. They aren‘t being forced to do so by Apple, for example. Instead they will – most likely – release an update for Pokémon GO on that date.