If you still play Pokémon Go on a smartphone or tablet running Android 5.0 “Lollipop” or iOS 10 or 11, you’ll no longer be able to access the game when Niantic pushes an update in October. The Pokémon Go Twitter account confirmed that two popular older phones also won’t make the cut: the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 are being left behind, despite the fact both phones can be upgraded to run iOS 12.
All things considered, the performance on those devices probably wasn’t great. Pokémon Go might not be as demanding as some other titles, but it relies heavily on your phone’s cameras, GPS tracking, and general chops to keep up with its 3D visuals, and can be quite a drain on an aging phone battery. All that being said, it’s going to be a loss for a non-trivial amount of people around the globe who don’t want to — or can’t — upgrade their phones.
If you have a flagship or midrange iPhone or Android handset from the past few years, you don’t need to worry. It’s those with much older or more affordable devices who might have to.
In an upcoming update to Pokémon GO in October, we will end support for Android 5, iOS 10, and iOS 11, as well as iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 devices. Trainers with devices not specifically listed here will not be affected and don’t need to take any action.
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) August 31, 2020
Pokémon Go is still incredibly popular: Last we heard from Niantic Labs, it said 2019 was its most lucrative year since the augmented reality game launched. And according to data from Sensor Tower, a mobile game and app analytics firm, the game’s popularity didn’t see a dip during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it grew, seeing more than $254 million in revenue in Q2 2020 — nearly a 38-percent revenue boost compared to the previous quarter. During the COVID-19 pandemic and the many stay-at-home orders it spurred, people couldn’t stop catching Pokémon. This year’s Pokémon Go Fest was the biggest yet, with players catching nearly a billion of the digital creatures. Niantic also smartly made the game easier to play indoors.
Losing these devices probably won’t make a huge impact on Niantic’s user base. But if you’re an avid Pokémon Go player with an outdated phone, you might be affected, so it’s good to have a little lead time before October.
The Verge has reached out to Niantic to see why it’s ending support for these devices, and if it can share more precisely when the update will go live.