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Pokémon Go to drop older iPhone support, despite widespread Go Plus problems

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If your phone can’t upgrade to iOS 11, no more Pokémon Go for you

Chris Grant/Polygon

Niantic will soon discontinue Pokémon Go support for iPhones that aren’t compatible with iOS 11, the latest version of the smartphone’s operating system. When that update launches in late February, players with older phones will either have to upgrade or give up on the game — even as current iOS 11-users continue to complain about Pokémon Go’s issues with the firmware.

The developer published a note to its Pokémon Go blog on Jan. 9 to give iPhone users a heads up. The text follows below.

In an upcoming update to Pokémon GO, we will end support for Apple devices not capable of upgrading to iOS 11, such as iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c models. This change is a result of improvements to Pokémon GO that push the application beyond the capabilities of the operating systems on such devices. This change will take effect on 02/28/2018. After that date, Trainers using affected devices may no longer be able to access their Pokémon GO accounts from that device, or use their PokéCoins or other items in their Bags. They will need to switch to a supported device to continue playing Pokémon GO.

The good news is that, if you have a phone that can upgrade to iOS 11, but hasn’t, you’re still in good shape. This is not forcing every Pokémon Go player to update their device to iOS 11, in other words. That’s important because, judging from Reddit and Twitter replies, a lot of the fanbase has yet to update their iPhones, because iOS 11 poses a significant problem for a number of users.

Ever since Apple pushed out the new firmware, players have found that the Pokémon Go Plus accessory (which I already had a horrific amount of trouble with when it launched in 2016) either won’t connect or won’t respond to the game as designed. Numerous replies to Niantic’s tweet about the impending discontinuation suggest that this is still plaguing several players.

There’s a significant delay between pressing the Pokémon Go Plus’ action button and getting an in-game response, players report. It’s listed as a known issue on the developer’s Help Center, but users say a fix remains out of reach. Players should heed caution with iOS 11, then — that is, if they even have a phone that supports it.