Android and iOS users with older devices may soon find themselves unable to access the BBC iPlayer after the broadcaster announced it was ceasing support for iOS6 and Android 2.2 and earlier versions of both operating systems.
The iPlayer smartphone and tablet app is one of the BBC’s most popular digital offerings but the broadcaster says maintaining support for older devices and earlier software versions is becoming increasingly difficult.
It says the decision to drop support for older software version is partially because “many of the third party components that we rely on to build BBC iPlayer have also ceased to support all but the latest operating systems.”
In a post on the BBC blog, iPlayer app boss Andy Hulstone says usage on iOS 5 and iOS 6 “has decreased from 10% to less than 4% of the total usage on iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad,” suggesting the move to drop for support iOS6 and below will have limited impact on users.
The Android version of the app has suffered from a number of issues with the quality and reliability of video playback which BBC developers are now working to improve.
Hulstone warns this work is like to lead to a “a reduced range of operating systems” being supported “as we reengineer playback on the Android and Amazon platforms for the future.”
However he says the BBC will continue to support a minimum of Android 2.3 “in the short to medium term”.