Google is putting the final nail in Android 4.4 KitKat’s coffin

It seems like yesterday to many of us, but Android 4.4 KitKat was launched in 2013, a whopping 10 years ago by this point. In a way, over the course of a few years, it became Android’s Windows XP — it wouldn’t go away completely despite Google’s best efforts, and was present on a lot of hardware, even after Android 5.0 Lollipop and subsequent versions were released, with the Android 14 Beta the latest in line. It’s pretty much gone by this point, and a distant memory, but it was one of the most stable and solid Android versions to be released. Now, though, it’s finally completely dead.

Chances are you’re not using an Android KitKat phone right now — at least we hope so. It was the last big update using Google’s Holo design language after its successor, Lollipop, properly moved into Material Design. Right now, however, KitKat is running on less than 1% of active Android devices. Android 4.4 KitKat won’t be getting any new updates to Google Play Services beyond version 23.90.99, which essentially puts an end to official Google support for this OS and means it’s finally completely deprecated. If you’re still using one, you can just expect things to start breaking from here. Google also killed support for Jelly Bean (4.1-4.3) two years ago, and this means all 4.x versions are officially dead for good.

Mishaal Rahman recently posted this year’s Android version distribution numbers on Twitter

To be completely fair here, this isn’t something that’s affecting a lot of people. Sure, your phone might not have the latest Android version, but it should at least have Android 9 or newer. And if it’s ancient, it will have Android 8.0, Android 7.1, Android 7.0, or 2015’s Android 6.0. These are all outdated versions by now, and usually among the lowest versions most developers are supporting on their apps as of the time of writing. Many apps have long outright refused to run on Android 4.4. KitKat at this point, so you were already battling against developers discontinuing support for their apps on your phone. This is just Google pulling the plug on an operating system that was already on life support.

It’s probably time to get a new phone if you belong in that less-than-1% group. If your phone is really running KitKat, even one of many excellent budget phones might be actually faster as far as performance goes.