One reason Zwift has achieved market dominance is its support of a wide variety of platforms: PC and Mac computers, Android and Apple phones and tablets, and of course AppleTV.
Last month Zwift announced via a forum post that they are deprecating older systems “based on industry standard minimums”.
Once deprecated, the following operating systems will no longer be able to run Zwift:
- Windows 7 and 8 (including 8.1)
- macOSX 10.11 and older
- iOS 11 and older
- Android 6 and older
When Will It Happen?
MacOS, iOS, and Android deprecation will happen with the December 2021 game update, which we estimate will drop during the week of December 12-18.
Windows 7 and Windows 8 deprecation will follow in the January 2022 update, which we estimate will arrive during the week of January 9-15.
Do I Need to Upgrade?
Zwift says, “Affected Zwifters currently using these operating systems will begin to see messaging in-game, and should also receive notification via email.”
If you are running one of the operating systems listed above and/or you’ve received this messaging or an email notification then yes, you will need to upgrade your Zwift device very soon. To be clear: if you fail to upgrade, Zwift’s upcoming game update will disable the game on your system.
Why the Change?
While Zwift has historically supported a wide range of devices, they cannot support aging hardware forever. Deprecation decisions like this are standard practice in the gaming industry, as supporting old hardware and operating systems requires additional development time and can hamstring the implementation of new features.
Essentially, Zwift is saying “If the maker of your operating system doesn’t support it any longer, neither do we.” And that’s a fair stance, especially considering how long of a grace period Zwift has given users of old operating systems!
Consider these release and end of support dates:
- Windows 7 was released October 2009, and support from Microsoft ended January 2020
- Windows 8 was released October 2012, and support from Microsoft ended January 2016
- Windows 8.1 was released October 2013, and mainstream support from Microsoft ended January 2018
- MacOSX 10.11 (El Capitan) was released September 2015, and support from Apple ended October 2019
- iOS 11 was released September 2017, and succeeded by iOS 12 a year later
- Android 6 was released October 2015, and succeeded by Android 7 less than a year later
Most Zwifters probably have a device in their home which will run Zwift after the deprecations kick in: a newer iPhone or Android phone, a tablet, AppleTV, or a decent desktop or laptop computer.
If you need to purchase an upgraded device for your Zwifting, here are two recommendations at different budget levels:
- Most affordable: 2021 Apple TV (32GB, 5th Gen): only $140USD on Amazon, the latest AppleTV is the most affordable Zwift device on the market today. It’s not perfect – the remote can be a bit of a pain. But it’s dead simple to use, and quite stable. There’s a good reason why a huge number of Zwifters use AppleTV!
- Best gaming experience: Windows PC with a strong graphics card, fast single-core CPU performance, and an SSD drive. Zwift will run on just about any PC that can run Windows 10, but for premium Zwift performance (ideally connected to a big screen TV) you’ll want a dedicated Nvidia graphics card (1060 or higher), an Intel CPU, and a solid state drive. Here’s one tower on Amazon that would deliver great Zwift performance without costing an arm and a leg. (For more info on Zwifting on a PC, read “Zwift on PC: The Ultimate Guide to Running Zwift at Its Very Best“.)
Zwift Removed from Apple Watch Store
Along with all the OS deprecation news, Zwift also included this note in their forum post:
Additionally, for Apple Watch owners: we are aware that this experience needs upgrades and we are working on a longer-term vision for support. In the meantime, the Zwift Game and Companion apps will be removed from the Watch App Store. This means:
- New users will not be able to install the Zwift Game or Companion apps
- Legacy users will be able to use the watch apps, but will receive no updates to either app
Our recommendation: don’t rely on your Apple Watch for anything Zwifty, for now. Even using it for heart rate isn’t ideal, considering that more accurate straps are quite affordable and available.
Questions or Comments?
Wish they’d do a PS4/5 version. A £360 PS5 is equivalent to a 3070 graphics card, they cost about £1k alone at the mo, without the rest of the PC.
The console would need to support ant/Bluetooth sensors. Can you install new drivers on those? It would require a lot of cooperation from Sony (and/or MS) for a very small user base. Maybe for the next gen, these are simply budget gaming PCs with a specialized OS at this point anyways.
Support for Windows 11 would be good some time soon.
I’ve been running Zwift on a Windows 11 laptop for several months (pre-release through current), and it has worked fine on every version I’ve had.
Dropping iOS 11 would appear to drop the iPad 2, 3, and 4, and iPhone 4S and 5 – the last devices that didn’t support Apple’s Metal rendering engine. I know this is more likely just shop cleaning to reduce QA load, but I wonder if someone over there could start looking into it? We’re still not taking any advantage of the latest M1-based iPads or Macs, and we’ll probably be seeing M2 next year.
Would love to see Neokyo and future updates closer to their true fidelity.
Why doyou need an Intel CPU and an Nvidia graphics card? Should work fine with AMD no?
Zwift will run on AMD PC’s and AMD graphics cards. My PC is 100% AMD and i have no issues at all with everything maxed out on ultra.
I wished the writer did a more neutral article in regards to this.
It will run on AMD processors and GPUs, yes. But AMD’s implementation/drivers for OpenGL aren’t as good as NVidias – and OpenGL is what Zwift uses.
Because of this, an AMD GPU that is on-par with a Nvidia GPU in terms of specs won’t perform as well.
If you want top-notch performance on Zwift, you want an Nvidia GPU.
Connection to my trainer has been hit and miss since I upgraded to Win11. I guess zwift are only supporting Win10
is my 3080 or my 3090 be good for zwift in 2025 ?
This is very reasonable and important. It is very reasonable to not support versions that the OS creators are not supporting (for security reasons alone). Future deprecations will happen, and Zwift will have to learn how to handle these smoothly. Two weeks notice is OK, but not great. Ideally, giving folks ~ 6 months notice, and laying out a calendar well in advance to give folks time to upgrade would be great. It might be wise to have annual deprecations in December – so that everyone knows when they will be coming, and will know that if the OS creator… Read more »
Will the new version run under WINE on LINUX?
Should. Here’s how to use it with Lutris + WINE: https://zwiftinsider.com/zwift-on-linux/
I can confirm my personal experience that as of 2022-02-02 in a 64bit Win10 wine environment it does not. With Runfromprocess64 that worked for the past ~2.5 years it does not.
I can also confirm that the contingency Lutris install I had working for the past 6 months on a different system also no longer works.
I have been readying to migrate away from Zwift since it started throwing (incorrect) Windows version errors in early December. This whole thing has taken away joy and unfortunately had me on my bike less and less inclined to ‘invest’ in the platform.
Uh-oh, my lenovo tab 4 plus it’s only on 7.1.1…
Guess I’ll be the next one to go to the chopping block. Does zwift regularly do this kind of cut-offs?
I’d say once every year or two they upgrade their minimum spec.
I enjoy your columns. Here’s a question off topic. Will all the participants in the world championships be running the same resistance setting?
I broke my Apple Watch 3 in a crash. Got a new 7 and cannot use it on Zwift to walk on the treadmill?
I just got a free Samsung Chromebook with my Samsung S21, so was excited to have a new laptop to run Zwift on, only to find out that Chrome OS is not supported! Any idea if they will open Zwift to Chrome OS?
Does it mean that using Zwift on my PC Win 8.1 I can withdraw my subscriptions and give the trainer to the needy? Or look for other platforms that will work with my Eitte Suito?
Or are there any updates for Win 8.1 that will help get Zwift up and running?
What choice do I have? Is it necessary to pre-install the system for eg Win 10 or higher model?