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?