More Losses at 23andMe – Including No Ethnicity Update for V2, V3 or V4 Chip Customers

12-31-2020: Update to this article. 23andMe has reversed their position and provided ethnicity updates to both V3 and V4 chip testers. The status of V2 kits is unclear. Those kits show an update date in early December, but no update tag and nothing has changed in their ethnicity results. Additionally, 23andMe has restored the matches that were removed – although it’s unclear whether or not they have simply restored existing matches or if the previous threshold of 2000 matches is back in place as well. They have also restored some search functionality, such as within user-entered notes, but not all functionality. For example, you still cannot search matches by haplogroup.

Original article begins here:

Did you test with 23andMe prior to August 2017? If you were among the millions of customers who tested in the decade between 2007 and 2017, you tested on the V1-V4 chip.

Unfortunately, 23andMe has made the decision to no longer provide ethnicity updates for customers who have NOT tested on the current V5 chip.

Moving to the V5 chip is not an upgrade – it’s a completely new test that customers must purchase and spit-to-submit again. This means that if your family member that you purchased a test for died, you’re just out of luck. Too bad – so sad.

Last week, 23andMe published this article detailing their new ethnicity improvements. Everyone was excited, but then the article ended with this spoiler at the very bottom.

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I still can’t believe my eyes.

What – No Ethnicity Updates?????

In this industry, no company that I can recall has EVER failed to update ethnicity for earlier chips. Especially given that ethnicity is the hook that companies have used to entice many, many customers to test.

When FamilyTreeDNA changed from the Affymetrix chip to the Illumina chip in 2011, they retested every single customer FOR FREE.

FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, and Ancestry have continued to update results for all customers on any chip level. Those companies would be publicly skewered alive if they did anything else.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a betrayal of the trust of 23andMe customers.

We know now that companies can easily utilize imputation for equalizing different chips for genealogy purposes. All three other major companies do exactly that with their own tests and in the case of MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA, with transfers from the other three major companies, including 23andMe’s current and older chip levels. Of course, imputation “fills in blanks” with “realistic values,” which is not appropriate for medical testing – and the underlying goal of 23andMe is medical research, not genealogy

Therefore, genealogy customers are being penalized in an effort to force them to the V5 chip if they want to view their new ethnicity updates or have more than 1500 matches, and then, only with a subscription.

This “sales strategy” is simply not acceptable.

Matches Restricted

This no-ethnicity-update revelation comes on the heels of 23andMe reducing the match threshold to 1500 FOR ALL CUSTOMERS unless customers have tested on the V5 chip AND subscribe, both.

I wrote about that change, here.

That’s Not All – No Search by Common Surname or Ancestral Location

The genealogy community continues to discover more losses. Hat tip to my blog subscriber who noticed that customers can no longer search by common surname or ancestral location.

23andMe confirmed that change in an email saying:

  • You can search for profile names and current locations in the DNA Relatives search section.

Wow, I don’t want my matches knowing where I currently live. is that really what’s happening? Surely not.

But sure enough, here’s one of my matches, minus their name of course.

This gives me cold chills. This information should never, ever, be available unless the tester gives it directly to another specific person.

Why would 23andMe ever implement a feature like this that causes potential physical security risks to their customers? I’d wager most people have no idea that this information is displayed to all of their matches. Fortunately, it’s only displayed if you specifically enter the information.

To check your location status, remove or update this information, click on the down arrow beside your name in the upper right-hand corner of your 23andMe page, then on “Settings”.

Scroll down and click on “Edit Enhanced Profile.”

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Make any changes.

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This is also the section where you enter other information that will help you connect with matches in a meaningful way. Be sure to share a link to a family tree someplace. While 23andMe is discontinuing some of the features that are important for genealogists, that makes it even more important to utilize the remaining features.

23andMe also confirmed that:

  • You can no longer search for family surnames, other locations, or any other user entered information.

This change is infinitely sad, because surnames, especially unusual ones are critically important to genealogists, and in combination with locations.

You can filter by ancestor birthplaces, but that only means through the grandparent level.

Not terribly useful for genealogists, and the US is a very big place. Knowing someone’s grandparents were born in the US is not helpful. However, if I have an ancestor from a location like Germany, this might be more useful.

You can also filter by SOME of your family surnames, but not all of them. Apparently, only your top 20 in terms of how many people share that surname. Just take a guess which one is highest on my list. Probably yours too.

My own surname and that of all 4 of my grandparents is missing from this list. I don’t find an ancestral surname until one of my great-grandparents’ surnames, Miller, appears. This list is really only a list of the most common surnames in the US that I happen to have in my genealogy.

No Haplogroup Search

Another feature that has disappeared is the ability to search your DNA Relatives by haplogroup. Granted, they were only partial haplogroups, but they could rule out a lineage connection to your direct matrilineal line or, if a male, your patrilineal line. If you knew your grandparents or other haplogroup lineages, you could do the same for them.

But not anymore

Where Are the Genealogists?

How has 23andMe moved so far away from the genealogy community? This feels like death by 1000 tiny cuts. Whittling away our features along with our trust.

At one time, 23andMe had a genealogy ambassadors program where experienced genealogical ambassadors represented the genealogy community and provided input. Unfortunately, 23andMe dissolved the program a year or so ago, but then again, they didn’t seem to listen much to their ambassadors anyway.

Health AND Ancestry

23andMe is increasingly pushing the health AND ancestry test on the V5 chip. I’d wager their medical and research partners want specific data on this chip that’s not available on previous versions.

When clicking on my V4 account, the upgrade available is only for both health and ancestry. There is no “ancestry only” test available like there used to be.

The $99 price for the V5 upgrade is the same for my V3 kit. Yes, I tested twice (three times actually on V2, V3, and V4) to understand the matching differences between the V3 and the V4 chip.

Truthfully, given the way 23andMe is treating their current clients, I have absolutely no desire to gift them with my health information to turn into revenue.

Consent or WithDraw Consent to Share Genetic Information

While 23andMe can utilize research information from surveys in some ways without your explicit consent, assuming you answer their surveys, which I do not, they currently don’t share your genetic data unless you opt-in to consent.

I’m not comfortable with not knowing who is using my DNA information and for what research purpose – but your comfort level may vary. 23andMe’s “designer baby” patent in 2013 ended my participation in research.

If you click on “Research,” then “Surveys and Studies,” 23andMe will remind you if you haven’t opted in for research.

You can check your current consent status by scrolling to the bottom of this page after you sign in.

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You will see your current consent status, and you have the ability to update your status with a different choice. Please read every document provided before consenting.

You can also access your Research Consent and other account settings by clicking on the down arrow by your name, at the far right top, and then on “Settings.”

Research Consent is very near the bottom, under Preferences.

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May the Fleas of 1000 Camels Infest Your Armpits

May fleas infest your armpits, 23andMe, for removing the services and features that genealogists purchased and expect to continue to receive. Worse yet, you’ve damaged our collective credibility, because we’ve been recommending 23andMe to our family members and friends for years now, and purchasing kits for them, all in good faith. Now, we get the opportunity to apologize to our family members for your behavior. We trusted you, and we shouldn’t have.

In the past, 23andMe has always updated ethnicity for everyone. New medical and health reports weren’t always added, ostensibly because the necessary genetic locations weren’t on older chips, but genealogy features and updates were never held hostage before – nor was existing functionality removed except for trees.

In retrospect, the removal of trees was probably the first sign that 23andMe was seriously moving away from genealogists and was only paying lip-service in order to obtain our DNA for the very lucrative medical research business.

I haven’t always agreed with the decisions made by 23andMe in the past, but this time, I feel that 23andMe is intentionally acting disingenuously – blatantly arm-twisting their long-time genealogy customers by withholding updates we have every right to expect. Odd way to treat the community that stood by 23andMe and kept buying tests while the FDA had their health and medical reports shut down for two years, from 2013 to 2015 when they finally reached an agreement and began selling their health product again.

As a customer, your only recourse, other than complaining, which I encourage you to do (, is to opt-out of research consent. 23andMe may not hear our voices or care about our ethnicity or matches, but I bet they will notice the revocation of consent. Our DNA is a cash-cow for 23andMe as a DNA-broker.

Your other alternative to receive your updated ethnicity results, of course, is to purchase an upgrade and pay to test, again. Just like the only way to get more than 1500 matches is to upgrade plus pay a subscription fee – and then you’re still limited to 5000 matches. Upgrade or not, you won’t receive the other features they’ve removed.

Truthfully, there’s no way in bloody h*ll that a company is going to get me to spend MORE money by abusing my trust and attempting to strong-arm me in this fashion. Nada. That’s simply not going to happen.

I’d wager that treating genealogists in this manner is a very short-sighted strategy. We talk within this community and make recommendations to each other. 23andMe is generating a great deal of bad-will right now.

I left wondering what else existing customers will lose, and when the V5 customers will be arm-twisted to purchase a new test, yet again.



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73 thoughts on “More Losses at 23andMe – Including No Ethnicity Update for V2, V3 or V4 Chip Customers

  1. Wow, that’s sad. I was fortunate to test in 2018, so I got my ethnicity update. I wish I could search on the partial mtDNA haplogroups as I found someone who might match me.

    • I, too, tested in 2018 but was less than impressed with their ethnicity update. I have deleted my location information and rescinded my research permission,

    • Thanks for sharing the information, I have withdrawn consent for all kits I manage and written a complaint email too. I think we should protest as a community at the way these changes have been “communicated” and “implemented”.

  2. Seems that the updates they did give to the ethnicity estimates aren’t so popular either. Specifically on all my family’s samples they significantly altered the percentages. Nothing really new shows up, but it was as if they made the 50% confidence level in the 90% confidence level by stripping from some ethnicities and putting the majority in on category, which, in my case, doesn’t really make sense as it applies to what I know of my family history.

  3. Totally unacceptable. Way to go, 23andMe.

    I really don’t care about the ethnicity update anymore, but I like reviewing matches. These companies are selling out for the highest dollar.

  4. I also noted and changed my basic personal information to show my birth year as 2020, and removed postal code, height and weight. On the birthday, this is what 23andMe has – “We use this to show you information on health conditions that are more applicable at different ages.”
    Thanks but no thanks. I always thought 23andMe had the best ethnicity algorithm, but NO WAY am I paying for any updates. Thanks for this information.

  5. Thanks so much, Roberta. I was already annoyed with 23andme and now I’m withdrawing my consents, too. I appreciate the heads up.

  6. Karen Smith
    Your best option to search for mtDNA or Y haplogroups is via the Aggregate File download. They are still there, and for now, including any matches you may have ‘lost’ via 1500 rule.

    To All. If your matches have Accepted an Invite to Share, they seem to be accessible via Your Connections. Al least for now..

  7. I believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg. A business model where you charge a one-time fee and provide an on-going service (currently all of the DNA testing companies) is sustainable as long as the number of new testers does not decline (think pyramid scheme), whereby you use the new testers’ one time fees to pay for the current services. When the number of testers starts to decline (approaching market saturation), the new revenue is insufficient to fund the on-going services. Next step, bankruptcy, unless you change the model. The market for autosomal DNA tests is certainly not as robust as it was a few years ago, so we are heading towards market saturation. Now that 23andMe has opened this Pandora’s box, the other testing companies will likely follow suit. Personally, if Ancestry offered a monthly subscription service that provided the tools / features of GEDmatch, I would jump at the opportunity – huge database and excellent tools. The other testing companies could fold up their tents and go home except for FTDNA and their Y and mitochondrial tests. Or perhaps an organization like FamilySearch could provide a service similar to GEDmatch, with a commitment to keep law enforcement out (it needs an organization with deep pockets).

    • Well, the one thing Ancestry would have to offer that I don’t think they ever will is a chromosome browser. Not even with a subscription service — although perhaps with their recent acquisition by Blackstone that will change.

      If so, it really would put them way out in front — though I still think their “ancestry analysis” leaves something to be desired. 23andMe is still ahead in that regard, although the decision not to provide updates for those of us on chips prior to v5 is definitely a problem.

    • I agree, Jim, that the currently company models are not sustainable, but then 23andMe’s model used to be sustainable.
      They used to have a small monthly fee to pay for usage after the initial test. They CHOSE to drop that in order to compete more strongly with the other companies. But we cop the consequences.
      AncestryDNA effectively now uses the DNA test as a loss leader to get people to take up subscriptions. But that’s not a sensible option for me as 95% of the records that interest me they do not have.
      Fortunately they lived in places where the records ended up costing much less to access.

      • 23andMe had made millions on their research partnerships. Probably as much per kit as the actual kit sale. Ancestry is also is that same business. So they do have a revenue stream aside from the kit sales. Both Ancestry and MyHeritage have subscriptions for research. Family Tree DNA is the only company of the 4 without another revenue stream.

        • Family Tree DNA is part of their parent company Gene by Gene, which does medical testing. I suspect profits from Gene by Gene could provide any support that Family Tree DNA might need, if sales of DNA kits lag.

          • Let’s hope. I want all 4 companies to thrive – and treat their customers with respect.

        • Hi, Team.
          I fervently hope that FTDNA will take the reins andcnot only continue to focus on providing its current (and future!!😉) customers with the vital genetic/genealogical resources that we as family historians rely upon; but even more importantly, expand its search algorithms to provide us with the data and information that bear fruit in our research efforts.

          Thank you Ms. Roberta, you are our fearless leader!!

          Onward, Truth Seekers!!☺

    • Yes, but what about Ancestry’s statement that it will never provide a chromosome browser “for privacy reasons”? Without that and actual segment data, we can’t hope to do what we need to do, even with thousands of matches (which they will probably keep on paring back farther and farther anyway).

    • I agree, canyongen!! I was so done with after they pulled their shenanigans, that I was literally one click away from signing up with “23&Them” on the day that Ms. Roberta gave us the “heads-up” and the “low-down” about the ugliness that they are now perpetrating upon their existing customers.

      . . . btw, Gordon Gecko, you were wrong.

  8. Helping individuals with genealogy long term for the cost of a DNA test was never the aim I expect. I am increasingly concerned about privacy aspects.. A haplogroup search
    was of assistance as you have commented Roberta. All things considered …….. little
    reason to continue…..Thank you.

  9. Well isn’t that great! – NOT! I actually just got word that the test I submitted has been received. I didn’t think I needed to test there but finally decided as genealogy is my main hobby, perhaps I should get tested there as well. So all my bases are covered, having tested a couple years ago on Ancestry and uploaded to the other sites. Now, reading your post I wish I hadn’t spent the money. They already asked me to fill in some data about myself and I thought, how different than Ancestry. I can’t say I was too comfortable with that but not knowing what to expect I complied. Thanks for this timely post as I be prepared to make changes.

  10. I couldn’t remember when I tested with 23andme, so I felt a bit aggravated by this news. I logged in and felt less aggravated when I saw that I had an ethnicity update. After clicking through to the updates, I was back to aggravated. The ethnicity estimates at 23andMe have always been the closest of any of the testing companies, compared to my known genealogy. However, much like the latest FTDNA update, this 23andMe update seems to be a step in the wrong direction. Contrary to the promises in their announcement letter, my ethnicity estimates have become less specific and less granular, including an increase in the unassigned category. Previously identified subregions have disappeared, which could theoretically be more accurate, but I don’t think so. The European subregions they previously identified were rather spot on with my family tree. With many businesses, in many industries, there is a tendency to offer “updates” and “improvements” to draw new customers and generate new enthusiasm among existing customers. Unfortunately, there is usually a tipping point past which the changes take place for their own sake (or more usually for profit’s sake), rather than any type of objective improvement. The endless versions of Windows is a prime example. This move by 23andMe smacks of the same and could foretell a trend that we increasingly see in the genetic genealogy sector.

  11. You seem very opposed to 23andMe. I must say, and must users would agree, that 23andMe has by far the best results as far as accuracy goes. The other companies, particularly FTDNA, have major issues. Also, it said it isn’t currently available for v4 and earlier chip users. That may change, and they always update the newest users first.

    • I can’t tell you how many tests I’ve bought through 23andMe for people no longer living. Yes, I’m very upset. It’s a betrayal of a significant investment.

  12. Roberta, I’d think that most all of us as 23andMe customers feel betrayed by functionality in DNA Relatives being moved to the 23andMe+ subscription service. It’s absolutely not right, and I applaud you for calling out the company.

    However, as you quote from 23andMe:

    “At this time, this update is only available to customers on the most recent version (Version 5) of our genotyping platform.”

    Reporting that “23andMe has made the decision to no longer provide ethnicity updates for customers who have NOT tested on the current V5 chip” seems to misrepresent that point.
    In fact, a decision hasn’t been made for v4 and earlier customers, but if it is and they’re not updated, you’d be in the right to call out the company.

    Customers can also decide whether or not to include residence information in their DR profile. They should realize that it’s shown if they add it. From the DR Enhanced Profile section:

    “Introduce yourself to your DNA Relatives and Connections with details about your family’s story. Comparing this information with your new connections can provide clues to your shared ancestry.”

    Then, from “Where do you call home?” item from within the Enhanced Profile section:

    “Add your location to your profile and compare with Connections and DNA Relatives nearby and around the world.”

    It seems as though customers are made aware. Some may feel comfortable in revealing their residence info, while others may not, but it’s up to them.

    Family surnames can still be searched but now only in the DR aggregate download. Same for haplogroups. It’s still not an honest move on the company’s part to remove them from DR and incorporate it into the subscription service for v5 customers, but it would be helpful for readers to know that a workaround exists.

    I think that the blog entry would’ve been much more powerful had it better portrayed the reality of the situation.

    • The only way that 23andMe will add that functionality to the earlier tests is if enough people complain. Otherwise they would have stated their plan, or at least that it was under consideration. Once a feature is gone, it’s a very rare occurrence that it’s resurrected with any vendor.

      In the earlier article that I linked to, I did talk about downloads, but many people have never done that and aren’t comfortable with excel.

      As for the location, that does not say your location will be revealed to your matches.

      I agree that people should make their own decisions. And now anyone who has read this article knows to check that.

      • Roberta, I’m sorry, but you’re deliberately misrepresenting what the company is stating, both in the passage that you quote and in follow-ups from customer support on the forums. I think that you’re better than this. It’s very disappointing.

        Once or if the company announces that it’s not going to update customers on prior chips, then it’s fair game for criticism for not doing so. For now, however, it hasn’t said either way. We’ll see.

        Whether you end up being correct or not isn’t the issue. It’s posting your conclusions as facts without stating that they’re instead your opinions, and it’s hurting your credibility. Will some now wonder whether or not you’re being truthful or playing with the facts to support a narrative in future postings? We rely on you for factual representations, and you’ve let us down here. I’m afraid that your inherent biases are affecting the otherwise effective portions of your blog post, and I hope that you’ll do better going forward.

        We need you to call out the companies when they’ve done something adverse but also need you to do so fairly and honestly.

        • I quoted them. Pure and simple. If they change their policies and features, and I hope they do, I’ll report that too. It was only a month or so ago I ran a very positive article about 23andMe and someone finding a long lost ancestor through the tree.

  13. Roberta thanks for this (as always). I have already had a go at 23&Me about what they have removed and as you know their response is “we are not able to speculate if certain search functions will be coming back in the future”. In other words NO. The only option now is to download the aggregate data and sift through it.ER

  14. I am saddened to learn of these changes. I tested a few years back but won’t be retesting with them. I will also remove permission to use my DNA for research. This is a disgraceful way to treat loyal customers.

  15. I’ve always found it odd that of all the companies 23andMe has apologists for it no matter what the company does. To claim you’re lying about the company is ridiculous. You and others have pointed out there is no reason they need to “think about” or sit on updating older chips. That they are doing so shows the company’s integrity. The same people have made other ridiculous claims like no one on V4 or older cares about their results or even logs on, or that us plebeians don’t understand the science behind the chips and why they can’t just update V4 and older. 23andMe can do no wrong, and those people lack empathy for those who paid a good bit of money and are now left in the dark. They erroneously compare it to buying an iPhone. Their defense of the company and spread of misinformation (like updating the chip is impossible or hard) makes me wonder if they are people who work for the company.

  16. That is a shame.

    23andme is so darn cheap and accurate (esp. during holiday sales) that it would not be such a big deal to test again, but if you have a relative who has passed away, there needs to be some accommodation to help their data stay useful in the new format.

    My Heritage and Family tree do not seem to be as good with African and Native American DNA compared to ancestry and 23andme so I like my 23andme account. The first two seem OK-ish for Europe though.

    On 23andme, I can match cousins by ethnicity and haplogroup and also see which bits of chromosomes we share. On the other sites, except for ancestry, some heritage does not even show up, so I miss out on a lot of cousins and sharing information which is really the fun part.

    I was fortunate enough to test on the newer chip at 23andme and their new upgrade is simply amazing and very inexpensive at only 29 dollars for a whole year. Unlike others they had no fee prior and some other sites can be expensive

    Sadly, my folks passed away prior to my interest in DNA testing. However, 23andme seems like a nice company, so maybe if you ask, they will find a way to accommodate

    The new matching upgrades are ones I had asked for a while back and I’m sure I’m not the only one who wanted to be able to search by haplogroups, etc. So, I imagine that if they can accommodate your concerns that they will find a way to do so – eventually.

    I did not have the ability to search this way before – it sounds like maybe others had been able to – so maybe newer testers on the new chip had been at a disadvantage for awhile and this fix was to remedy that – but left others at a disadvantage – I do not know

    It seems like they may try to listen to what customers want. Time will tell. I can’t say I feel that way about Ancestry after their last purge of matches when customers had said that they did not want them to do that – but they did it anyway, but they have other advantages – but with the purge I may be able to go though everyone with trees in a few years. I used to get new ThruLines matches most every day and often several a day. Now I may get about 1-2 a week at best – that does not sound more accurate to me, but less so, but maybe fewer people are signing up being strapped for cash in the pandemic.

  17. They most likely will ignore the request to opt out of medical research and simply use it banking that no one will ever find out that they are indeed using all test results for medical research. The field is too lucrative. Unless there is an internal whistleblower 23nMe won’t get caught. They know this. They will take the risk and if they are caught they’ll mediate and still come out on top financially. Once the DNA has been sold to third parties for profit and used there is no turning back. Who knows to whom the third parties sold the DNA purchased from 23nMe. A Silicon Valley expert warned not to trust 23nMe years ago. I haven’t tested with them and suggested that people not test with them for genealogy purposes based upon the warning provided in that article. One reason mentioned— the woman who started 23nMe lied, and was caught, as a top tier executive when employed at Yahoo. The author suggested she’d lie again.

  18. Roberta, you said, “As a customer, your only recourse, other than complaining, which I encourage you to do (, is to opt-out of research consent. 23andMe may not hear our voices or care about our ethnicity or matches, but I bet they will notice the revocation of consent.”

    Hmmm… with their proven underhandedness, how do we REALLY know they are not already using our DNA even if we have NOT given them permission. How would we know? I wouldn’t put it past them.

  19. I just removed 5 consent forms including myself and 4 others I manage. Thank you for letting us know what is going on.

  20. I’m sorry to hear about the changes, and thank you for the update.

    I just sent in a test for 23&me, ONLY because my niece tested and matched a possible 1st cousin to me. The match was adopted, and she thinks one of my father’s sisters was her mother. My father’s sisters never married, and I never heard anything about them having a child. This match is really interested in finding out about her bio-family!

    That is exciting to me, and I needed to test to see how WE match up!

    I’m sorry about the loss of the haplogroup information. If this match indeed seems to be my aunt’s daughter, I will most definitely ask her to test with another company. Probably Ancestry, where another 1st cousin matches me. I’d also see if she can do the familytreedna MTdna test, since she’d be descended from my grandmother, whose origins are a mystery! Of course, it would be a scholarship!

    So…I feel I was forced to test. It’s so worth it to me. They wanted dozens of questions answered, which I started to do then stopped. I’ll remove the consent forms. If they want to profit from my personal information, they should be paying me for it.

    • For your purposes, this is still a fine solution. Your goal is a bit different than many. I’m excited for you!!!

    • Bless you for helping an adoptee by testing. You don’t know how much it means to find another piece of the puzzle when a new relative tests.

  21. If they are only showing 1500 relatives, what happens when new relatives come on. What decision is made to delete ones already shown? And I suppose that they don’t tell you that they’ve deleted someone.

    • The largest 1500 matches are shown. The rest are not. So when you have a new one that qualifies, the smallest one drops off. And no, there is no notification.

  22. This is the current statement about sample saving.

    ” Our CLIA-certified laboratory can store saliva samples for future testing. Learn more

    You have selected to store your sample. ”

    Seems contradictory to the claim you have to provide a new sample for a new test.

  23. I called 23 and Me and they stated that they would be upgrading the V4 chip. Did they lie to me? I will turn them over to Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau. My mother passed away in June, and my dad is not able to spit again. Luckily, Mom was on the V5, Dad is not. I agree with the statement about the V5 chip going obsolete with an upgrade to a V6 chip next. I, too, have recommended 23 to people due to better accuracy on the ethnicity. Just a tibit, My Heritage is very close in their ethnicity to 23. They are my second choice which will probably become my first. Thanks 23, you have harmed your customers who cannot obtain more testing kits for deceased relatives. Bad Karma for you.


    • When did they say that and what wording did they use? Some astroturfers for the company (m who is m on multiple sites) insist they never said there was never going to be an update and that this is misinformation and they are just doing plausible deniability until it is ready like the V5 update when they used to say there wasn’t one. Now, maybe my memory deceives me, but I don’t recall a drastic length of time in between V5 getting an update and the rest getting the update. But maybe I am wrong. However, they have never said they aren’t doing anything at the moment before and didn’t ever say “if” before. It’s very frustrating but I side with Roberta and leave a little bit of hope they may give update after all. But yes you should report them. I am surprised no one has considered a law suit also because we paid money expecting a certain service, and may have been contractual even, and then we are denied it so they can make money.

  24. The response to my complaint is breathtaking in its “corporate speak”:


    Thank you for contacting the 23andMe Team. The reports we are offering as part of the 23andMe+ annual membership are not included in the Health + Ancestry Service, and are subject to an additional cost.

    If you choose not to purchase 23andMe+, your existing health and ancestry reports will not be affected. We will continue to keep your account up to date with select new reports and features you are eligible to receive outside of 23andMe+. Additionally, you will be notified if updates are made to your existing reports.

    Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Best regards,


    Really: select reports…that you are eligible to receive.

  25. What happens to those of us who transferred our raw data to 23andme back in 2018 during that free transfer period?

  26. Hi Roberta,
    48 hours before you posted this, I purchased a V5 kit for my mom and a V5 upgrade for myself.

    Ethnicity results and privacy issues aside, here’s another thing your readers need to be aware of: since the day I entered my barcode info for the new V5 sample, I have been UNABLE to access my list of DNA relatives or the DNA tree!! It just keeps “clocking” and comes back with some message re: high volume — check back in a day.

    To 23andMe’s credit, they are working with me — latest attempt was to remove all my V3 updates to my tree and “reset” it — but no dice. Yet. No match list either.

    Granted, I now have both parents’ results (one a V5, one a V3) both my parents were willing to test at 23andMe and I can access their results — as well as my brother’s V4 test results. But not everyone is so lucky to have both parents tested — and it’s now the principle of the thing for me.

    Anyone upgrading from V3 to V5 — rather than buying a separate test under a separate email — MAY lose access to their match list and to their tree. Buyer beware!

  27. Pingback: 23andMe Changes: Triangulation Doesn’t Work the Same Way | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  28. I have the V4 chip and cousin has V5; my ancestry report was only updated to ancestry composition v5.4 while cousin’s was updated to v5.9, both in December 2020.

    So, no, it doesn’t look like they’ve completely “reversed their position and provided ethnicity updates to both V3 and V4 chip testers.” It’s a shame that they haven’t been upfront about these changes.

  29. I just got off the phone because I was looking for raw data on a specific marker. Customer service told me it was only available via the v5 chip, not the v4 which I have.

    I asked her point blank, So you’re penalized for kind of having joined early and gotten your results? Her answer (direct quote): “Yes sir, that’s correct.”

    Wow. I definitely don’t feel well taken care of after that.

  30. In January of this year 23andme offered the subscription for $10. I was not interested in the 29.99 offer but 10 was agreeable. It will renew at regular price but I can cancel the sub if I want. 23 promotes for the additional health reports. I did it for the 5000 matches. You have to be on the v5 chip and paid for health to get this offer. Since 23 is the second largest db of testers I was also interested to see the match list. I had tested with v3 and had sent out invites so my list was about 4k and went down to 6cm. The new list 5k list did not go down to 6cm but it did pick up a lot of new matches in the 20-30cm range. I hope in the future you might consider this option and then write about it because you are more thorough in your review than I would be. If the purpose is to get more matches this might be something to consider and 23 shows who you triangulate with. Most testers opt in to sharing but I just send out invites and have added 500 new matches in 6 months past the 5k limit.

      • it came to me as an sales offer. You had to be on v5 and paid for health to get it. Not sure if you had to be in usa. I do not know if they offered to all v5 testers or just a subgroup. I had to click on a button. I think it was only offered for a short period of time.

      • the offer may have been for a short period of time, like a week. I think I saw a fb post about it. So I logged on and saw it on my account. I do not think they sent an email. So for those that do not log on that often they could have missed it.

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