Instagram Eliminates Apple Watch App

Instagram today became the latest company to ditch the Apple Watch, eliminating its Apple Watch app in an update that was released this morning.

In a statement given to French site iPhoneAddict, Instagram said the Instagram Apple Watch app was built using the watchOS 1 SDK, which was obsoleted by Apple on April 1. Rather than putting effort into rebuilding the app, Instagram has decided to end support for the wrist-worn device.

"The Instagram app for Apple Watch will no longer be available as a stand-alone experience once users upgrade to Instagram version 39 on iOS, released April 2, 2018. We are committed to providing users with the best experience with their Apple products and we will continue to explore ways to achieve this on all platforms. Users with an Apple Watch will continue to enjoy a great Instagram experience through various rich and varied notifications. "
Apple last year began notifying developers that Apple Watch apps need to be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later as of April 1, 2018. Apple first began requiring new apps to use the watchOS 2 SDK in June of 2016, and watchOS apps that continue to use the watchOS 1 SDK can no longer be updated. Apple now requires all new watchOS apps to be built using the watchOS 4 SDK.

Instagram has had a watchOS app available since 2015, and it was one of the first companies to support the Apple Watch when it first launched. The app was designed to let you view and like photos from the social network on your wrist. Instagram features will continue to be available on Apple Watch, but through notifications sent to a linked iPhone.

Instagram joins several other major companies that have abandoned development for the Apple Watch and eliminated their watchOS apps, including Twitter, Google Maps, Amazon, and eBay.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4, watchOS 5
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20 weeks ago
How about they focus on making an iPad app. It's 2018 . . . almost exactly 8 years after the iPad launched. I can't fathom a legitimate reason why one of the world's top-10 most valuable companies (Facebook) hasn't made an iPad app for, arguably, the most loved Social Media platform.
Rating: 25 Votes
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20 weeks ago
A photo sharing app for a watch wasn’t a very good idea to boot.
Rating: 22 Votes
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20 weeks ago

Right when I was thinking of buying one, a lot of companies are ditching it. Either people are not holding onto their Apple watches or they just really are not using the apps built for them. What gives?

Companies are starting to realize that every app doesn't fit the AW proposition. That's not saying anything negative about the AW. It's just a realization that AW works better as a notification device, a quick hit-n-run device... ya know, just like Apple said it was designed to be.

Most of the companies removing their AW apps probably shouldn't have had AW apps to begin with, imo. I mean seriously, who's going through pics on a ~1.5" screen?
Rating: 14 Votes
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20 weeks ago

Right when I was thinking of buying one, a lot of companies are ditching it. Either people are not holding onto their Apple watches or they just really are not using the apps built for them. What gives?


The apps that are dropping are impractical and slow. Apple Watch is still solid, there’s nothing that has been taken away that I miss. While, yes, there is still plenty of room for growth and innovation for watch apps. Apple also needs to open it up a bit more to developers, but I assume that’s all in due time.
Rating: 11 Votes
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20 weeks ago
And nothing of value was lost
Rating: 11 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Makes sense. It operated very slowly and wasn't useful at all.
Rating: 10 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Apps not centered around fitness/health, notifications, communications and day-to-day data glimpses need not a apply.
Rating: 7 Votes
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20 weeks ago

I guess this means that there won't be a camera in the next Apple Watch.

Cameras on wearables is a horrible idea. If people are taking photos, I want to know they’re taking a photo. That would open up a new can of successful voyeurism, i.e. locker rooms.
Rating: 6 Votes
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20 weeks ago

Right when I was thinking of buying one, a lot of companies are ditching it. Either people are not holding onto their Apple watches or they just really are not using the apps built for them. What gives?

It is really Apple's fault - they released a half-baked SDK with the first WatchOS, so people jumped on it, and put in resources to build apps. But they were terrible because they required a round trip connection to the phone for literally everything you see or touch. So the apps were bad, meaning nobody used them.

Then WatchOS 2 came out, and released with a new SDK that allowed for more processing to happen on the watch itself. Unfortunately this change meant apps had to be rewritten. At this point nobody was seeing any benefit from having a watch app, so they didn't want to waste developer resources on a platform that isn't going to bring any competitive advantage.

Basically a chicken and egg problem. The first WatchOS should have just had no apps until they could do it right.
Rating: 5 Votes
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20 weeks ago

Right when I was thinking of buying one, a lot of companies are ditching it. Either people are not holding onto their Apple watches or they just really are not using the apps built for them. What gives?

The watch wasn't meant to browse Instagram. It was meant for short interactions which IS NOT what social media is about today. Especially given how social media is all about monetizing the user (you). Its hard to monetize when theres no web browser for you to click all the annoying ads all over Instagram . Most people are loving their Apple watch but for things like quick notifications and exercise. Clearly Apple continues to sell millions of them quarterly.
Rating: 3 Votes
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