Instagram to unfollow Apple Watch as app support comes to an end

If you have Instagram on your Apple Watch, then look out. The media-sharing app will disappear from your wrist-based device with the latest iOS update of the software.

Instagram is the latest in a growing list of companies — including Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Whole Foods, and Google Maps — that have ended support for the Apple Watch version of their app.

Instagram’s smartwatch app was built using the original WatchOS 1 SDK, but Apple rendered this obsolete at the beginning of this month as it tries to push developers toward building native apps that will perform better on more recent iterations of the Apple Watch. Despite Apple warning companies about the change at the end of last year, Instagram neglected to update its app accordingly, causing it to disappear this week.

The loss probably won’t come as a huge surprise to those familiar with the Apple Watch’s Instagram app. After all, the Facebook-owned company clearly didn’t have much time for it, with most new features for the iPhone version failing to make it to the Apple Watch. Instagram videos wouldn’t play, for example, and direct messaging was absent.

Whether Instagram reworks its app for a second bash at the Apple Watch remains to be seen, but at this stage it doesn’t seem likely.

Instagram for Apple Watch lets you view the photos in your feed, react with emoji, and keep track of likes and comments, while the app’s glance view let you see the very latest pictures posted by those you follow. The biggest drawback, of course, was the size of the images on the display. In that case, the smartphone wins out when it comes to using Instagram, which is most probably a big part of  the reason why the company has ditched its Watch app. We’ve reached out to Instagram for an official word on why it has made the move and will update if we receive a response.

Does the apparent trend in the decline of big-name support for Apple Watch suggest the device is facing a crisis? Not at all. It just means that some apps aren’t really made for the smartwatch platform. Many wearers find it works best for things like notifications, fitness tracking, and news/weather updates — oh, and telling the time, too.

The Apple Watch debuted in 2015, with the third iteration launching in September 2017. Data released by research firm Canalys two months ago suggest sales of Apple’s smartwatch are ticking along nicely, with the company reportedly shipping 18 million of them in 2017, up 54 percent on a year earlier.

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