Native iOS and Android App Retirement

Hello Community!

In an ongoing effort to make sure that Instructables is able to focus its product development efforts where they count most for existing an new authors, we are officially retiring our native iOS and Android apps. Note that this does not affect mobile web. I expect continued investment in mobile technologies for years to come, but we will focus on the experience of people using Instructables through their mobile web browsers, rather than through downloaded apps.

For those keeping score, this isn't exactly news. We have not released new versions of either app in over two years, and they have become steadily buggier and buggier during that time due primarily to changes in their respective environments. Android 2 and iOS 5 were current when we released them originally, and Android 7 and iOS 10 are very different beasts. Simply keeping up -- even without adding anything new or fixing any bugs -- requires a constant investment of development time from Instructables, and prevents that time from going to projects with greater impact.

The original purposes for the apps were:
1) To lower the bar to Instructables authorship by providing direct access to upload photos taken on smart phones
2) To improve the browsing experience by making it faster

Since they were released, mobile technologies have progressed to the point that #1 is no longer a concern. Our mobile web editor already has full support for uploading images directly from your phone. #2 is also coming into striking distance soon, as browser manufacturers begin to standardize their implementation of offline content for mobile web sites, sometimes referred to collectively as "progressive web apps". We'll be watching these technologies closely, and we'll be among the first to speed up your browsing experience with offline components when cross-browser solutions become available. We have already developed (and will continue to expand on) Accelerated Mobile Pages, which mean we display nearly instantaneously when you tap an AMP result on mobile from Google. You can identify these pages via a lightning bolt in mobile search results:

In short, the reasons that we developed the native apps no longer apply, and we're dropping support for them in favor of putting those energies where they are able to have greater impact for the community: Mobile Web. The apps will soon be removed from sale from their respective download stores.

For existing users who have downloaded these apps and are using them currently: feel free to continue doing so, though we would urge you to upload your Instructable Drafts to the website as soon as possible. While we don't expect the editing process to break, no support is available should you experience issues in the future. You can also use the apps to browse Instructables, though I believe there are already some issues that have started adding friction to this experience.

Thanks, all, for your continued support of our vibrant community!


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christa6276 days ago

I have an old Android device (can't afford a new one), and the mobile version looks pretty bad for me.

One problem I have is that whenever I click an Instructable, I have to stop the loading before the images appear, otherwise the image in the intro covers up the text. Sometimes I have to try a few times before I can stop it in time. Then, after I read the intro, I refresh the page to load the images. The ones in the steps don't cover the text, that only happens with the intro. That's why I really prefer the app (though that may be partly due to the fact that my device is about the same age as the app, and thus more compatible). Is there any way you could make it so the images in the intro are handled the same way as the images in the steps, so they don't cover the text?

Another issue is that the contest page always loads really huge, and if I don't wait for it to load completely before I touch it, I'm not able to zoom out, and have to refresh the page. If I view one of the contests and then click the back button, the contests page automatically scrolls down to where it was, but the page is huge and I can't zoom out, and then I have to refresh the page again. Don't know whether it's possible to do anything about that.

I understand that glitches are par for the course when working from an outdated device, but I'm pretty stuck with it, so if you can do anything to make the site a little bit less horrible for older Android browsers, I would appreciate it! If you can't, I understand.

tjdux7 days ago

how can I export my drafts from the app now that its no longer supported? Also it would have been nice to receive some notification in the app itself being i only used the app.... i now have 5 ibles that i cant do anything with.

If you still have the original pictures, can you copy and paste the text?


Robot_geek9 days ago

The mobile app experience was outstanding. The mobile app made it so much easier to browse projects rather than just browsing the mobile net. If you guys can upload a new version of the app to the play store it would be really helpful. So please reconsider the fact and bring the app back soon. We all loved the app.

I agree. I still use the app for browsing since the mobile site is hard to use on my phone.

would you guys reconsider bringing the app back? The mobile site is such a hassle to use and many users liked when the application was available to them rather than having to reload& scroll

kfarrell522 days ago

I'm with Macrr and discostu956 here, the "mobile" site keeps coming up as the full site and is extremely frustrating to navigate on my phone. And to answer the obvious question, no I do not have the box checked to "Request desktop site." This is the main reason I do that come to the website just to browse like I used to for ideas. I will only come if I have a specific link, then leave. I miss the app, though I understand why it's gone. I just wish the mobile site actually worked with chrome. I have a relatively new phone running Android 7.0, and I haven't had any recent updates. Please advise.

Macrr25 days ago

Can anyone tell me why when i go to your home page on my android device running chrome, it shows as full webpage? Its annoying scrolling left and right, zooming in and out. Even writing this, i have to scroll around everywhere.

If the pages showed as regular mobile pages (similar to the app that was pulled) user experience would be enhance, and people would stay.

Is this being looked into or even consisered?

discostu9562 months ago

Hi Phil. Thought I would post again as you haven't replied to my previous comments.

It seems that its the desktop version showing when I view on my phone. I'm using Android, and browser is Chrome. Is there any reason why its not showing up on my mobile like you said it should be for mobile interfaces? Should I try a change in browser, or is there something on the instructables end that doesn't like chrome, android or similar and nothing I can do myself?

I'm finding it a big struggle to use as it showing currently when viewing recent instructables. It seems the actual instructables I view are showing more reasonably, but still not like it was on the app, which was just simple. This may be because I'm still viewing desk top version of the site rather than mobile. I liked that all photos were there in the app at thumbnail size, no need to click on more images, and that the whole instructable loaded up without needing to click on view all steps.

For the record, my use of the app was purely for viewing, not for publishing instructables.

Can you maybe direct me to where the issue might be?

discostu9563 months ago

My app stopped working mid comment this morning (android) so I deleted and went to reinstall from play store. Was surprised it wasn't there, leading me to here.

I really liked the app, it was simple and uncluttered and I could browse it while grabbing a

coffee. I did use it for uploading photos, with most editing done on computer. I guess I'm turning into the phone user I never wanted to be-use it for everything and only use computer when I have to. I just don't find the time to sit down at computer unless I have to these days. Probably my most used app.

I'll give the mobile interface a go. Try and work out a desktop shortcut. As for seeing ads, I wish I didn't have to, but I know you guys have to get something for your efforts with the site, and a small price to pay for what is a great community

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