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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pseaton (author) 29 days ago

There have been a lot of comments on this thread to the effect of "I miss the app, please bring it back"... unfortunately, that's not something that's really in anyone's power anymore. Neither Android nor iOS would be accepted at this point (outdated code), and there aren't any resources to bring them back into the fray.

Maybe I could help you make the website mobile-friendly, or what we called Responsive Websites. That would be an honor.

pseaton (author)  imjeffparedes15 days ago
Hello! There's a team that works hard on the website, mobile and otherwise. Some of Instructables (see the contest page, for example) actually _are_ responsive in the sense that it's the same code served to desktop and mobile. But for many pages (like the instructable page) it was determined that the functional difference between desktop and mobile was more than we'd want to account for with a pure-responsive design, so we went for two separate versions.

In any case I've since moved on from Instructables so I can't really speak to it directly.... but reach out to service@ with some suggestions, and see what they say!
ke4mcl17 days ago

I've got to chime back in on this one...

Last night I told my students the app was gone, They will have to resort to using the online version via their phones. They are building some items off the website as their class project. The response was exactly what I expected.. negative. The app was simple and uncluttered, the webpage via is smartphone is not.

I have lots of love and respect for the crew at instructables but this has got to be one of the poorest decisions I've seen on any of the geek sites I visit.

We don't all carry the latest and greatest phone in our pocket. In one decision instructables has alienated a big chunk of users. Sure the website still works but no longer can one spend a few leisurely minutes here and there surfing the app while killing some time. The website via smartphone is tedious.

I was hoping to have all my students access the projects via phones and save on paper. After what I saw last night as they tried... it looks like I'll be burning through a ream of paper on the printer.

pseaton (author)  ke4mcl16 days ago

Hey there.... just a heads up that I'm no longer part of the Instructables team at HQ (though the community will be a part of me forever!) so ... take my words with a grain of salt BUT, did your students try using the mobile website while logged in? I believe a lot of the cruddy mobile browsing experience may come from advertising (the code for which is surprisingly heavy and slow on many phones), but since Instructables doesn't show ads to logged in users, the experience may be better that way. Just something to try.

I'm really sorry your students are struggling. That's the last thing we wanted to do -- we just frankly weren't able to maintain all the platforms at once with our little skeleton team!

ke4mcl18 days ago

extremely dissapointed in this decision to kill the app.

Have you ever heard about hybrid apps? Why not we import the mobile web version into app. I think it is possible. Not all browsers are reliable. If possible I can contribute in recreating the app. (I am the who suggest the mobile version way back 2009).

discostu9565 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

Agree. I want the app back.

Do a google search and you should be able to find the App to download from somewhere else. https://www.google.com/?safe=active&ssui=on#safe=strict&q=instructables.com+android+app

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