Native iOS and Android App Retirement Answered
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!