The Facebook Messenger app for Apple Watch will be discontinued at the end of this month.
As reported by Macrumors, several Apple Watch users have received a notification informing them that from May 31, “Messenger won’t be available as an Apple Watch app.” However, beyond that date, it will still be possible to receive messages on the popular smartwatch, but users will be unable to reply directly from their wearable device.
NOT HAPPY @Apple @messenger #applewatch #wtf pic.twitter.com/B81aK6EUf3May 9, 2023
A representative for Meta (Facebook’s parent company) told Reviewgeek that: "People can still receive Messenger notifications on their Apple Watch when paired, but starting at the end of May they will no longer be able to respond from their watch. But they can continue using Messenger on their iPhone, desktop and the web.”
Messenger arrived on Apple Watch in 2015 and in its current form allows users to reply to messages with an audio clip, sticker or “like." It’s not possible to respond with text, but it’s still pretty convenient to be able to quickly acknowledge a message or give a rudimentary reply without having to open the full-featured flagship smartphone app.
The exact reason for the discontinuation of Messenger’s Apple Watch app hasn’t been explained, but lack of interest is almost certainly a factor. The limitations on responses noted above may not have helped in this regard. The incoming watchOS 10 update could also be a significant factor. It’s rumored the next Apple Watch update will focus on reinventing interactive widgets and shift the smartwatch operating system away from dedicated apps. Perhaps Meta is just getting ahead of the curve by nixing Messenger’s Apple Watch app on its own terms.
Messenger isn’t the first Meta-owned platform to ditch the Apple Watch either. The Instagram app for wearables was dropped in 2018, and several more high-profile applications have fallen by the wayside in recent years. These include Twitter, Slack, Hulu, Target and Uber. It would appear the Apple Watch user base that makes use of dedicated apps is just not big enough to sustain the development resources necessary to keep these apps functional.
It seems unlikely that this news will disappoint a particularly larger group of Apple Watch users. But if you happen to be a heavy Messenger user who enjoys being able to reply to messages directly from your smartwatch, you’ve only got a few more weeks before you’ll need to find an alternative method of replying to friends, family and colleagues.