Meta didn’t say why it’s removing the native Messenger app for Apple Watch in June, but serving you ads might have something to do with it.
- Some Messenger users confirmed getting a message that the Apple Watch app will be canned after May 31 of this year.
- Following the removal, users will still be able to receive Messenger notifications on their wrists, but the ability to reply to messages will be removed.
Facebook Messenger for Apple Watch getting nixed
Some Messenger users received a message from the app informing them of the upcoming change. “After May 31st, Messenger won’t be available as an Apple Watch app, but you can still use Messenger notifications on your watch,” it reads.
Meta has confirmed this change in a statement given to Reviewgeek:
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.
The spokesperson also confirmed that the app will be removed “at the beginning of June,” not at the “end of May.” Meta is also testing bringing Messenger back to the mainland Facebook app.
Our take: A deliberate move to boost ad revenue
This is a disappointing move because Messenger for Apple Watch is a pretty usable watchOS app. Responding to messages via your watch without opening the iPhone app has always been very convenient.
Perhaps this is why Meta is removing the Apple Watch app—to force people to spend more minutes on the mobile app and the Messenger website, where they can be monetized via advertising? That sounds like a plausible explanation.
NOT HAPPY @Apple @messenger #applewatch #wtf pic.twitter.com/B81aK6EUf3
— Amanda Nova (@M_anda_M) May 9, 2023
It would be easy to blame this decision on the fact that other popular apps nixed their Apple Watch versions due to low engagement. However, the growing antagonism between Apple and Meta over things like advertising, tracking and AR/VR devices may have also played a part in this decision.
Messenger for xrOS, anyone?
Apple is holding its developer conference in June, where it will preview changes coming to its software platforms and, hopefully, introduce the new xrOS operating system powering its upcoming extended-reality headset.
Apple’s headset is said to run iPad apps with little or no modification. The company will also provide tools for third-party developers to port their apps to this platform.
Messaging is among alleged use cases for an Apple headset, so it will be interesting seeing whether Meta will bring Facebook to the headset.