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Instagram nixes native Apple Watch app, citing death of watchOS 1 SDK

With its latest iOS update, Facebook's Instagram has also killed its native Apple Watch app, once used to showcase the first-generation Watch that launched in 2015.

The native Watch app was created using the watchOS 1 SDK, which Apple is no longer supporting as of Apr. 1, Instagram explained in a comment to French site iPhoneAddict. Rather than rebuild it for watchOS 4, Instagram appears to have decided to scrap development entirely.

Watch owners will instead have to rely on push notifications, losing the ability to browse feeds from their wrist. The watchOS app should disappear after installing version 39 of Instagram for the iPhone.

Instagram's presence on the Watch has always been controversial. The wearable doesn't have any cameras, and its small screen makes it impossible to see photos in much detail.

Many developers have abandoned native apps for the Watch, some of the bigger examples being Amazon, eBay, and the Google Maps team. As with Instagram, native Watch support can sometimes be redundant, offering few features that go beyond notifications.

Google has promised to bring back a native Maps app. That's more likely to be useful, offering an alternative to Apple Maps and possible sync with Google Maps on other platforms.