Uber is the latest popular app to bail out the Apple Watch


Uber quietly shut down its Apple Watch app, with the software now displaying a message asking users to “switch to the Uber mobile app.” The company “no longer supports the Apple Watch app,” according to the text, which ends with Uber apologizing for any inconvenience caused by the app shutdown. There is also a sad face emoji to bring that feeling home.

As noted by MacRumors, Uber has not yet removed the Apple Watch app from its App Store List, where it still gets its own tab and its own screenshots. Presumably, this will all be history once the company releases its next update to the iOS app. The edge contacted Uber for more details, and if I had to guess, the company will likely cite low usage as the main reason for its Apple Watch release.

Uber’s Apple Watch app offered basic ridesharing functionality.
Image: Uber

On the one hand, this is another example of smartwatches continuing to take down apps – even ones that are massively popular and essential on a phone – that are not at the heart of their condition monitoring goals. physical, notifications, music playback and more. I’ve had Uber installed on my Apple Watch for a long time, and I don’t think there’s been a single time I’ve flagged down a ride from my wrist.

Uber ended support for its WearOS app over two years ago, so it’s not as if Google’s platform is doing much better with user engagement. Lyft has been out of this game since 2018. Maybe that’s a case where the form factor just doesn’t match the service.

The Apple Watch app offered simple navigation functionality, with more advanced options such as fare sharing and sharing an ETA reserved for the full mobile app.

Apple has already promoted Uber for the Apple Watch.
Image: Apple

But it also shows that in some ways smartwatches are only moving further and further away from being able to serve as a standalone smartphone add-on, even temporarily. Maybe hardly anyone has taken advantage of Uber on the Apple Watch, but the fact that it doesn’t exist on the platform anymore seems remarkable.

Want to leave your phone at home for the day and rely on your cellular Apple Watch? You can no longer flag an Uber in this scenario. And this is a use case that Apple itself has already highlighted, as you can see above.

Uber continues to offer its main app for iPhone and a larger version for iPad.


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