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Facebook Messenger app for Apple Watch is going away after May 31st

No more responding to Messenger chats on your wrist.

Reuters/Beck Diefenbach

Say goodbye to another high-profile Apple Watch app. As MacRumors notes, Meta is telling Facebook Messenger users that the Apple Watch version will be unavailable after May 31st. While you'll still get message notifications beyond that point, you won't have the option to respond. Meta didn't provide an explanation in a statement to Engadget. Instead, it pointed users to Messenger on "iPhone, desktop and the web."

Meta (then Facebook) introduced Messenger for the Apple Watch in 2015. The app couldn't offer text responses, but you could send audio clips, stickers and similar smartwatch-friendly responses from your wrist. That made it helpful for quickly acknowledging a message without reaching for your iPhone.

There are a few factors that may play a role. To start, the limited interaction hurt the app's appeal. That may have affected its potential audience. Meta is also laying off roughly 10,000 employees and refocusing its efforts in a bid to cut costs. That means cutting less essential projects, and it's safe to presume Messenger for Apple Watch wasn't a top priority.

Numerous well-known companies have dropped their Apple Watch apps over the years. Meta scrapped its wrist-worn Instagram app in 2018. Slack, Twitter, Uber and others have also ditched their wearable clients. In many cases, developers left due to either a lack of demand or a lack of necessity — there's not much point to a native smartwatch app if you'll likely pick up your phone regardless.

Apple may be aware of this. Rumors suggest watchOS 10 may be redesigned around widgets. Apps might stick around, but the emphasis could be on quick-glance information rather than navigating apps on a tiny screen. Even if you use Messenger for Apple Watch now, there might not be as much incentive to use it going forward.