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Community Member

Limitations and Functionality of Canvas App (iPad/Android)

[EDIT:  @kona  reply is very useful. There appears to be discussions of this type already happening.]

I am trying to figure out what to expect from the app version of Canvas (particularly for the iPad, but also for Android devices). Should I expect full functionality on theses apps? If not, then what niche purpose do they serve for instructors? The screen on my iPad is big enough to use Canvas through Safari, but it is very slow and cumbersome. The app however, does not allow editing or displaying groups, adding calendar events, does not display my university's images (in the People tab), and many other secondary, yet helpful features. Maybe I just don't know to use the app.

Nonetheless, I would be interested in hearing what others' expectations are for these apps? Should I get my hopes up for full functionality or just use the web version. Another way of asking this is, what do you (instructors) use the app version of Canvas for?


11 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

For a question like this I'd recommend checking out the Canvas Mobile Users​ group --> I'm also going to share your question with the group so they can lend their expertise and experience.

Community Member

 @kona  Ah, I didn't know such a group existed. I clearly need to check this out first. Thanks for sharing/reposting to that group.

I still think the question is relevant here as well because it bridges the gap between Canvas and devices.



Hi,  @jkm249 ​! First,  @kona ​ is absolutely correct. The Canvas Mobile Users​ are some pretty rad people. Plenty of help should come from within there. Take a look through some of the discussions that have already taken place as I'm sure this question has come up before.

Second, in short, no, do not expect full functionality. In my opinion (read this as nothing official), this is because it isn't developed yet and also because you interact with a mobile device completely differently than you do a computer. With that said, this is where the Community is so awesome that we can begin to gather ideas, learn from each other, and begin conversations with Canvas and say "I want to be able to do X on my device, and I see it happening this way."

In the meantime, here are a couple of things to checkout:

Canvas by Instructure iOS Guide

09.20.16 Open Discussion Notes (While maybe not relevant to this current topic, I wanted to provide this to you. We had a CMUG (Canvas Mobile Users Group) meeting yesterday and these are the notes that came out of it. We work better as a community!)

Those are my .02. I will let the faculty and instructional designers chime in as to how best use the app as an instructor!

One more thing! The Teacher app is rumored (maybe in development?!?). Check out those discussion notes as it is mentioned! Still maybe not "full functionality", but possibly some hope!?

Thanks  @kenneth_rogers ​ and  @kona ​. I found some lively discussions happening at the users group!

Community Coach
Community Coach

It does not have the same functionalities as users have on the browser, but I find it to be helpful nonetheless. As a teacher, I use the Canvas App on my iPad for in-class presentations or for checking assignment or module information. I also appreciate how I can see a list of the students who have submitted from each assignment.

In the ​ at InstructureCon, the roadmap was unveiled. Plans included a new teacher app. This teacher app would include more teacher-focused tools. Big things are coming with the Teacher App. (According to rumors, it will launch some time in 2017...) Also see: Canvas Mobile Teacher Wishlist! As a teacher, which features would make your mobile life easier?

As  @kenneth_rogers ​ mentioned, Canvas Mobile Users​ has lots of ongoing discussions. We'd love to have more people join in.

Here are a few other resources to check out...

What can't instructors do on an iPad?

What Features Do Teachers Want in Canvas Mobile?

Faculty Feature List for Canvas Mobile


Community Member

Instructure needs to make the Canvas Mobile Teacher App do everything the web site does! In the words of Captain Picard, "make it so!"

Make it so!

 @matthew_seibert , I noticed that you've posted this as a feature idea, and that you were advised to participate in the Canvas Teacher app beta testing. If you're interested in providing feedback on the development of the new Teacher App, you can ask to become part of that process by filling out the Google Form on the left side of this page.