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Community Member

abandon the ipad app - Just a thought?

As the IT Manager of a College of over 1000 students and a BYO notebook and ipad programs running now for several years I think that through out our last 18 months of canvas I have come to believe that any further development of the ipad app is a waste of development time and Canvas should move to refocus this precious resource to things that would make a difference.

The app is well behind the features of the browser capabilities and the user experience (which is the key to keeping them engaged) on the ipad with the app shows that the majority of students prefer using the browser

Utilising the browser on the ipad,

The user can experience the great efforts of customisation of the College branding.

Can access a lot more simpler integration with other applications such as office 365 - Onedrive and locating and uploading files.

You can concentrate on a single source of training documents.

features within the browser are easier to see, and get more from the product overall.

Teachers and students are aligned when different devices are in the same class and are able to use the same visual cues to move around the product.

Your thoughts are welcomed.

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27 Replies
Navigator II

 @matt_marcellino ​,

About all I can figure out on the iPad is how to play Candy Crush Saga, so convincing me of their uselessness won't take much. I was wondering if your comments would also apply to the iPhone and Android devices as well. In other words, is it a problem with apps in general or is it specific to the iPad?

When our college conducted a survey, tablets did not have a high adoption rate. I also had a student who started my class this summer using Firefox 3 (no, I didn't leave a digit off the end) and nothing would work right and she couldn't get through our mandatory orientation that relied on completing items in a module. Instead of updating the browser, she decided she would run the class from her iPhone, which had an old unsupported version of iOS on it as well. The iPhone app worked for some things but definitely not for others. It seems that iPhone development would be similar to iPad development and if you're going to have one you might as well have both.

But then I don't really use either. I use the iPad every now and then to see what it will do because I know what it does is supposed through the API and so if I'm trying to figure out something with the API, I might double check it against what the iPad app does. Granted, that's not enough reason to keep developing an iPad app.

I wonder if the iPad adoption is higher among K-12. Perhaps they have a different story as to why its development should continue.

I do know that having a free mobile app was one of the selling points of Canvas as it came at a time when others wanted you to pay or was limited to Sprint users. Everyone thinks they need to have an app for that, but how many people really use them for Canvas?

I would suppose that Canvas has looked at app usage vs browser usage.

Update after Ryan's post: I missed the correction later on the page. Sorry  @rseilham ​. Your video did a good job of showing how mobile use is on the rise.

They have already made decisions not to support some other things because very few people are using them. Another post back in June mentioned (not from an Instructure employee) that the

Canvas App was almost pulled, but provided no reason: 

There are some Q&A from a talk by  @rseilham  September:  There is also a link to the archived webinar that Ryan gave in September,

Community Coach
Community Coach

I want to clear up my statement above " Another post back in June mentioned (not from an Instructure employee) that the Canvas App was almost pulled, but provided no reason:"

There is an error in this statement on my end (I corrected it on the page). Canvas has NEVER told me that they were considering pulling the Canvas Mobile app. This was in reference to the Canvas Polls app, not the main Canvas Mobile app. The Canvas Mobile app is their clear priority and will exist and get better over time.

I've updated my original post. Thanks for pointing that out Ryan.

Community Coach
Community Coach


I hope Instructure chooses not to pull Polls. It is a worthwhile app, but it is also a dead end right now. If polls could be accessed through a browser, linked to Canvas test banks, and report to the grade book, it would be super awesome. Now, it just floats in space and is disconnected from the rest of Canvas. It should be integrated, not discontinued.

I think what users like about the canvas app is that they can push 1 button and they are in.     typically, users will have to launch the browser app, then navigate to canvas and then login, etc.

i think if you created a shortcut to canvas in safari, or puffin, or whatever, and put the canvas logo as the shortcut icon, your users wouldn't know the difference.

Community Member

Hi this is Henry and I just wanted to say hello and as for the ipad app:

make every thing user friendly.

Community Team
Community Team

 @matt_marcellino , since your prompt invites open-ended discussion about the subject, and since no one answer can conceivably be marked as definitively "correct," I'm going to change this question to a discussion.

Community Member

I'm a big believer in giving users choice. Some individuals would prefer the app and others prefer the web. Let them choose instead of us choosing for them. In the hybrid master's program where I work, we issue our students iPads. While I don't have the data to prove it, my observation has been that most prefer the app.Yes-there are improvements to be made to the iOS app, but they are coming. I hope Instructure continues to support the app.