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This article was published on July 5, 2017


Skype’s new mobile app is being annihilated by reviewers — and I’m on their side

Skype’s new mobile app is being annihilated by reviewers — and I’m on their side
Rachel Kaser
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Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

Skype recently updated its mobile app with several new features, attempting to stay relevant to the Snapchat generation. Judging by the reviews, it may have been misguided — because users (or at least reviewers) loathe this new version of the app. Having been forced to use it myself, I can see why.

The star rating for the new version of the app tanked hard following this update. Currently, it’s sitting at one-and-a-half stars in the App Store. Titles for the reviews encapsulate user feelings pretty accurately: “New update makes no sense,” “Hate it,” “Worst update yet,” and my favorite, “It got worse.” Google Play retains the app’s overall higher score, but the post-update reviews are almost all 1- or 2-stars.

The consensus, based on these reviews, seems to be that no one was looking for yet another social media app-cum-Snapchat clone. In addition to complaints about the new reaction features and Stories — sorry, “Highlights” — users are also confused by the new layout.

Several mention not being able to set themselves to “invisible,” and having trouble finding the call buttons. Another frequent irritation was not being able to see the status of anyone in the main layout — you have to check their feed and scroll all the way down the screen to see whether they are “Active now” or “Last seen X ago.”

I’m with the consensus on this one. I mostly use Skype these days as a catch-all video and texting app for my friends overseas. I prefer it to be as uncomplicated as possible. And the new iteration of Skype is frankly hideous. All the icons next to my unread messages are washed out in fuchsia, and the little reactions buttons are going so unused I keep hoping they’ll atrophy and fall off. To top it all off, I sometimes don’t get notifications until hours after messages are sent to me.

My colleague Napier Lopez quoted Skype Corporate VP Amritansh Raghav as saying these updates are things Skype users have apparently been asking for. Whoever was satisfied by this, it certainly wasn’t the users leaving review scores online.