Microsoft is Killing Sway on iOS

Posted on August 22, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Office 365, Mobile, iOS with 15 Comments

Microsoft quietly revealed this week that it is “retiring” its Sway app on iOS and is directing users to the web app version instead. Does this indicate that Sway is on its way out?

“With this change, we’re consolidating our Sway experience,” Microsoft’s Sabrina Mohamed wrote in a forum post. “Sway online provides the same, most up-to-date feature set across platforms and devices. All Sways that you have created or edited on Sway for iOS will continue to exist, and you access them on Sway online.”

Existing users will be able to stick with the iOS app version of Sway until December 17, 2018. After that date, the app will stop working, Microsoft says.

Microsoft announced Sway in late 2014, and it said that the service would initially be served by web and iOS apps, with Android and Windows phone to follow soon thereafter. That Android app version never did appear, though Microsoft later created a Windows 10 native app for the service.

For the uninitiated, Sway was conceived as a new cloud-based way for users to share media and information with others. It was created as a sort-of replacement for PowerPoint, and initially targeted education and other collaborative scenarios. It was added to Office 365 in May 2015 and ported to the iPad too.

But Sway’s biggest impact will be a secret to most: It enabled its users to hit a “remix” button at any time, causing the app to restructure an entire sway into a new layout and design. This functionality, infamously, was later announced as a promised standalone Windows 10 app called Story Remix, which Microsoft ultimately never delivered. Instead, it added this functionality to the Windows 10 Photos app, starting in late 2017. So in some ways, the core of Sway should continue forward, even if the app disappears.


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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Microsoft is Killing Sway on iOS”

  1. red.radar

    I tried using sway for a non linear presentation/ and one with dashboards . I couldn’t figure it out...

    i like to integrate interactive dashboards into my presentations but PowerPoint is just a flat bitmap... so looking for something else...

    experimented with Tableau and just plain HTML/CSS

  2. wolters

    I think they should have let Sway interact with Microsoft's former So.Cl. I actually liked So.Cl as it was a neat middle ground between Facebook and Instagram. Alas, yes, another neat Microsoft idea gone...

  3. Siv

    I think you typo'd the "swap" for "sway" in the first para!

  4. skane2600

    You could use the same argument to kill UWP apps for Windows 10: "X online provides the same, most up-to-date feature set across platforms and devices" as the UWP version.

  5. DocPaul

    I'm a huge fan of Sway and used it for most of my presentations in residency.

  6. nicholas_kathrein

    I'd bet there is such a tiny % of people using this app that someone has said "no mos". I use google photos instead of this.

  7. kdjones74

    I learned that Microsoft spent resources last year to have Sway be HIPPA compliant (among other certifications), so I'd be surprised if they were planning to shut it down soon.

  8. KingPCGeek

    If a tree falls in the forest ....

  9. drprw

    Sway is awesome for those of us who teach. Students love it when they discover it. Unfortunately, hardly anyone knows about it.

  10. bfarkas

    Sway is a huge piece of their educational work. It’s not going anywhere. As an avid swayer, I make several a week for work and personal life, I never use the iOS app, it was not worth it. Always used the web or windows 10 app.

  11. bigfire

    I love the concept of Sway, but I didn't have enough control over how things were presented (i.e., I'd want to hold off the equivalent of the next slide, and Sway would have it lurking on the edge to distract from the point I was making). I took a run at it a few times and gave up and went back to Powerpoint.

  12. Winner

    And it sways away...

  13. SvenJ

    Well, that likely won't impact many. I imagine there aren't that many iOS Sway users. On iOS though, if it isn't an app, it doesn't exist, so no app, no users (on iOS).

  14. robinwilson16

    I found Sway worked well for tutorials and guides but people always wanted to be able to print them so I had to revert to other options. Checking now it does look like they added the option to print late last year but I had already moved to other options by then.

    Maybe they could re-purpose it as a tool for designing responsive websites as I think that would be a good use case for it especially as elements load in as you scroll.