YouTube for iPhone no longer has an iMessage app after Google silently removed it in a recent update

Youtube on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

YouTube is generally one of the most popular apps in the App Store and it's easy to see why. The video streaming service is home to some of the most popular creators on the planet and Shorts has helped stem the tide of creatives moving to TikTok. But while the YouTube iPhone app is popular, there's one facet of it that you might not even know about. And if you did, you've probably forgotten that it ever existed. Now, it doesn't.

That facet is YouTube's iMessage app, a feature that was added years ago and brought some of the core YouTube video functionality to the Messages app on the iPhone and iPad. And while YouTube will probably never share details on how often that iMessage app was used, it's unlikely that it was a whole lot. Now, YouTube appears to have removed its iMessage app from the latest version of its iPhone and iPad app, and it's done so silently to boot.

That means that anyone who downloads YouTube from the App Store today or updates the version that's already installed, will not have access to the iMessage app. But whether or not that's a big deal is a matter for debate. The bigger question surrounds the iMessage App Store in general and whether we might see other apps remove support in the future, too.

The forgotten iMessage app

The loss of the YouTube iMessage app was first reported by 9to5Mac, although YouTube didn't make it obvious. While the latest version of the YouTube app removed the iMessage app, that isn't something that you would glean from the release notes. Instead, they simply share that the new update includes bug fixes and performance improvements.

That, of course, means we don't know whether YouTube removed its iMessage app on purpose or if this is nothing more than a bug — in which case it will likely reappear in a future update.

The YouTube iMessage app itself was one that brought enhanced functionality to the Messages app and allowed people to find and send videos as an iMessage without leaving the app first. It also meant that people could watch content using the native YouTube video player from within the Messages app as well. Those two features might not have been a huge draw for users, however. It has been around since the end of 2017, but again, usage numbers are unknown outside of YouTube and parent company Google.

The what store?

You wouldn't be alone reading this and wondering what the iMessage App Store actually is. If I'm being honest, I'd forgotten it was a thing as well. But it very much is, and Apple has its own webpage dedicated to it. It does a good job of describing the idea behind iMessage apps, saying that "with iMessage apps, you can collaborate with others in a conversation, decorate messages with stickers, share a song, and more — without leaving Messages."

In reality, you probably use these apps without realizing it. Photos, Apple Cash, and others found in the Messages app drawer are all apps of this ilk provided by Apple as a default. But whether or not you've added any of your own is another matter entirely. You can, of course, and it's likely that some of the apps you already use have installed iMessage apps without you realizing.

One app you won't find there is YouTube, but we'll find out soon enough whether that was by design or accident.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • EdwinG
    I don’t remember using YouTube’s iMessage app, ever.
  • Just_Me_D
    EdwinG said:
    I don’t remember using YouTube’s iMessage app, ever.

    Same here. In fact, I don’t even know it had an “iMessage app” associated with it. WOW!
  • Annie_M
    I guess you can't miss something that you never knew about! :ROFLMAO:
  • Wotchered
    I had never seen that,why would I have needed it ?