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Microsoft is retiring Photosynth panoramic apps for Windows Phone and iOS

On a day where we gain one 360° solution, we lose another. For those who love Microsoft's panoramic photography app Photosynth, we have some bad news. Microsoft is evidently retiring the apps for both iOS and Windows Phone (it never made it to Android) and the apps will eventually be removed from both stores.

Photosynth.net will, however, remain, so users are encouraged to upload their creations to keep them.

In a post on the Photosynth website, Microsoft states:

"We are doing this because the new Photosynth Preview technology and its cloud processing is a more immersive way to capture a place than the spherical panoramas that our apps produce."

If you have the Photosynth app installed, you can keep it and still use it. However, since the app is no longer supported, any issues the crop up won't be fixed going forward.

The Photosynth app for Windows Phone was last updated this past April to support new Facebook APIs.

Photosynth was a fascinating app although Microsoft never did much to push the technology into the mainstream. It is not obvious if Microsoft will bring back the technology in mobile form anytime soon, which is a shame.

Download Photosynth for Windows Phone (while you can)

Source: Photosynth.net; Thanks, mininv, for the tip

QR: photosynth

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

136 Comments
  • That's a terrible news .... I loved the app
  • Its not available for me from now itself :(
  • I went in to download the installation files but sadly it isn't available
  • Here is a link to the xap file: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=FCB87A78E6C49979!117970&authkey=!AB7LY6V5CXmO840&ithint=file%2cxap It can be installed with an SD card.
  • Much obliged!
     
  • Did you just download it from the store?  If so, it won't work unless the store issues a device-specific key to you when you try to install it.
  • Awwww poor windows phone users, don't worry windows 10 will change everything..all hail nadella and his greatness :P
  • WP has been dead and WM10 is DOA.
  • you are dreaming , go to bed
  • I knew that Nadella was going to be a problem for consumers but never thought that he was going to be this much troubles.
  • yupe. The new CEO is no more an ass kissing, kissing share holders ass! He is officially an ass licker! He is probably thinking - with it i bet share holders wont be upset when my bonus is increased by another 50%.
  • Ewww you guys!
  • Last one to get out, please turn the lights off
  • It sounds like the CURRENT PhotoSynth app is being discontinued and they are focusing on the NEW PhotoSynth Preview service.  So maybe it's not really discontinued?  Or maybe only the APPs are discontinued and the web service (which is way better) will still run?
  • The web service is better no doubt.... But you cant carry it anywhere and everywhere.
    I am really not impressed with ms now. Have been a firm lover of Ms till now but don't know what the future withholds.
    Sad to hear news about ms shutting down four beautiful apps
  • That's how I read it
  • Instead of providing an updated preview version of photosynth, microsoft is just ditching the app... This app had made windows phone to stand out till now... And this is what it gets in return... Its time to raise voices against it... Head to uservoice guys...
  • Are they killing off i.c.e. aswell
  • Insert sad face here.
  • We're doomed
  • So which facility replaces this? Another app?
  • The web service :)   That won't be closing.
  • Have you used Photosynth Preview? It's excellent and works with phone because Html-5.
  • No. What is it?
  • Looks to be completely web-based, which sucks :( I wonder if use will be reliant on having a good cell connection. I'm all for improvements to Photosynth but would prefer a stand alone app than a web service.
  • That's unfortunate for us Windows Phone fans. Is there a good alternative? At least on iOS Google has an app called Photo Sphere which does the same. 
  • One of a kind app. Could just leave it in the store though.
  • "The new Photosynth Preview technology and its cloud processing is a more immersive way to capture a place".   Could someone elaborate on this? Is it an available preview?
  • With the web based app, you take a series of photos like you would have with the app and upload them to the service. It will then create a synth, much cooler than what the app does. But... The app eliminated the need to use the website so it was convenient.
  • Well MS is already working to import the web apps to its Windows store in windows 10. Maybe we will get it on that..
  • The preview is really awesome. Looks more like a real 3d representation of the world. I just hope they'll quickly make an app for it.
  • Loved this app when I was traveling to capture the landscape. I hope so hey bake something for panoramic captures in the camera software! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • What is MS doing... Destroying everything I love related to phones... First Nokia and now apps like Photosynth... It was so simple to use and take 360 degree images
  • Only the APP is being disconntinued.  They might be adding this feature into Camera app.  It doesn't make sense to maintain too many different apps that do similiar things.  There will most likely be new apps when the NEW Photosynth tech is out of preview: https://photosynth.net/preview
  • If that's the case (and I think you might be right based on past announcements) they have a really crappy way of communicating changes from one option to another. The other one that immediately comes to mind is the facebook api change. Guess what? My phone is still connected to the facebook calendar; I can still see facebook posts in my people hub under "what's new?" etc etc. Just because the api changed doesn't mean the function was completely gone. Here, too, I hope you are right that they are replacing the app with something that does the same function, maybe even better.
  • I don't use it that often, but when I do I love the outcomes. I can't believe they're removing though rather than just leaving it unsupported like some other apps. The store is now saying it's unavailable for my phone (despite already being installed) so must have been removed already. I'm gutted though as I would have loved to use this more often on the 1040 when it's finally released...
  • You'll still be able to use it when the new PhotoSynth comes out of Preview:  https://photosynth.net/preview
  • The article makes it sound as if Microsoft will be removing it for mobile devices altogether, unless there is one in the works for Win10. But still wouldn't explain why they'd get rid of the iOS version.
  • That app can be better in future if will be updated... Hope MS add panorama to camera app like on android.
  • Never used it anyway :3
  • SHAME, SHAME, SHAME.
  • "We are doing this because the new Photosynth Preview technology and its cloud processing is a more immersive way to capture a place than the spherical panoramas that our apps produce."
  • Not shame... it's good news!  Getting leaner and meaner! A new app will come later when the new tech is out of preview:  https://photosynth.net/preview
  • Next: three MSN apps are discontinued. And I love all of three! ;( ;( ;(
  • Yes, i just saw these are being removed as well This is really a bummer as  use them all! :(
  • Meh they don't offer that much.  2 of them you can access just as well on the website.  And Health & Fitness already has a better app "Microsoft Health" which is way better at tracking.  It's better this way.
  • We can hope for an updated app when the new tech will be out of preview.
  • "[B]ecause the new Photosynth Preview technology and its cloud processing is a more immersive way to capture a place". What does this mean? Photosynth is going away or a new version is coming out? Photosynth was such a cool app that I admittedly didn't use as much as I would've liked to (it just takes too long to capture a good one).
  • It means the CURRENT app is being discontinued, but the Preview web service will still run and be improved.  There will most likely be a new app once that technology is out of Preview.
  • They probably just laid off the team that supported it.
  • Might b. :(
  • That's worse.
  • The beta store has it still showing if you're on windows 10
  • Nooooooooooooooo
  • How did this differ from Lumia Panorama?
  • This creates a full sphere, not just a panoramic image. Really was amazing technology
  • Such a shame. Used it more than any other camera app. Will keep it on my device, but I assume I wipe my device/get a new one with 10. How disappointing.
  • Meh don't worry.  You' can still use the web service. And there will most likely be a new app once the new service comes out of Preview. https://photosynth.net/preview
  • Yeah but with the web service YOU have to manually take all the pictures and make sure you have sufficient overlap to make it work. Also the pictures now are only in a flat plane. You can no longer take synths like this (and, face it, without that third dimension this would have lost all of it's purpose).
  • That pic is horrific!  They decapitated that poor little boy!
  • I predict that something is coming that is closely linked to their hyperlapse technology... Not the current hyperlapse app, but the cloud stitching/processing tech that we got a preview of a number of months ago... EDIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA4Za3Hv6ng
  • Mmm..... How about creating an app which takes 360 degree image of an object ? Reverse of photosynth
  • I believe the website will.do this. I don't remember for sure though.
  • Yes, it does. And other kind of panoramic images too.
  • Whoa..... I loved that app
  • This probably means MS has gone totally insane.... I just love this app and hearing that it'll be pulled down is really devastating for me.
  • No... read the article.  Only the current apps are being discontinued.  They will focus on the NEW PhotoSynth that's currently in Preview.  So there will most likely be a cooler app in the near future.
  • So there will most likely be a cooler app in the near future.
    But only for iOS and Android.
  • When I read the reviews of the app, I feel disappointed. :( The app has 4.6 rating. Near 5! Hope they wud bring it back.
  • The only pano app worth a damn being removed while the worthless lumia pano app stays. On an unrelated note seems like 2016 is going to be the year where I say goodbye to wp.
  • Well, windows 10 is around the corner. May wanna wait and see
  • Don't wait just switch now I'm moving to IOS which I hate but oh well.
  • Only the current ones are gone.  They are focusing on the newer PhotoSynth technology that you can test here: https://photosynth.net/preview
  • No no ,,. Hell no please ,,..
  • I truly loved the app ... :(
  • Don't be sad... it's not gone.  Only the CURRENT ones are gone.  The new ones will come later: https://photosynth.net/preview
  • Rip my favourite app. But in windows 8 is photosynth called " default camera app" :D :D so, i hope the same feature will be in W10Phone in default camera app too
  • Well, I hope they integrate this to windows camera on windows 10 mobile, or put it on hololens
  • I hope the new windows camera has a panorama mode inbuilt :\
  • Downloaded it yesterday on my new phone, luckily...
  • Close one *phew*,but make sure you don't soft or hard reset your phone.I lost my Nokia smart cam app in a similar process,still haven't found an alternative:(
  • Was late to WP. See how well it worked.
  • Good idea Microsoft.  Kill another app.  Way to stick to your guns.  In no time, they'll have destroyed everything, and the whole company will be Satya Nadella sitting in his office playing on his iPhone. Seriously though, they need to stop doing crap like this.  I loved the Zune program that I used with WP7.  Dead.  How many other apps and services have they dropped, or renamed and completely redone?  It seems like if something doesn't take off like they expect, they just rebrand it, which confuses the hell out of people.  Stick to a name, fix the issues, advertise and show people the great things they can do with the product or service you just dumped a bunch of money into developing.  MS needs to constantly evolve, but you also need to keep some stability.  If people just start getting used to something, and you kill it off, they're not likely to start using what you replaced it with, because they don't expect it to stay around.  Look at how many times Apple has changed the name of iTunes.  Oh wait....  Pick a name, stick with it, make continual improvements.  Why is this so hard for MS to get?  Nutella doesn't get this any more than Balmer did.
  • Did you actually read the article?  Only the CURRENT APPS are being discontinued.  The NEW (and better) PhotoSynth Preview is what they are focusing on.  There's no point in maintaining the old service anymore.  There will be new PhotoSynth apps once it comes out of Preview. https://photosynth.net/preview
  • Yes I read the article.  I thought about skimming the title, and going off all half-cocked for no reason, but decided to read it instead.  And I read nowhere in there about a new app coming out.  Just stopping support for the app, and saying that you should use the website now.  That's a step back.  Even if there's a mobile site, I don't want to have to burn up my data allotment for cloud computing, and rely on their servers.  If they're coming out with a newer APP also called Photosynth, fine, but the article doesn't say that.  And if it were the case, they should just keep supporting the current one with bug fixes, and then do a large update with the new programming for the app.  Don't kill off another app, piss people off, and then MAYBE come back out with it, with possibly another name.  People want stability, but with progress.  Microsoft is showing NO stability when it comes to mobile and apps, and haven't for a long time.  I hope they turn it around, because I would love a flagship running W10 for my next phone.  But crap like this makes me lose faith.
  • Nooooo.... :(
  • I just hope that after killing this app... They should be ready with the "NEW" photosynth app... & Publish it as beta ASAP... ​
  • At least you actually read the article :P  Most people here think it's gone for good lol
  • They are a mobile / cloud company right. They seem to be kicking the legs from underneath WP. I've been a fan of WP from the day it was released. If they have a replacement in mind they should release it prior to killing the old. The new chief needs to provide some sort of plan before even the guys who come here give up.
  • Nooooooooooooooooooo... Oh well :|
  • ​the app contained an old technology of Photo Synth and web service has a new 3D Photo Synth which is way better :)
  • I would think that if there is a cloud based service available, then ther maybe a lens for the default camera on its way that will allow you to upload and create a photosynth through the service.... I wouldn't give up just yet... but the news of the MSN apps being discontinued is somewhat troubling...
  • Nooooooo! Wait, what is Phytosynth preview??!!???
  • Just hope they dont get rid of Hyperlapse
  • Remove MS YouTube app from the Store. That should be done first.
  • Why????? Photosynth is one of the coolest things Microsoft has. This is a very very sad news.
  • We all should scream very loud a big NADELLA GO HOME!!!
  • Love this app. Love using it say when I go camping or traveling. It is so nice seeing the scenic places I've been and it's the next best thing to actually going back there. They'd better find a suitable replacement. And I WANT the spherical option, not just the 3D sliding panorama. That's called video! ...I've checked the photosynth site since this announcement and sure it's cool, but they need to keep it in app form!!!
  • Apparently "while you can" means before you finish reading the words :( Already gone.
  • As allways fuck this new awful ceo!!!
    Hope the board will kick out of ms this terrible ceo that is destroying ms!!
  • Why no please it is a great app !
  • Everyone tells us WP is lacking in shops and we say uh uh, look at these... And now the people who make WP are taking away those apps ... and we're supposed to be happy about this.
    I too am beginning to think f u Natella... You give up on WP and I will abandon all things Windows...I will see you begging for food on a street corner.
  • WTF
  • Have you actually tried to USE their web app?  It's horrible, slow and, of course, ISN'T on the PHONE.  Windows Phones are going away, there's not doubt in my mind.
  • More bad news!!!
  • +311
  • This blows...
  • Why is that stupid lock screen. beta app still there?? Neither updated, nor removed!
  • i will keep that app until my phone dies lol
  • Bad really bad news!!!!!!!, what's wrong with MS? They enjoy shortchanging their clients
  • who seriously still use this app? hypocrites! oh, you start to care for it now once it gone dead. you guys loved that app, right? loved. past tense. my guess is you prolly ditched it long time ago.
    ha! typical humans throwing tantrums over something irrelevant to them. could you be any more hypocrite, please? lol
  • I hope to heavens that their so-called Photosynth Preview is coming to Windows 10 Mobile, and will be better as they firmly stated.
  • Ok
  • So if your in the forest on a mountain top with no service, how can you use the web version? There's many instances this app has come in handy for me. Sad times, again.
  • Why they do that? That was my favorite app ? MSFT I hope u will have a better plans for that replacement
  • This was *the* app that made Microsoft cool again. Pity, shows how disconnected they are from their perception.
  • Okay, now I really hate Nadella.
  • How do we do panoramas in windows phone now?
  • I think you misspelled 'hamburger pictures'
  • Luckily I got this on my phone! A great app! TIP: Try using this with Tiny Planets PRO! Just take a panorama with every angle and put the image in Tiny Planets PRO app ;)
  • I hope they make an app from the microsoft research's image composite editor. That would be awesome. I must have used this app for over a decade, and its still getting better. Now would be the right time to swap this app with a universal I.C.E. app! Maybe integrate it with the Photos app (hint, hint!).
  • Sadly, I never used this app even though I have it installed. I'm sure I'm the reason why it's being discontinued.
  • Damn that sucks. I really liked Photosynth.
  • Why is MS discontinuing so many of their offerings?
  • This is really sad, it was a one of the nicest thing on Windows Phone. They should integrate the tech on future Lumia Camera or Microsoft Camera.
  • Why Microsoft; it is a good program, you throw it in the trash ! I will keep it forever !
  • OH NOOOOOO...!!!
  • Very bad news for best app.
  • OMG! This was one of my fav app for showing off the places I have visited to my buddies and its really fantastic to share the experience with a single link. Haven't ever thought that MS will ditch this!
  • Microsoft is the George R. R. Martin of apps. This app was one of my favourite apps now they are just taking it away. 
  • I get that the app is quite clever and good at what it does, but surely these days you would get a better result by just taking a video...
  • You can install last version manually and use it as long as you want. Just google "photosynth 1.9 repack", download xap file and deploy by xapdeploy.exe (part of Visual Studio).
    Pay attention on xap file – it should be repacked, you can check it by trying to open it using a zip archiver (it should open without errors).
    If you can't find repacked version, PM me – I have one. =)
  • can u give me one
  • yep, write your mail
  • pls email me,   sayimanohar@gmail.com 
  • hope we will get this app in win 10. we miss the best app. . . . . .