The WordPress App vs The JetPack App

WordPress is Blue,
JetPack is Green,
There’s no other Difference,
That I have Seen.

-The TL:DR of this post

I have been getting notifications from about their new JetPack mobile app.  I generally ignore notifications from them because their usual modus operandi is to launch some new feature that breaks functionality and then inform people about it after they are already pissed off.

Also, in the WordPress ecosystem, JetPack refers to a few things, often for self-hosted blogs, and a mobile app isn’t one of them.  But WordPress kept persisting, sending me emails about the new app.

Aywren also wrote a post about WordPress hawking this strange app change.

I say “strange” because in the WordPress news post about it they seemed to make it pretty clear that they were moving to a two app solution, with the WordPress app for some things and the JetPack app for others.  From that post:

  • The WordPress app will focus on WordPress’ core functionality. If you’re looking for the essential tools you need to publish on the go, with support for offline editing and the ability to upload media straight from your phone’s camera roll, then this may be the app for you.
  • The Jetpack app is the premium mobile publishing experience for our super-connected world. With it, you’ll get all the essential tools that come with the WordPress app, plus a suite of features for growing your site. Track the performance of your content with Stats, get notified about comments and reactions with Notifications, and discover content and join communities with the Reader. Whether you’re new to publishing on the Internet or a seasoned veteran, have a WordPress site already or want to start a new one — download the Jetpack app today for a great set of tools to start or grow!

So, the WordPress app is for publishing posts… or will be just for publishing posts… and the JetPack app will be for… more stuff.  Maybe.  There is a lot of excited marketing language in there that doesn’t really say anything.

Also, when WordPress uses the word “premium” they usually mean “this costs money.”

But I generally use the WordPress app to look at stats, approve comments, and to access the WordPress Reader, so I figured I had better download it in order to compare them and at least see what I was getting into.

Here is the old WordPress app, looking at the monthly stats.

Bask in its blueness

That is the landscape mode view on my iPad.  I mention this because I live in some bizarro world where I mostly use my tablet in landscape mode and people look at me like I am insane.

Then there is the JetPack app.

How green are my stats?

The most substantial difference seems to be that the JetPack app uses green as its primary highlight color, while the WordPress app uses blue.  And that green is not an improvement.

There are a couple of other minor differences.  In the WordPress app there is a banner at the bottom nagging me to download the JetPack app, while in the JetPack app there is a side bar item telling me to delete the WordPress app.

I ignored that second item because, in my mind, if WordPress is building two apps to do different things, why wouldn’t I keep both?  But the JetPack app is serious about this whole “you must slay my predecessor!” routine.

The day after I installed the JetPack app I got an email from them pressing the whole “delete the damn WordPress app” issue.

If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to delete the WordPress app. Managing your site or creating content with both apps isn’t currently supported, but you’ll find everything you need in the Jetpack app.

Indeed, the JetPack app is practically indistinguishable from the WordPress app, save for highlight color choice.

So why change at all?  That email goes on to explain that they are going to yank features from the old app soon.

Curious about the differences between the Jetpack and WordPress apps? Your favorite Jetpack-powered features from the WordPress app – like Stats, Notifications, and the Reader – have a new home: the Jetpack app you just switched to! These features will soon be removed from the WordPress app. With the Jetpack app, you’ll keep the same focus on publishing as the WordPress app plus the tools you need to grow your site and audience.

Once again, why bother deleting the old.  That email also assures me they have “transferred all of your data and settings over from the WordPress app,” and indeed, I did not have to do any setup or config, the new app just worked.

However, I suspect that “transferred” is being used in a disingenuous way.  I suspect that that both apps are just using the same data files and when they start yanking features out for the old app, it might break the new one.

And none of this really explains why they didn’t just use the old app as the foundation for what they plan to do going forward.  They already had an installed base and it is very hard to get users to shift like this.  I did it because I am probably more engaged than the average user, and I still dawdled for at least a month and really only made the change on a whim.

But that seems to be the action plan.  If there is a smart way and a dumb way to do something, they will almost always favor the dumb.


14 thoughts on “The WordPress App vs The JetPack App

  1. Bhagpuss

    I use my tablet in Landscape, too. Why would anyone not? For that matter, I use my phone in Landscape a lot of the time, too. I do accept that might be a little eccentric.


  2. Ula

    How shall I say this in a comment. . . . Devs contributing to the WordPress code base over the years have described a toxic environment at times. There have been disagreements resulting in well-known unpaid contributors exiting the project, etc. Emotions sometimes run high, from what I’ve seen. I haven’t worked with WP for a while now, and I don’t know exactly what’s going on with this mobile app thing, but I suspect there is ongoing disagreement about how intertwined Automattic’s profit-generating work should be with the free, open-source core.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Renata Tarnay

    I downloaded the Jetpack app and said a sad goodbye to the old WP app. I like the old WP logo a lot and hate the new JP one. I don’t know why they’ve chosen to subdue their own name. I also resent how pushy they were about this, but I did it because I do have to keep up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. davekay

    I keep getting reminders on my phone to switch every time I open the app. I also use the phone app to check stats and interact with commenters, so I don’t expect to switch unless the current app stops letting me do that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Blockade85

    I switched apps on my phone, since that’s where I do all my writing for my site. But, I haven’t noticed much difference between the two, other than a couple extra buttons that don’t really do anything, and that it’s green.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ruo Ruo

    In any case, is there a possibility that all blogs might be lost? 🤔
    I lost my back up last time and haven’t made new one yet.
    I use JetPack now as it keeps on popping on WordPress to use it. 🤷

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aywren Sojourner

    This is so weird. Like you, I’m not sure why they put the time, manpower and money towards a new app when they already had one that was widely adopted. Then the new app tells you to ditch the old?

    Appreciate your comparisons and insights since I haven’t had either app installed due to moving off WordPress. I just use the web version to keep up with blogs and reader.

    Also, another landscape tablet user!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Staggered Desires

    I don’t understand this move at all… like why would they strip reader, stats, and notifications from WordPress?!

    This reminds me of the Netflix password sharing rule that the company had to go back on a few weeks into implementing… convenience is king, but these companies don’t seem to get that

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kirkhsmith

    I switched my phone app last night to Jetpack since they said notifications and stats would not be supported on the WP mobile app after March 8th, but what about my laptop? Is that a different thing? Can I just keep using WordPress there as I always have?


  10. Wolf's Gaming Blog

    Awesome to see someone putting this into words.

    I was genuinely baffled when I download the Jetpack app and….it was the same. What? What was the point?

    I typically do my writing on the browser version anyway, but it’s still a strange situation. Why get rid of a WordPress app and replace it with Jetpack? Why would you not want a WordPress site to be controlled from a WordPress app?

    So far as I can tell, WordPress haven’t provided any explanation.


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