Development of Transmit for iOS Ended »

Cabel Sasser at Panic, announcing that their FTP client for iOS is coming to an end:

Transmit iOS made about $35k in revenue in the last year, representing a minuscule fraction of our overall 2017 app revenue. That’s not enough to cover even a half-time developer working on the app. And the app needs full-time work — we’d love to be adding all of the new protocols we added in Transmit 5, as well as some dream features, but the low revenue would render that effort a guaranteed money-loser. Also, paid upgrades are still a matter of great debate and discomfort in the iOS universe, so the normally logical idea of a paid “Transmit 2 for iOS” would be unlikely to help. Finally, the new Files app in iOS 10 overlaps a lot of file-management functionality Transmit provides, and feels like a more natural place for that functionality. It all leads to one hecka murky situation.

Was the use case for this app too edge-casey or advanced? Did we overestimate the amount of file management people want to do on a portable device? Should we have focused more on document viewing capabilities? Maybe all of the above?

Here’s David Sparks on the matter:

For a few years now Panic has made public statements about how little income they’re making off their pro-level iOS apps, and I really can’t blame them for pulling Transmit if it is losing them money.

What is even more upsetting is that an app of the calibre of Transmit for iOS is a financial failure and none of us are much surprised. There are so many iPads and iPhones out in the world. Granted not everyone will need a world-class file sharing app, but enough should need it that an app like Transmit for iOS can flourish.

Sparks goes on to discuss the App Store ecosystem and its possible role in Transmit’s demise, and I think he’s right. Mac software titles can — and do — demand higher prices than on iOS. Clearly in this case, that wasn’t sustainable.

At MacStories, John Voorhees took a more optimistic approach:

I’m sad to see Transmit go. It’s a loss for the platform, but I don’t think it’s a bad omen for ‘pro’ iOS productivity apps in general. Transmit failed to get the traction necessary to sustain its further development, but there are still many examples of productivity apps that have found success on the App Store. Hopefully, Panic will find a way to bring Transmit back to iOS one day.

With apologies to John, I can’t help but see this is a bad omen for the iOS productivity scene. An FTP client may not be as exciting as whatever the hot GTD app of the year may be, but it’s the type of app that signals stability. FTP clients are used by nerds, and I don’t think many nerds are using iOS as their primary devices.1

This certainly puts a real dent in some of my workflows. Every time I need to move an edited podcast from Dropbox to our host and I’m on the go, I’ve been able to do it with Transmit. There are other ways to get this done on iOS, but Panic’s way was the best. Losing best-in-class apps isn’t good for any platform.


  1. I am real close to two of them, but many of us still prefer the Mac. A lack of a super polished FTP app isn’t going to help things.