“Narwhal is not going anywhere on July 1st,” Narwhal developer Rick Harrison, who goes by det0ur on Reddit, wrote in a post on the r/getnarwhal subreddit. “It will continue to operate as it has for many years (except it will not have ads anymore).” A lot of popular apps are shutting down because their developers can’t pay the potentially exorbitant API pricing, won’t be allowed to include ads in their apps, and due to the removal of sexually explicit content.
Subscriptions will probably cost between $3 and $7
However, Narwhal will be changing down the line. “Over the next few months,” Harrison said, he will add subscriptions as part of “Narwal 2” to cover the new costs for using Reddit’s API. The subscriptions will “likely” cost between $4 to $7 per month.
For fans of Narwhal, the update should come as a relief — especially given that Harrison was not as optimistic about the app’s future at the beginning of this month. In an email to The Verge, he shared more details about how he will be keeping the app alive.
“The main thing that changed between the beginning of June and now is mostly coming to terms with the changes,” Harrison says. “Narwhal is going through massive changes in order to continue.” Harrison confirmed that every user will be required to have a subscription to use the app, though there will “likely” be a thirty to sixty-minute trial when you first download the app. He added that Narwhal 2 represents a “complete rewrite,” with an updated design and new functionality.
As for costs, they will scale “per user, so I don’t technically need any,” Harrison says. And he plans to measure API calls per user over the next few weeks to help figure out the final subscription price. However, Harrison declined to answer if he had worked out some kind of deal with Reddit. I’ve asked Reddit the same question and will update if I hear back. (If he did, he would be the first non-accessibility-focused app I’m aware of that’s come to an arrangement with Reddit; the developers of Apollo and RIF have both pushed back on Reddit’s claims that they did not want to work with the company.)
Narwhal isn’t the only app that will hang around. The developer of MultiTab for Reddit said that they are increasing the price of the app’s subscriptions to $2.99 per month or $6.99 per year. A couple weeks ago, the developer of the Android app Infinity for Reddit said they planned to make it a subscription-only app, and they reiterated that was the plan in a DM conversation with The Verge on Thursday. They estimate the subscription will cost $3, but also said that if things don’t work out and the app has to be removed from Google Play, users will be able to get it from GitHub.
Even though there will be a handful of third-party options, the loss of mainstays like Apollo and RIF will be a blow to longtime users of those apps. Depending on when you read this, however, you may have just a bit more time to be able to use them. Apollo developer Christian Selig tells The Verge he plans to turn things off for the app a few hours before July 1st. RIF developer Andrew Shu plans to disable the app after 11:59PM PT on June 30th.
Update June 29th, 5:02PM ET: Added context from the developers of Narwhal and Infinity.