Tuned, Meta's social app for couples, is winding down a little over two years after it launched. Users including this reporter began receiving a notification about the impending shutdown last week, advising them to download their data before September 19, when the app will cease to work.
Tuned was a project under Meta's New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, which was originally formed to build consumer-facing apps that would allow Meta to test out new features and gauge people's reactions. Launched in the early months of the pandemic, Tuned was positioned as a way for couples to stay in touch and engaged, with messaging features and quizzes designed to let them share how they're feeling, what they're up to, and milestones they're anticipating.
Tuned allowed users to exchange notes, photos and videos, challenges, voice messages, notes and lists, and music via a Spotify integration. They could set their respective moods, and — for more intimate content — choose a password or a blur filter. A “check-in” feature nudged couples to suss out their feelings about the relationship in any given moment, with prompts to add context.
“With Tuned, you can capture and react to artifacts of your relationship digitally, creating a shared scrapbook for these memorable moments that you and your partner can easily scroll through and reminisce on,” Meta wrote in a blog post published April 2020. “Send photo snapshots, notes, cards, voice memos and more, without broadcasting to the world or fear of messaging the wrong person.”
Tuned was remarkable for its relative lack of tie-ins to Meta products like Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook Dating — and that might've been its downfall. According to Craig Chapple, a mobile insights strategist at app analytics firm Sensor Tower, Tuned was only downloaded around 909,000 times across the Apple App Store and Google Play.
But other factors were likely at play. Tuned had competition in better-established social couple apps like Between and Couply, and the NPE team recently pivoted to a new model less focused on developing apps itself. As my colleague Sarah Perez wrote late last year, NPE has adjusted its strategy to include making seed-stage investments in small, entrepreneurial teams, including startups based outside of the U.S.
On the other hand, it's not unusual for NPE to shutter experiments quickly — the team's projects are sometimes less fully-fledged products and more data collection vehicles for Meta's various platforms. Just within the past few years, NPE has debuted speed dating app Sparked, meme creator Whale, personal project app Hobbi, conversational app Bump, music app Aux, Apple Watch app Kit, audio calling app CatchUp, collaborative music app Collab, live event companion Venue, and predictions app Forecast. Beyond Tuned (for now), the only apps still available in the U.S. on iOS are Move and BARS; Tuned is the only app from NPE on Android in the U.S.
Meta didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.