It took the better part of a year, but HBO Max’s app should (hopefully) be more pleasant to use. Warner Bros. Discovery has finished rolling out its redesigned app on desktop, Android and iOS, delivering a more intuitive interface, a performance boost and some arguably overdue features. It finally supports tablets in both portrait and vertical modes, for instance. You’ll also find a dedicated video download page, split-screen support, SharePlay (on Apple devices in the US) and a shuffle button on mobile.
The move ends a long and painful saga. In its haste to launch HBO Max, WarnerMedia based the original app on the same foundations as its aging Go and Now apps. The result was, frankly, a mess — it was buggy, sluggish and otherwise less polished than software from competing services. While the new app won’t persuade you to subscribe on its own, it could reduce any skittishness.
The timing is less than ideal. Warner Bros. just recently confirmed that it’s merging HBO Max and Discovery+ into one service next summer. The app you see today won’t last long. With that said, the redesign promises a better starting point for the new platform.