ChemDraw, Chem3D dropped from iOS App store

☹️ I missed this one back in January, but I could sense it was coming. CambridgeSoft have dropped the iOS apps ChemDraw, Chem3D, and CDSL from the App Store. (admittedly I hadn’t heard of the last one at all). Together with this, the “Flick2Share” feature has been killed off. I never really used Flick2Share but it seems that PE are putting all their efforts in the sharing space into the updated ChemDraw Cloud, which I also haven’t really used yet. I hope to get around to fully evaluating ChemDraw Cloud at some point and reviewing it here.


ChemDraw, Chem3D, CDSL iOS Announcement © Cambridgesoft / Perkin-Elmer

I’m sad that the iOS apps are gone, particularly ChemDraw. I like the ability to quickly share structures to social media, particularly seeing as the desktop versions struggle to easily produce GIFs that retain resolution in web browsers, especially  on Twitter, and in 3rd Party Twitter clients,

[Update 2 March] However, if you have downloaded the apps to your iPad they will continue to function. Testing this morning on my rapidly ageing iPad3 the last-downloaded versions (ChemDraw 2.01, Chem3D 2.02) worked OK, except that on startup you may see an oblique message to the effect that “a sharing option could not be enabled”. I forgot to screenshot it but I presume this means Flick2Share.


So here is a summary of what still works. ChemDraw:

  1. Drawing, editing, saving, and (some) exporting of structures
  2. Save picture to Camera Roll
  3. Dropbox export (PDF, PNG, CDXML) works fine as previously
  4. Twitter export
  5. Export via email

What doesn’t work:

  1. Flick2Share



Twitter sharing in ChemDraw for iPad still works


Chem3D was always a somewhat limited product compared to the desktop version, and never gained any additional features after my original mini review. This limitation was somewhat compensated for by virtue of being free. Importing structures could only be done through iTunes or downloaded protein structures from the PDB. Chem3d for iPad is a viewer application only. There are no molecular mechanics options available at all, and analysis options are few. But after a brief test the list of what works and what doesn’t is as follows:

  1. Viewing and importing of structures from the PDB
  2. Save picture to Camera Roll
  3. Twitter export
  4. Email export

What doesn’t work:

  1. Flick2Share
  2. Dropbox Export
Chem3D Twitter export also still works.

Chem3D Twitter export also still works.

Actually I don’t recall Dropbox export ever working for Chem3D, whereas it works fine for ChemDraw. As of this morning choosing Dropbox as the export function simply flips you out to the Dropbox app, if installed, to the default root directory listing page, and no option to name the file or specify a location. It just sits there until you go back to Chem3D. Nothing is ever written to Dropbox. Personally I have always preferred Pymol for visualising proteins for use online and in print,  so the loss of Chem3D for iPad isn’t as big of a deal for me as ChemDraw.

I was happy to pay around $10 for ChemDraw when it came out so I’m disappointed that it’s been abruptly dropped. It’s a peculiar strategy for CambridgeSoft/PE who evidently see ChemDraw Cloud as the future, particularly as everyone else in the app space seems to be trying to drive people away from web services and onto apps. Witness the endless pop-ups in Safari on every other web page imploring you to download and view their content in their app. An annoying UI “feature” that I earnestly implore Apple to kill ASAP.

When these apps originally appeared I saw them as principally teaching tools, given the reduced set of features and lower price point. With tablets becoming common in schools I saw possibilities for teachers and students flicking structures back and forth in pop quizzes  etc. A few people have contacted me wondering about this too, but I have absolutely no idea of what the uptake of this was in schools. Obviously PE has that information and made a business decision to drop it. I’m not yet convinced that ChemDraw Cloud is going to fit that school usage demographic either. In it’s current form its seems placed more towards the higher, content creation end of the user spectrum.

About martin

almost on holidays
This entry was posted in Chem, ChemDraw, Chem_Comp, iPad, tablet, Twitter and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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