At the tail end of the year 2021, Google is moving their iOS apps away from Material Design and toward UIKit. This means that Apple’s basic building blocks for iOS will be used for Google apps on the platform rather than Google’s own. This could mean some elements in Google apps on iOS will change – but some of the most important and distinctive elements will remain the same.
Nothing you know and love about Google apps on iOS will change in any major way – at least, not at first. According to Jeff Verkoeyen, Apple platforms design chief at Google, this change will mean “Simplification, while still affording distinction where it matters.”
Verkoeyen suggested that evaluating a move from Google’s own custom elements to those of UIKit (by Apple) started at the beginning of the year 2021. As such, the transition will likely have been relatively unnoticeable by the average user.
The best part about this switch is effectively the best part of any software development kit – the most generic bits are already coded, so attention can be focused on elements that’ll make the developer’s end product more distinct.
The move took a big step this month as the public Material Components for iOS repository was put in “maintenance mode”. You can find the MCD Github right now with the “In maintenance mode” tag attached. It’s likely this repo will see major changes at great speed through the end of the year.
You’ll likely soon start to see Google apps adopt Apple UI elements – but only if you’re looking VERY closely. In all likelihood, the changes will be minor – and the functionality of the apps will be basically identical to what they are today. If what Verkoeyen suggests is Google’s aim ends up being true, we can expect a more streamlined experience and the potential for faster updates in the future for Google apps of all sorts.