Google rolls out new updates to its Android apps like it’s nobody’s business. However, life is a bit different on the other side of the fence. In the last two months, the search engine giant hasn’t rolled out a single update to its major iOS apps. In fact, this update stall has been going on for so long that it even led to incidents of Google telling users that its own apps were out of date — even though there weren’t any new updates.
As reported by Techmeme editor Spencer Dailey, many iOS users this week received a pop-up message in Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Maps that warned them that they were using out of date apps.
You should update this app. The version you’re using doesn’t include the latest security features to keep you protected. Only continue if you understand the risks.
Google has since removed the message via a server update; however, it still hasn’t updated any of the above apps.
One of the likely reasons Google has stopped updating its iOS apps is perhaps due to Apple’s new App Store privacy labels. This new policy came into effect on 8 December and mandates iPhone and iPad app developers to disclose how they collect and handle user data in their app listing. Interestingly after December 8, Google hasn’t updated any of its major apps, including Gmail, Maps, Search, Chrome, Photos, Keep, and Home.
Here’s a table compiled by Ron Amadeo from Ars Technica that compares update frequency for major Google apps between Android and iOS.
As you can see in the table, Google’s Android apps have seen as many as 16 updates since December 8, 2020, while their iOS counterparts have not even received a single one.
Google had promised (via TechCrunch) last month that it would start rolling out new updates with privacy labels “as soon as this week or next week. “ Yet the company has so far only updated a handful of apps such as Stadia, Google Authenticator, and YouTube. It remains to be seen when the company will roll out new updates to its iOS apps with privacy labels.