Google Apps for iOS to Switch to UIKit After Decade of Material Design

Google is winding down its Material Design custom UI for iOS apps to switch to pure UIKit, according to Google's design chief for Apple platforms Jeff Verkoeyen.

Google apps isolated
Google's suite of apps for iOS and iPadOS, including Gmail, Google Maps, Google Photos, Google Drive, and YouTube, have used custom user interfaces that mirror the experience on Android for almost a decade. The purpose of these Material Design guidelines was to unify software design as much as possible across desktop, mobile, and the web for a consistent experience.

In a recent Twitter thread, Jeff Verkoeyen explained that going forward, Google will switch to using the design of UIKit, Apple's framework for building interfaces in iPhone and iPad apps. Verkoeyen said that previously UIKit was not viable due to "gaps" in its design language, but a side effect of this was "drifting further and further from Apple platform fundamentals because those fundaments were also evolving year over year." The issue has also been complained about by some users who have felt that using Google's iOS apps offers a jarring and inconsistent experience with the rest of the OS.

With iOS 14 onwards, Google believes that UIKit's design has sufficiently improved to use it widely in its iOS and iPadOS apps. Since the start of 2021, Google's design team for Apple platforms "began a deep evaluation of what it means to build a hallmark Google experience on Apple platforms by critically evaluating the space of "utility" vs key brand moments, and the components needed to achieve either."

Users can expect to see far fewer custom components in Google apps, with elements such as switches, bars, controls, lists, and menus changing to Apple's system designs. The result should be Google iOS and iPadOS apps that look and feel much more native.

There will still be some of "the highlights of Google's design language," but married to "the best of UIKit." The "new direction" will "really make products feel great on Apple platforms," Verkoeyen commented. Google is also currently hiring designers for its Apple development team amid the change.

Tags: Google, UIKit

Top Rated Comments

orbital~debris Avatar
31 months ago
I seriously hope this change of tack means Google will re-write their YouTube app for tvOS and make it work like Apple's TV app.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anshuvorty Avatar
31 months ago
I guess Google's designers just got tired of supporting non-native interfaces using Apple's dev tools and decided that it is just easier to develop and support UI's that are native to the dev tools and the OS...WHO KNEW?!?!??!
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dwaite Avatar
31 months ago

Oh so arrogant.

Meanwhile Apple doesn’t appear on other platforms. If they would, their software would be 100% Apple styled and just as out of place. Just look at the last living attempt: iTunes on Windows.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apple.android.music&hl=en_US&gl=US
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Textime Avatar
31 months ago

With iOS 14 onwards, Google believes that UIKit has sufficiently improved to use it widely in its iOS and iPadOS apps
Says the student to the teacher..
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
827538 Avatar
31 months ago
I’ve removed Google from my life but I’m glad to see this is happening. Google’s UI always felt off on iOS. I’m really not much of a fan of anything Google does.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Orange Bat Avatar
31 months ago
I’ve develop on both iOS and Android, and I never understood Google’s desire to make iOS look like Google/Android apps. That’s not how good UI works. You should make the app fit the system, not adjust the system to your app. It instantly makes dedicated users of iOS more confused because your app doesn’t work like other iOS apps.

Also, I bet the Google iOS developers have been pushing this for a long, long time. UIKit will make it much easier to develop and design apps and app updates. While creating your own design on iOS isn’t difficult, UIKit simplifies it nearly 10 fold.

(But no SwiftUI love? With iOS 15 it’s matured enough to finally begin a switch over.)
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
samsung galaxy ring

'Apple Ring' Allegedly in Development to Rival Samsung Galaxy Ring

Tuesday February 20, 2024 2:27 am PST by
Apple is speeding up development of a smart ring that can be worn on the finger to track users' health biometrics, claims a new report coming out of Korea. Teaser image of Samsung Galaxy Ring shown at Galaxy Unpacked in January Apple has toyed with the idea of a ring wearable for several years, as indicated by several patents, but with Samsung preparing to bring its own product to market, the ...
volvo s60 drivers apple maps

iOS 17.4 Beta Adds CarPlay Option to Show Upcoming Maneuvers in Instrument Cluster

Tuesday February 20, 2024 10:47 am PST by
The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 that Apple released today adds a new CarPlay feature, according to the notes that Apple provided to developers. In supported CarPlay vehicles, there's now an Apple Maps option to show information about upcoming maneuvers in the instrument cluster. CarPlay users will be able to swap the display type between the main and instrument cluster by tapping on the map...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...
m3 macbook pro 14 16

Apple Now Selling Refurbished M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro Models

Monday February 19, 2024 5:04 pm PST by
Apple today began offering refurbished versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3 Pro and M3 Max chip options, offering the machines at a discount for the first time since their October 2023 release. The release of M3 Pro and M3 Max models on Apple's refurbished store comes almost two weeks after the entry-level 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro first appeared on the store....