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

Popular Stories

Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
iOS 18 on iPhone Feature

Everything New in iOS 18 Beta 2

Monday June 24, 2024 12:52 pm PDT by
Apple today released the second betas of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to developers, and the software adds support for new features that Apple is working on, plus it tweaks some of the interface changes that have been made in the updates. Apple will refine iOS 18 over the course of the next few months, with multiple changes and refinements expected from now until September. We've highlighted...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
amazon echo dot

Amazon Could Charge Up to $10/Month for Alexa

Friday June 21, 2024 2:55 pm PDT by
Apple competitor Amazon is working on a revamp of its Alexa assistant, and the new version could cost up to $10 per month, according to a report from Reuters. The upcoming version of Alexa will support conversational generative AI, and Amazon is planning for two tiers of service. There will be a free tier and a second, premium tier that is priced at $5 at a minimum, with Amazon considering...
top stories 22jun2024

Top Stories: Apple Watch X Rumors, New Final Cut App for iPhone, and More

Saturday June 22, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
The avalanche of news coming out of WWDC earlier this month is finally starting to slow, but that doesn't mean there wasn't still lots to talk about in Apple news and rumors this week. This week saw some additional rumors about the upcoming Apple Watch models, the release of major Final Cut Pro updates, the launch of Apple's annual Back to School promo in the U.S. and Canada, new...

Top Rated Comments

orbital~debris Avatar
35 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
35 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
35 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
35 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
35 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
35 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)