Google is transitioning its iOS apps away from Material Design and toward UIKit at the end of 2021. This means that Google apps on iOS will be built using Apple’s basic building blocks rather than Google’s own. As a result, some elements in Google apps on iOS may change, but some of the most essential and distinguishing features will remain the same.
Nothing about Google apps on iOS will change in any significant way – at least not at first. Instead, this change will mean “simplification while still affording distinction where it matters,” according to Jeff Verkoeyen, Apple platforms design chief at Google.
Verkoeyen suggested that a transition from Google’s custom elements to UIKit (by Apple) should begin in the first quarter of 2021. As a result, the change will most likely go unnoticed by the average user.
The best part about this switch is that it is effectively the best part of any software development kit – the most generic bits have already been coded, allowing the developer’s attention to be focused on elements that will distinguish the developer’s end product.
The public Material Components for iOS repository was put in “maintenance mode” earlier this month, signalling a significant step forward. Right now, the MCD Github has the tag “In maintenance mode” attached to it. This repo will likely undergo significant changes at a rapid pace until the end of the year.
Google apps will most likely adopt Apple UI elements shortly – but only if you look closely. Most likely, the changes will be minor, and the apps’ functionality will remain essentially the same as it is now. However, if Verkoeyen’s prediction of Google’s goal is correct, we can expect a more streamlined experience and the possibility of faster updates for Google apps in the future.