Google updates on iPhone return with Gmail, Calendar, Drive

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Bhawani Singh
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At the start of last month, Google started to release new iOS versions of the YouTube family of applications following a long, unspecified pause. Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, and other apps were updated today in a seeming return to normal for iPhone and iPad owners. 

Update 3/14: Since the start of March, Google updates have continued rolling out. Notable releases in the past two weeks include Google Duo, Meet — new Tile view, Voice, and Ads.

The latest update is to the Google app. Released on Sunday evening (PT), this application is home to Search, the Discover feed, and visual Google Lens lookups. Release notes for version 149.0 (from 137.2 on December 5, 2020) are quite generic:

Bug fixes and performance improvements.

We fixed user-reported issues and added new features to provide a better search experience.

Original 3/1: Over the past few weeks, YouTube and YouTube Music have seen a handful of patches. Last Friday, Google Podcast got a new version, and Monday sees a trio of big iPhone updates: Google Calendar, Gmail, and Docs/Sheets/Slides. 

For the email app, it’s the first new update since December 1. Release notes for version 6.0.210124 only specify “bug fixes and performance improvements.” It follows a bug where iPhone owners encountered a “This app is out of date” message when attempting to sign in with a new Google Account.

The changelogs for these other productivity clients are similarly vague. All the updates today feature App Privacy details, though they were added sometime before these new versions. Some originally speculated that the lack of updates were due to Apple’s nutrition labels, but — whatever the reason — this was not a normal winter holiday pause as app development continued on the Android side.

Drive was last updated in December, along with Google Search, Photos, and Maps. These apps still lack privacy labels. Meanwhile, Chrome remains on version 87 even as 88 rolled out 41 days ago to all other platforms. The next browser update is set to launch later this week.

That said, the lack of new app versions has not impacted feature rollouts given how Google frequently leverages server-side updates.

Desktop release iOS update Difference
78 Oct 22, 2019 Oct 22, 2019 None
79 Dec 10, 2019 Dec 10, 2019 None
80 Feb 4, 2020 Feb 5, 2020 +1
81 Mar 17, 2020 Apr 7, 2020 COVID + delay
82 Skipped ~ ~
83 May 19, 2020 May 21, 2020 +2
84 Jul 14, 2020 Jul 14, 2020 None
85 Aug 25, 2020 Aug 25, 2020 None
86 Oct 6, 2020 Sep 30, 2020 -7
87 Nov 17, 2020 Nov 18, 2020 +1
88 Jan 19, 2021 +41

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