Google updates on iPhone return w/ Gmail, Search, & Maps

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 4/19: Google Photos today saw its first update since December. Version 5.38 does not have any user-facing changes and just includes “bug fixes and performance improvements.” Meanwhile, Google Assistant was also recently updated.

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Update 4/12: Last week, Chrome for iOS saw a bug fixer after going without an update since November. Other notable releases in the past month include Google Drive and Classroom, which got a faster homepage and new commenting experience.

Meanwhile, Google Maps was updated today to version 5.65 from 5.58 released on December 1. There are no obvious changes with this update.

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 It follows a bug where iPhone owners encountered a “This app is out of date” message when attempting to sign in with a new Google Account.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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