Google Marks Its Own iOS Apps 'Out Of Date' After Months Of Neglect

Google, this app is out of date

Apple has started giving users lots of information concerning how iOS apps are using their data.

The so-called "nutrition labels" feature was first announced back during WWDC 2020. But on November, Apple disclosed that all apps on iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS are required to provide the information for the labels, and they will have to be up to date and accurate every time a developer submits a new update.

Developers of apps should provide information needed for the labels starting December 8th, 2020.

Many developers were fairly quick to comply. They know that without the label, users will consider the app being outdated, and may risk in losing users. Even Facebook, which is definitely known for being the anti-user privacy, had complied to Apple's policy.

Google however, is not on the same boat.

Google hasn’t updated the vast majority of its iOS apps since December.

And in February, or two months after not updating many of its apps, those services are starting to show “This app is out of date” messages when users attempt to sign in.

Read: Apple's App Store Privacy Labels Let Users Know How Apps Use Their Data

The server-side pop-up message that is shown on many of Google's apps:

You should update this app. The version you’re using doesn’t include the latest security features to keep you protected. Only continue if you understand the risks.

The warning appears after users enter their email address in apps that have not seen an update since mid-December. These apps includes the Google app, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive and more.

Users can 'Continue' to enter their password and use the apps like normal, but many inclined.

It should be noted that the message Google is showing, is not because an actual security problem is present. Instead, it's Google's system automatically flagging the older versions of its apps.

Presumably, Google picked a two-months timeframe that it thought it would never pass without the company shipping some kind of app update.

Following the news, Google has removed the server-side messages from popping up, but still didn't update the apps.

Google iOS app without nutrition label.
Google apps that aren't yet updated don't have their own nutrition labels.

There are many speculations about why Google has yet to update its apps.

Some said that Google halted the client-side updates of its iOS apps as a result of Apple's privacy labelling. Google however, said that the company's annual holiday code freeze the development, suggesting that it would continue the development soon enough.

What's more, with 'COVID-19' coronavirus pandemic, the work-from-home changes have also slowed development.

But for a company as large as Google, delaying an update for two months for some of the world's most popular apps certainly raises some questions.

In comparison, Gmail was last updated on December 1. But its Android version has gotten 4 updates since then: December 10, January 19, February 2, and February 9. Back in January 2020, the holiday code freeze for Gmail on iOS ended on January 13, with four updates arriving before February 11, 2020.

The same goes for Google Maps, as the iOS version was frozen on December 1, while the Android version has had nine stable updates.

The question is, is it really a coincidence that a lot of Google's iOS apps, especially the most popular ones, have not been updated since December 8?

YouTube however, is different. The streaming giant that is Google's, but has its own CEO, meaning that it is ran as a separate company.

Led by Susan Wojcicki, YouTube is at this time, the most popular app with privacy labels.