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Google will begin phasing out material design for iOS apps in favor of Apple’s proprietary UIKit, which could result in apps feeling more like they belong on the iPhone.
Jeff Verkoeyen, Google’s head of iOS design, announced the change on Twitter on Tuesday, stating that his team began to dive deep into “what it means to build a recognizable Google experience on Apple platforms” – namely, Google apps on the App Store. The Verge first noticed the news.
This year, my team switched the iOS open source material component libraries to maintenance mode. Why?
– Jeff Verkoeyen (@featherless) October 7, 2021
“The time we save by not building custom code is now invested in the long tail of UX details that make products really feel great on Apple platforms,” Verkoeyen wrote.
Aside from working less for Google’s iOS design team, a change of direction is likely to mean that Google apps will feel “more original” on Apple devices like the iPhone or iPad. An example of how change could take place in practice could include replacing Android-esque keys in Google apps in favor of more iOS-based elements.
Overall, Verkoeyen said the change “will result in much tighter integrations with the OS than what we can reasonably achieve with custom solutions.”
First introduced in 2014, Material Design is a set of internal design principles and conventions aimed at unifying the look and feel of Google applications across platforms.
Over time, Verkoeyen said that Google’s iOS design components were “slowly moving further and further away from the basics of the Apple platform as those basics evolved from year to year.”
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