THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

Kolide

The fleet visibility solution for Mac, Windows, and Linux that can help you securely scale your business


On Google’s iOS Apps

MacStories readers and listeners of Connected are no strangers to my criticism towards Google’s Docs suite on iOS. For months, the company has been unable to properly support the iPad Pro and new iOS 9 features, leaving iOS users with an inferior experience riddled with a host of other inconsistencies and bugs.

Earlier today, Google brought native iPad Pro resolution support to their Docs apps – meaning, you’ll no longer have to use stretched out apps with an iPad Air-size keyboard on your iPad Pro. While this is good news (no one likes to use iPad apps in compatibility mode with a stretched UI), the updates lack a fundamental feature of the post-iOS 9 world: multitasking with Slide Over and Split View. Unlike the recently updated Google Photos, Docs, Sheets, and Slides can’t be used alongside other apps on the iPad, which hinders the ability to work more efficiently with Google apps on iOS 9.

Today’s Google app updates highlight a major problem I’ve had with Google’s iOS software in the past year. One of the long-held beliefs in the tech industry is that Google excels at web services, while Apple makes superior native apps. In recent years, though, many have also noted that Google was getting better at making apps faster than Apple was improving at web services. Some have said that Google had built a great ecosystem of iOS apps, even.

Today, Google’s iOS apps are no longer great. They’re mostly okay, and they’re often disappointing in many ways – one of which1 is the unwillingness to recognize that adopting new iOS technologies is an essential step for building solid iOS experiences. The services are still amazing; the apps are too often a downright disappointment.2

No matter the technical reason behind the scenes, a company the size of Google shouldn’t need four months (nine if you count WWDC 2015) to ship a partial compatibility update for iOS 9 and the iPad Pro. Google have only themselves to blame for their lack of attention and failure to deliver modern iOS apps.


  1. I could mention the slowness to adopt iOS 9 across their other apps, or the lack of Picture in Picture and background audio in YouTube, or the many problems with rich text in Google Docs, or the lackluster iOS extension support across all their apps. ↩︎
  2. And for what it’s worth, Apple’s services still leave a lot to be desired, too – especially Siri. ↩︎

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.