Google says it’s dropping Material Design components on iOS in favor of Apple’s UIKit

Google will stop using Material Design user interface components in its iOS apps and instead rely more on Apple's UIKit. Google claims that the result of the switch will be easier for its iOS developers, but more importantly, it is likely that the change will make Google's iOS apps feel less intrusive on Apple devices. They should feel and look more at home on iOS, instead of following Android's UI conventions.
Jeff Verkoeyen (engineer lead for Google Design on Apples platforms), announced the change on Twitter. If you are interested, I suggest reading the entire thread. Verkoeyen claims that his team moved the open-source Material components libraries for iOS to maintenance mode earlier in the year. Material Design is Google's own set of design conventions. It was introduced in 2014 to unify its apps and services across all devices, including Chrome OS and mobile.

My team moved the open-source Material components libraries for iOS to maintenance mode this year. Why?

A ... Jeff Verkoeyen (@featherless) October 7, 2021

We have merged the best of UIKit and the highlights of Google's design language to create a new approach to design for Apple platforms.

What's the result? The result? Many custom components are no longer needed. The ones that are still needed get more attention and focus. Jeff Verkoeyen (@featherless) October 7, 2021

We're now investing the time that we don't spend on custom code in long-tail UX details that make Apple products feel amazing on Apple platforms. We're "swimming with a sea of minor issues", to paraphrase Lucas Pope. I couldn't feel more excited about this new direction. Jeff Verkoeyen (@featherless) October 7, 2021

Verkoeyen stated that Google created its own Material Design components to iOS but found that they were drifting away from Apple platform fundamentals. Verkoeyen states that Google now uses Apple's UIKit to create iOS apps. Verkoeyen notes that this will allow for tighter integrations to the OS than custom solutions.

Although Verkoeyen's words are somewhat obscure, many believe that the thread, which includes the mention of tighter integrations, means that Google's iOS apps will in the future follow more of Apples mobile OS design conventions. This could mean that custom buttons will be used less often, as they look more like they belong on Android.

Jason Snell, a long-standing Apple journalist commented that this is great news. This is good news for Google's developers who don't have to write that code anymore. It's also good for the people who use Googles iOS apps. With any luck, they will be updated faster, perform better, and feel more like native iOS apps.

However, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Until Google updates its iOS apps over the next years, we won't know exactly how it intends to combine the two design approaches. Let's hope that it does the right things and makes things easier for users. We'll see.