You may have noticed that Google hasn't updated many of its major iOS apps lately. The reason for this has nothing to do with laziness. It all goes back to Apple's App Privacy Labels which can be found on an app's listing in the Apple App Store. The label lists which data collected by a particular app can track you, and which data collected by a particular app could be used to discover your identity. Apps updated after December 8th, 2020 must include an App Privacy Label with its App Store listing.
Google has not updated many of its major iOS apps and this might have been done to prevent Google from having to add the App Privacy Labels to the company's listings in the App Store. Some analysts believe that Google fears receiving the same criticism that Facebook did when it turned out that the social networking site had a lengthy App Privacy Label listing. Google denies that it has been holding back updates so that it wouldn't have to provide Apple with the information needed to post the App Privacy Label on its apps.
Some are receiving a warning when trying to log-in to Gmail with a new account. As we told you last Thursday, this pop-up message reminds a user to update the iOS Gmail app noting that the app being used doesn't contain the latest security features which in turn leaves these users unprotected. But there is a sign that Google has started to update its iOS apps after all. Late last week, an update was sent out for the iOS YouTube app. The update says that it fixes bugs, improves performance and "drank way too much coffee."Not updating its core iOS apps is beginning to impact users.
With the update, YouTube would have had to add its App Privacy Label if it hadn't already added the label to the YouTube listing in the App Store last month. According to the App Privacy Label, the iOS version of YouTube can track you using Contact information and Identifiers. It also can use the following data to find your identity: Purchases, Contact Info, User Content, Browser History, User Data, Locations, Contacts, Search History, Identifiers, Diagnostics, and Other Data.
Among the apps that Google still needs to update on iOS include Gmail, Chrome, Google Maps, Google Drive and Google Search. As for YouTube, the February 12th update was the first for the video streamer in the App Store for over two months. Typically, Google pushes out an update for the app every week or two.
With Apple promoting privacy on the iPhone, it not only has added the App Privacy Label it also will soon start the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature that asks users whether or not they want to opt-in to being tracked for advertisements by third-party apps. It is assumed that most iOS users will not opt-in although some might prefer the convenience of seeing ads online for items that they have been looking at.
ATT has instigated a fight between Facebook and Apple as the former says that it could see a good chunk of its advertising revenue disappear once the App Tracking Transparency feature debuts. The iOS 14.5 beta will have it as will the final version of this build. Back in December, Apple said this about ATT: "We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not." Not only does Facebook say that it will lose a huge chunk of cash, it also states that ATT will seriously damage small businesses.