There are signs the waiting could be over. It seems like Google has finally decided to start updating its major iOS apps. The company released an update for YouTube this weekend, more than two months after its last update.
As explained by 9to5Google, which spotted the update, it’s normal for Google to stop updating apps in December because of holidays. Updates aren’t published during holidays because there might not be as much staff as usual to fix any problems related to them. However, updates usually resume in early January. That didn’t happen this year though, and a vast majority of Google’s iOS apps have not been updated since December, the outlet stated.
Speculation immediately ensued, of course, about a possible reason behind the delay. The popular theory was related to Apple’s new privacy labels, which aim to inform users of which data apps collect and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them. Apple launched the labels in December, and developers are now required to include them to update their apps and submit new apps.
This theory doesn’t pan out for YouTube, which already had labels before Google’s update this weekend. 9to5Google states that YouTube Music, YouTube TV, and YouTube Studio all had their labels at the beginning of February. Yet, none of these apps have received an update in months.
Google has also come out and said that the delays are not due to Apple’s privacy labels. In January, it started rolling out more labels to its apps, and also published a blog about privacy which mentioned the labels.
“As Google’s iOS apps are updated with new features or to fix bugs, you’ll see updates to our app page listings that include the new App Privacy Details,” wrote Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, vice president of product, privacy. “These labels represent the maximum categories of data that could be collected—meaning if you use every available feature and service in the app.”
Gizmodo has reached out to Google to ask why other major iOS apps haven’t received updates yet and when we should expect them. We’ll update this blog if we hear back.
Does this mean that Google isn’t worried about Apple’s new privacy labels? Oh no. Google’s main business is advertising, and there’s no doubt they’ve had conversations about the labels. However, in this case, it’s probably safe to say that the delay in updates is related to something else. Perhaps even something completely ordinary.