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Google’s new Gmail widget highlights the problems with iOS widgets

Google’s new Gmail widget highlights the problems with iOS widgets
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Google’s new Gmail widget highlights the problems with iOS widgets

Google’s new Gmail widget highlights the issues with iOS widgets

Google’s Gmail utility has been up to date for iOS 14 with a brand new widget — however it’s most likely not the type of Gmail widget you will have been hoping for.

Proper now, there’s only a single iOS 14 Gmail widget that simply does one factor: supply fast hyperlinks to your inbox, the compose menu, or search. There’s no actual preview of your inbox content material, no means to triage mail via archiving or deleting with out opening the app, or any technique to learn an incoming message. Essentially the most interactive factor is a straightforward “unread” counter, one thing that the app icon has already been able to for years.

A part of that’s on Google — different electronic mail apps, like Spark, have created extra sturdy widgets. However a giant a part of the blame lies on Apple’s shoulders, with its strict limitations on what iOS widgets can do. Particularly, Apple’s widgets are designed to be non-interactive. It’s why you possibly can’t verify off to-do checklist gadgets on a reminder widget or why the Spotify or Apple Music widgets don’t supply merely play and pause controls.

As the corporate’s developer tips notice: “Widgets current read-only data and don’t help interactive parts corresponding to scrolling parts or switches.” Apple does supply the choice for builders to permit widgets to maintain themselves up to date by periodically refreshing within the background, however it’s a far cry from permitting really interactive parts.

It’s doable that Apple could relent on what it permits builders to do with widgets in future variations of iOS; iOS 14 marks simply the primary iteration of the function, in spite of everything. However except the corporate fully modifications course on what sort of performance it envisions widgets offering, it appears we’ll be caught with these extra restricted widgets for the foreseeable future.

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