Limited functionality toolkit added to Gmail iOS app

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Google’s Gmail app got support for iOS 14 and a new toolkit has arrived. However, this is not the kind of Gmail widget you would expect.

Currently there is only one iOS 14 Gmail toolkit that does one job. It just offers quick links to your inbox, create menu or search. Real-time view of your inbox content, no possibility to archive or delete a message without opening an application, or to start reading an incoming message right away. The most interactive feature is the unread message counter, which has already been displayed in the upper right corner of the app icon for years.

In fact, these limited features are somewhat caused by Google. Spark and other e-mail applications are developing much more robust and equipped toolkits. However, Apple’s restrictions also limit the capabilities of iOS toolkits. In particular, Apple’s toolkits are designed to be limited in interaction. Therefore, it is not possible to mark reminders or check completed steps in the note containing the to-do list directly from the toolkit. Or that is why Spotify or Apple Music widgets don’t offer simple play and pause controls.

In Apple’s developer guidelines, “Widgets provide read-only information and do not support interactive elements such as scroll items or switches.” There is an expression in the form. Apple gives developers the opportunity to keep their toolkits up-to-date by updating them during certain time intervals. However, this provides an experience far from being truly interactive elements.

It is also possible that Apple will increase what it allows developers to do with their toolkits in future versions of iOS. After all, iOS 14 provides the opportunity to use only the first version of the feature. However, as long as the company does not completely change course on what functionality the toolkits envision to provide, in the short term we will be dealing with these more limited functionality and possibilities.


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