Google has finally restarted updates for its hugely popular Chrome web browser on iPhone and iPad. The Californian company has historically rolled out a pretty strict six-week release cycle for its browser. However, that all ended back in November. For the last five months or so, iPhone owners have been left without any new features, fixes, or anything else new and shiny from Google.
Google has restarted its Chrome updates. The US technology firm was so behind on new features that it’s been forced to skip Chrome version 88, which launched to users on PC, Chrome OS, Android and other platforms back in January 2021, and Version 89, launched in March to everyone else, entirely.
To bring iPhone and iPad owners back up-to-date with the latest features and tweaks, Google has had to skip straight to Version 90. Unfortunately, that doesn’t arrive until next week.
For now, Chrome on iPhone and iPad is still languishing back on Version 87 – the same iteration it has been stuck on since November. Instead of flashy new features – these are reserved for Version 90 next week – the update out right now focuses on bug fixes. So, if you’ve been struggling with a particular glitch that’s got in the way of your web browsing since Halloween, it might finally be gone!
It was widely speculated that Google withheld a number of updates to its iPhone and iPad apps at the start of the year following the introduction of Apple’s new privacy labels in the App Store. Like the traffic light system that tells you how much salt, calories, and sugar is in your microwave meal, these glanceable labels are designed to reveal how much of your data will be siphoned by the app.
It also reveals whether advertisers will be able to peruse that personal data to better target promotions at you based on your activity within the app. Google, which runs one of the biggest advertising networks on the planet and can only offer its incredibly useful applications and services as free downloads because they’re powered by advertising, was reported to be a little sheepish about revealing exactly what its apps are keeping tabs on. Facebook was another high-profile developer that had strong words about the privacy labels.
With its first update in months, Google has made some tweaks to the privacy label in the App Store. Under the “Data Linked to You” heading, “App Functionality” now includes your “Name”. This is because using Google Pay within Chrome to check out when online shopping requires your full name to complete a transaction.
Google says it will “regularly assess our data needs to ensure that we’re only collecting data that is necessary to provide and develop useful products and features,” while reminding users that privacy labels “represent the maximum categories of data that could be collected.”
If you haven’t enabled all features within Chrome, not all of the data listed will be collected by Google. For example, if you’ve never used Google Pay before, it isn’t going to be collecting your full name as a data point.
With the flashy new Chrome Version 90 coming next week, make sure you’re running the previous update before then. The bug-quashing update is now available for iPhone and iPad users via the App Store.