We're all eagerly awaiting the release of Android 12, but it's not the only mobile OS update launching this fall. iOS 15 went live for iPhone and iPad users yesterday, complete with improved notifications, a new customizable "Focus" mode, and more. Google has been spending its time getting apps ready for Material You, but it's also bringing some changes to its services on Apple devices, taking advantage of all the new capabilities brought forth by iOS 15.
When was the last time you thought about your old Gingerbread phone? Google launched Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the public nearly ten years ago, ushering in the days of its Tron-inspired Holo UI, but some legendary Android devices — including the Moto Droid X, HTC Evo 4G, and Samsung's original Galaxy S — never made the jump. If you're still holding onto a phone running Gingerbread, it's about to get a whole lot harder to use with Google services.
Google relaunched its Pay app last year, placing a greater focus on sending money between friends and family. Having a built-in Venmo alternative on Android is great, but users who actually want to use their newfound cash have been stuck moving balances between their virtual wallet and bank account. That's not the case anymore, as Google Pay allows you to submit any NFC payment with your account balance.
After buying an iPad Air several months ago, I was curious about the Google services experience on iOS. Over the previous years, I've frequently heard about features that roll out to Google's apps on its rival platform before making it to its own OS, so I wanted to dig into the biggest Google apps and services to see if they offered anything new on iOS that we haven't seen on Android. My investigation turned up several examples, nine of which are quite significant, plus a few other less substantial ones.
Huawei's unfortunate US sanctions cut the company down in its prime, and we missed out on some of the best Android camera phones ever made because of it. Its sub-brand Honor was putting out products almost as good for a fraction of the price, too. Thankfully, it looks like Honor's next flagship smartphone is going to mark the return of Google apps and services.
If you're an Android user, Google has a scary amount of information on you, and matters get worse if you're deeply embedded in the company's app ecosystem — getting locked out of your Google account can have serious consequences then. Thankfully, Android is open source, so it's possible to evade Google without having to leave the platform altogether — just look at Amazon's tablets or Huawei's Google-less phones. But if you'd rather be completely independent from big corporations, going for a free and open-source custom ROM built on top of Android's core might be the best solution.
Some Google apps are failing to install on Android 11 when you try to sideload the latest versions from a trustworthy source like our sister site APK Mirror. Ever since Google released the new Android OS, an "The new package couldn't be installed because the verification did not succeed" (INSTALL_FAILED_VERIFICATION_FAILURE) error keeps popping up for some people who want to install the most recent version of the Google Camera or the Google Recorder, for example.
When the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G were released, Google also updated a few of its first-party apps — the Camera and the Recorder, to be specific. But when people with older Pixel phones tried to sideload these to their phones, some ran into an odd INSTALL_FAILED_VERIFICATION_FAILURE error message even though the cryptographic signature matched and there should've been nothing standing in the way. We quickly found a workaround, but we never really understood why the error was popping up in the first place. Thanks to an investigation by our friends over at XDA, we now have an idea of what causes the problem.
Duo and Google Messages are among the best communication apps Google has ever released, so it's no surprise that they're incredibly popular even among people whose phones ship without Google apps. Unfortunately, it looks like those uncertified phones might soon not be able to run Duo and Messages anymore. XDA Developers and 9to5Google have uncovered strings that reveal that the apps will soon stop working on unsupported devices.
Huawei just announced the Mate 40, but like any other recent phone from the company, it's crippled by the lack of Google apps. It's possible to install these applications and the corresponding services on Huawei and Honor phones, but until now, the process was tedious and involved dozens of steps. The aptly called app Googlefieris looking to change that — it doesn't offer a one-step solution, but it makes the process much more approachable with limited automation and step-by-step guidance.