Yesterday, Google released a standalone Gmail app for iOS, but promptly pulled it from the App Store the very same day. The curious appearance and disappearance happened so fast, most users didn’t get a chance to grab a copy of the free app, but PCMag snagged a download. Here’s a summary of what the app contained and what prompted the search giant to pull it so quickly. Why the Gmail App Disappeared
Anyone who installed the Gmail app immediately saw an error message upon the very first boot up: “no valid ‘aps-environment entitlement string found for application.” The error message doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to the end user, but it most likely referred to the fact that push notifications were not working correctly.
Very shortly after the app was made available, users started pointing to other problems, like lack of functionality and broken features. In all fairness, a lot of the app worked, but it was certainly not a finished product. Google officially declared the app buggy, pulled it from the App Store, and released a short apology on Twitter.
What the Gmail App Contained
The Gmail iOS app aimed to give users another option for accessing their Gmail. Currently, the most popular way is to use the Mail app that comes pre-installed on all iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.
Gmail’s app differed from the Mail app in a few key ways. First, the design is totally different, with a collapsible menu bar (rather than menu options appearing on a separate page). The app also used color-coding for names on a threaded email, as Gmail does in its Web version. Another key difference is that the Gmail app can search all your messages, whereas the search function in Mail limits you to the folder that’s open at the time you initiate the search.
If you missed the app, you can read our complete review of the Gmail iOS app (reviewed for iPhone) and the slideshow below, which includes some side-by-side visual comparisons of how the Gmail app differs from the built-in Mail app that can run Gmail. The Mail app is the primary program through which most iOS users have been accessing Gmail for all these years.
Meanwhile, Google has finished and officially released the final redesigned Gmail Web site, which is still optional for users to adopt. For Google, redesigning most of its properties has been a months-long affair. In July, we scoured Google’s sites to find out which ones had seen a facelift and highlighted the most dramatic changes.