Tips and tricks from Google’s resident iOS expert

Luke Wroblewski has been thinking about mobile design since…well, since mobile design was a thing. “I got my start in the mid-90s developing tools for scientists working with the first graphical web browser at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications,” he says. “Back then, people thought the internet was mostly just for scientists to share data.” But Luke was looking at what else could be done with the web, and like many other people, he realized very early on that the future was mobile.

“I remember back then, the mindset was, ‘People aren’t going to watch videos on their phones, and people aren’t going to buy anything on their phones,’” he says. “But it was clear this was going to grow and it was going to grow really fast.” Today, Luke doesn’t just work on one mobile app — he works on nearly 100 of them. As the lead of the iOS at Google team, he coordinates all of Google’s iOS apps.

Luke’s job is to make sure Google’s entire family of products work as well on iOS as they do on Android — and that Google apps make use of the latest iOS functionality to work better with people’s iPhones, iPads and more. “We really want people to see that having our products on their iPhone makes Google more helpful for them,” he says. “And every time Apple updates its operating system, it just gives us even more opportunities to make Google apps better by taking advantage of the new things these devices are capable of.”

Given his expertise, we asked Luke to run us through some of his favorite things you can do with Google apps on iOS. Here are his iOS Google app power user tips:

Widgets, your way: “Right now, everybody does this dance of open the phone, find the app, tap the app, open the app, go to the feature tap on the feature, and on and on… so we’ve been doing a bunch of things to try and bring the most useful stuff to you when you need it instead.” Like widgets, Luke says, which let you easily access key features of your Google apps from your homescreen. Luke’s favorite is the Google Photos widget, which shows Memories featuring his photos from years past, recent highlights, favorite activities and more without any action on his part.