On the Google Webmaster blog, Google has announced that on April 18, 2016, they’ll be updating their user-agent for the smartphone Googlebot crawler. The user agent is going to be moving away being an iPhone user-agent to an Android user-agent. Even with this move, Google says that there should be no impact on 99% of all web sites.
Here’s the new Google smartphone user-agent that will make its appearance on April 18:
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2272.96 Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
Here is the current smartphone user-agent for Googlebot that’s still currently available:
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Mobile/12F70 Safari/600.1.4 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
The big difference is that Google is going to replace the Apple iOhone and Safari string from the user-agent and replace it with Android and Chrome.
The reason behind this change, according to Google, is so that their
“renderer can better understand pages that use newer web technologies.” Google added that as the web evolved they decided to change the “user-agent string indicates that that it is becoming more similar to Chrome than Safari.” Google said their “evaluation suggests that this user-agent change should have no effect on 99% of sites.”
If you want to make sure your site isn’t going to be impacted by this change, use the Fetch and Render Tool in the Google Search Console.