The April Google Play system updates for Android phones will bring new Play Pass and Play Points features, ways to discover apps, and more.
In recent months, Google has begun offering release notes for new features and changes to what it calls the “Google System.” This encompasses updates to the Google Play Store and Google Play Services, as well as minor updates to your phone itself via “Google Play system updates.” Rather than offer individual release notes for each aspect, Google wraps them all together in one spot as new features/tweaks often involve updates from a mixture of the three.
The easiest way to check whether you need to update Google Play Services on your phone is to follow a direct link to the app’s Play Store listing and update from there, if available. To update the Play Store, tap your avatar in the corner, then “Settings.” Under the “About” section, you’ll see an option to “Update Play Store.” Meanwhile, Google Play system updates can be found through the Settings app, under About phone > Android version > Google Play system update.
So far, for April 2022’s Google Play updates, there doesn’t seem to be too much in the way of interesting new features. The few standouts, which will need to be investigated, include new features for Play Pass and Play Points, along with some new ways to discover apps through the Play Store.
It’s possible that the Play Points improvements may have already rolled out for some, with the rewards program recently allowing some customers to apply their points directly to a purchase rather than buying credits in 100-point intervals.
In order to see the benefits of these improvements, you’ll need to ensure that your device has the Google Play system update for April, version 22.12 of Play Services, and version 29.9 of the Play Store, all of which should begin rolling out on April 1.
Update 4/1: Google has revised the release notes for April 2022’s Play System updates, adding new changes specific to cars. One particularly interesting line mentions the ability to watch streaming video apps on an infotainment system through “Android Auto.” Google has confirmed that this is actually in reference to the recently announced support for apps like YouTube in cars that have Android Automotive built in.
Another new addition mentions settings related to encrypted files on your device, with the goal of keeping your passwords secure. Both changes have been added below.
Update 4/15: In the last few days, Google has introduced some additional notes to the changelog for April. The new notes explain that information about your Google Account should soon be better organized. Under a newly added Security & Privacy heading, we find that Google Passwords on mobile is gaining the ability to import passwords, a feature already available through the web app.
Additionally, the company removed the previously added mention of video apps for car infotainment systems. This removal was likely related to the wording rather than the feature itself being unavailable.
Update 4/22: Google has rolled out another set of changes for Android devices as part of April’s ongoing Play System Updates. The biggest changes are coming to Android’s Autofill service as powered by Google Play Services, with new support for virtual cards. While the specifics are not yet available, the overall goal of a virtual card is to hide your real credit/debit card’s information from online retailers and any potential scammers. This also requires some changes to Autofill’s Terms of Service.
If your phone is set up to automatically back up information to Google Drive, you should soon see a suggestion to have your pictures regularly backed up to Google Photos — assuming you haven’t already done so. Lastly, Google is discontinuing use of the Find My Device app on business/organization-owned devices that are set up to use a work profile.
Update 4/25: The latest set of tweaks coming through Google Play System Updates brings some revamps to how children can ask for new permissions from their parents. There is also a privacy change to how cards in your “Wallet” are made available, particularly across Google’s various apps.
Google Play updates for April 2022
- [Auto, Phone, Tablet, TV, Wear OS] Bug fixes for security & privacy, and system management & diagnostics related services.
- [Auto, Phone, Tablet, TV] Introduction of new settings and notifications for on-device encrypted data to improve password security.
- [Auto, Phone] With updates to the Google Account design, you can observe an improved interface – cleaner and easier to understand.
- [Auto, Phone, TV] Technical migration to increase the scalability of the parental approval and consent experience on child devices.
- [Auto] Support for installation and use of video streaming apps in-car infotainment systems through Android Auto.
Google Play Store
- Improvements to Play-as-you-download feature to let gamers start playing mobile games while the app download continues to reduce waiting times.
- New Features to help you discover the Apps & Games you love.
- Optimizations allowing faster and more reliable download and installation.
- New features to the Play Pass and Play Points programs.
- Enhancements to Google Play Billing.
- Continuous improvements to Play Protect to keep your device safe.
- Various performance optimizations, bug fixes and improvements to security, stability and accessibility.
Security & Privacy
- [Phone] With improvements to Google Password Manager, users can now import passwords, store passwords for local users and switch accounts.
- [Phone] Remove support for using Find My Device on Android Work Profiles.
- [Phone] Reminder experience for users to enable photo backups on their backup enabled devices.
- [Auto, Phone] Improved suggestion experience for Autofill.
- [Auto, Phone] Updated Terms of Service for autofill service.
- [Phone] Support virtual card enrollments when using Autofill. A virtual card disguises your actual card to help protect you from potential fraud.
- [Phone] Added Wallet privacy controls to allow users control their wallet content and how this surfaces across other Google products.
- Updates to system management services that improve device connectivity, network usage, stability, security and updatability.
- New developer features for Google and third party app developers to support ads, accessibility, analytics & diagnostics and machine learning & AI, and security & privacy related developer services in their apps.
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