Google has begun previewing the latest changes to Android as part of November’s Google Play System updates, including improvements for Wallet and parental controls.
Update: Google is bringing its updated photo picker to nearly every Android device, including ones that are quite outdated.
While major updates to Android typically arrive on an annual basis – give or take the occasional mid-year release like Android 12L – Google is constantly improving the experience of phones, tablets, wearables and more. These improvements come from a suite of apps/services that the company has called the “Google System,” namely the Play Store, Google Play Services, and Android’s monthly Play System Updates.
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.
Google has begun sharing what to expect from November’s suite of changes — though details of the formal Play System update have not yet been posted — starting off with a tweak to Android’s parental controls. Previously, any supervised users (or child accounts) on an Android device would not be able to change the device’s clock, preventing an easy way to bypass time restrictions. With the latest Play Services update, that clock changing restriction is only active for those who have a designated time limit in place, otherwise allowing the clock to be freely changed.
Beyond that, Google is making some tweaks to Google Wallet, allowing those who accept the payment service to customize the Wallet logo. Additionally, app/web developers will have new ways to “deep link” into parts of Google Wallet.
Update 11/3: Google has now announced that Android’s revamped photo picker UI — the one that debuted with Android 13 — is becoming available for nearly every Android device. According to the patch notes, phones and tablets as far back as Android 4.4 KitKat, released in 2013, will be able to use Android 13’s photo picker.
Originally, Google had only said that devices on Android 11 and newer would get the new design. It seems the company has now found a way to bundle it with Play Services version 22.43, making it part of November’s Google System updates.
Update 11/10: According to the latest batch of release notes, Google Play Services version 22.45 includes a “critical” fix related to Account Management on Android phones. While this update will typically be installed automatically, you can manually check for updates via the Play Store listing.
Speaking of the Play Store, it seems Google has prepared some “new formats” for Play Store search results.
Meanwhile, Google Wallet is getting further tweaks and improvements this month, including an expansion to “all FeliCa-capable devices in Japan.” There will also be some enhancements to the way SMART Health Cards are handled by the app.
Update 11/17: Building on the “critical” fixes introduced earlier in the month, Google has shared that more are incoming for “System Management & Diagnostics.” Google Wallet is also set to get some “major improvements” to using an Android phone as a digital car key, as offered on phones like the Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Meanwhile, the Google Play Store is gaining a new feature that aims to fix the occasional problem of an app update causing an unexpected crash. While developers often aim to ensure their apps work on as many devices as possible, sometimes these kinds of issues can still happen. It’s not yet clear precisely how it’ll work, but the Play Store should help you get onto a working version of the app.
Other Play Store additions include Kids menu tweaks for tablets, “game cluster” changes on ChromeOS, and the option to automatically update apps over mobile data if you don’t have Wi-Fi access.
Google Play System updates for November 2022
- [Phone] Bug fixes for Account Management related services.
- [Phone] Bug fixes for system management & diagnostics, and utilities related services.
- [Phone] Allow supervised users that do not have time limit features enabled to make changes to the device clock.
- [Phone] Update the design of the Google Account account picker.
- [Phone] Nearby Share will now show in the first row as a sharing option.
Google Play Store
- New Features to help you discover the Apps & Games you love.
- Optimizations allowing faster and more reliable download and installation.
- Continuous improvements to Play Protect to keep your device safe.
- Various performance optimizations, bug fixes and improvements to security, stability and accessibility.
- [Phone] New formats for search results.
- [Phone] Updates to game cluster views on Play for Chromebooks.
- [Phone] Update to Kids menu format on large screen devices.
- [Phone] Allow automatic updates over limited mobile data of Google Play apps for users who do not have regular access to WIFI.
- [Phone] Help users to resolve app crashes with new update prompts.
- [Phone] Archive apps when you need more storage space while preserving your data.
- [Phone] Allows merchants to create the GPay button dynamically to customize it.
- [Phone] API update to allow deep links to additional Google Wallet screens.
- [Phone] Improvements to SMART Health Card support within Wallet.
- [Phone] Wallet users can selectively exclude loyalty cards imported from Gmail.
- [Phone] Expand FeliCa payment support to all FeliCa-capable devices in Japan.
- [Phone] Verification notification for users completing an Online transaction with GPay button.
- [Phone] Restrict Passes to a single device or user.
- [Phone] Major improvements that impact the functionality of digital car key.
- [Phone] Enable photo picker support back to Android 4.4.
- New developer features for Google and third party app developers to support Account Management, and Machine Learning & AI related developer services in their apps.
- Updates to system management services that improve device connectivity, network usage, security, stability, and updatability.
- [Phone] Support for new daylight saving time change in Fiji and Mexico.
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