The tech giant has started to share info about what’s new in each month’s Google Play system patch, the new update system for recently introduced Android phones, tablets, and other devices.
One of Google’s main efforts for Android in recent years has been to make updating components of the operating system easier, by cutting out the middlemen and delivering upgrades directly to customers wherever possible. The system is currently known as “Google Play system updates” or “Google System updates,” and was previously known as Project Mainline.
The company rolls out Google Play system updates for Android devices on a regular basis, in addition to monthly security patches for Pixels. Many essential OS components, including as location services, emergency alerts, contact/data syncing, and so on, are frequently updated to repair issues or introduce new capabilities.
Project Mainline, which launched with Android 10, is responsible for the new feature. It enables the company to upgrade some Android components without requiring the release of a new OS build or carrier clearance.
Because new Google Play system builds are deployed in the background, most consumers are unaware of them. If you’re curious, the company now provides a help page that details the enhancements in each new edition.
Phones, tablets, Wear OS watches, Android Auto, and other Google-certified Android devices are all eligible for Google Play system updates.
This is why Google’s support page’s changelog mentions improvements on a variety of devices. While Play system updates have been trickling out for a few years, the corporation only announces the modifications that will take effect in December 2021.
The page also emphasizes the monthly Play Store and Play Services updates’ improvements.
December 2021 update
The December 2021 update improved “battery life, device connectivity, network usage, privacy, stability, security, and updatability,” while the January 2022 update includes timezone management system improvements as well as support for new daylight savings time transition changes in several countries.
Navigate to Settings > Security > Google Play system update to check the Google Play system version installed on your Android phone.
On Samsung phones, the option is hidden under Settings > Biometrics and security > Google Play system update. These updates are normally installed automatically in the background and only require a restart to take effect.
Updates for numerous devices, including phones, tablets, Wear OS wearables, and Android Auto, as well as further Play Store and Play Services changes, are included in the December 2021 release.
January 2022 update
Bug fixes for device connectivity, safety & emergency, system administration & diagnostics, and media-related services are included in the January 2022 Google Play system update. It also includes certain Google Play Store updates as well as an update to improve Android’s handling of global daylight savings time adjustments.
We expect that Google will update the support page every month, similar to how it updates its monthly security bulletin, so you’ll know which specific build to blame when something goes wrong.