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Update: Google is bringing its updated photo picker to nearly every Android device, including ones that are quite outdated.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.
Google Play System updates for November 2022
- [Phone] Allow supervised users that do not have time limit features enabled to make changes to the device clock.
- [Phone] Enable photo picker support back to Android 4.4.
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] Updated user education experience for new Android features.
- [Phone] Allows merchants to create the GPay button dynamically to customize it.
- [Phone] API update to allow deep links to additional Google Wallet screens.
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