September’s Google Play system updates: Play Store redesign on Wear OS, new Wallet features [U]

Android 13 Google Play update

Google has laid out some of what Android fans can expect from the September 2022 Google Play system updates, including improvements to Kids Space on tablets.

Update: This latest set of updates also includes new audio switching features for Wear OS and improvements to the Play Store.

A significant portion of what makes Android so useful is the way so many apps are integrated with Google Play Services. In recent months, Google has grouped together Play Services, the Play Store, and the “Google Play system updates” introduced in Android 10. Every month, the company lays out what changes to expect from this trio, which they’ve dubbed “Google System Updates,” and they steadily add more patch notes over the course of the month.

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.

  • play-services-update.png
    Updating Google Play Services
  • play-store-update-guide-1.png
    Updating Play Store (1/2)
  • play-store-update-guide-2.png
    Updating Play Store (2/2)
  • play-system-updates-guide-1.png
    Updating Play System (1/2)
  • play-system-updates-guide-2.png
    Updating Play System (2/2)

With the month of September still a day away from beginning¸ Google has already shared the first batch of Google System Update patch notes. Beyond the same boilerplate patch notes provided each month by the Play Store team, there are some changes coming to Android’s “Kids Space” experience.

For starters, Google is making it possible to install Kids Space on a secondary account during setup, making it easier for Android tablets to be shared among family members of different ages. You can also hide certain apps from Kids Space during setup, if desired.

Update 9/1: Now that September is fully underway, we’ve now gotten our next batch of patch notes, with a big focus on improvements to the Play Store on Wear OS smartwatches. According to the notes the Play Store is getting a new homepage on wearables, as was previously announced, that aims to be “content forward” including new app recommendations.

Another interesting improvement for watches is that if you install an app on your Wear OS device that requires a companion app on your phone, the Play Store should soon install that phone app automatically. It’s likely, though not guaranteed, that these Play Store improvements should arrive for smartwatch owners sometime in September.

At the same time as these updates were made, Google also added some more information about last month’s Google Play System update. Apparently that update adds support for the recent change to daylight saving time in Chile (Microsoft has some more details), set to take effect next week.

Update 9/7: Google has once again updated the patch notes for September, this time with a focus on new features for Google Wallet. When using Android’s “digital car key” features, your phone should soon offer “visual feedback” to make it more clear what’s happening. Google Wallet is also gaining the ability to show open loop options when browsing for transit passes, as well as “new forms of payment” for Wear OS in Japan.

The latest update to Play Services should include some helpful tutorials for the changes of Android 13, likely in the “Help” or “Tips & support” section of your phone’s settings. Elsewhere, the Play Store is set to offer a revamped “Play’s Top Picks” showcase, which allows you to quickly expand each app’s details to learn more.

One curious addition to the patch notes claims that Android’s Autofill system should soon notify you if your password has been discovered in a security breach. It’s not clear how this differs from the Password Checkup feature that was integrated with Autofill last year.

Update 9/30: Over the last few weeks, Google has made some significant additions to the Play System patch notes for September. In particular, Google has focused on improvements to the Play Store like informing you when an app update is likely to cause issues on your phone and allowing you to more easily install and manage apps of your other devices.

For Wear OS fans, a recent Play Services update should make it far easier for your Bluetooth audio to automatically switch between your watch and your phone when a call begins. Additionally, the formal “Google Play system update” for September 2022 should include some improvements to performance and network connectivity.

Google Play System updates for September 2022

Account Management

  • [Phone] Allows users to hide recommended apps during the Google Kids Space onboarding flow.
  • [Auto, Phone, TV, Wear] Improvements to account syncing and account recovery.
  • [Phone] Ability to install Google Kids Space on a tablet’s secondary user during device setup.
  • [Phone] Bug fixes for system management & diagnostics, and utilities related services.
  • [Phone] With the migration of the parental approval and consent to Google Material 3, users will experience a more consistent UI experience in-line with Google design standards.

Device Connectivity

  • [Phone] Switches bluetooth audio peripherals between supported phones and watches for calls.

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.
  • [Wear OS] With updates to the Play Store on Wear OS home page, users can experience a new content forward display that makes it easier to find recommended apps.
  • [Wear OS] When users install an app on their Wear OS device that requires a companion app, their mobile device will automatically install the companion app.
  • [Wear OS] New secondary menu to allow users to browse recommended apps for their Wear OS, Android TV or Android Auto devices from their Android phones.
  • [Phone] Learn more about Play’s Top Picks by expanding results to see more details about the app or game directly within the Play’s Top Picks module.
  • [Phone] Help users make better install decisions with updates to app details pages.
  • [Phone] Check the status of app installs happening on other devices you own.
  • [Phone] Optimize menu navigation for large screens on landscape mode.
  • [Phone] Provide information about device security from Google Play Protect in the system Security and Privacy settings page on specific Android 13 devices.

Support

  • [Phone] Android 13 consumer education experience.

Utilities

  • [Auto, Phone] Autofill will now notify users if their sign-on credentials have been found in a public data breach.

Wallet

  • [Phone] You can now get visual feedback when you lock, unlock, or start your car with a digital car key.
  • [Wear OS] This feature lets you add new forms of payment to Google Pay in Japan.
  • [Phone] Enable showing open loop transit agencies in list of purchasable transit passes.

Developer Services

  • New developer features for Google and third party app developers to support Account Management, Machine Learning & AI, Security & Privacy related developer services in their apps.

System Management

  • Updates to system management services that improve device performance, device connectivity, network usage, security, stability, and updatability.

 

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