All Android users are familiar with Google Play Store. But not all of them have heard about Google Play Services, and even the ones who have mostly don’t know what it does. Sometimes, after updating the device’s Android OS, you may find that Google Play Services is missing. You can simply revert to the stock ROM of your device and be safe. Or, you can choose to re-download it manually from a trusted source.
What is Google Play Services?
Google Play Services is a service for Android devices that runs in the background; its basic job is to help getting the latest updates for apps from the Play Store. It’s a package of APIs that help developers and makes communications between the apps easier. Which in turn, make less apps depend on Android OS to run their updates. It’s extremely important for the functionality of your Android; many apps may stop working if you remove Google Play services from your device.
This service offers basic functionality like authenticating Google services, synchronized contacts, access to recent privacy settings set by the user, better app quality, and some services that are based on location. It makes offline searches faster, gives you maps that are more immersive, and enhances gaming experiences.
So, if you want to use the most recent version of the apps on your Android device, you won’t have to upgrade the device’s operating system version to the latest. Google Play Services works on updating the core apps of your Android device while using the same version of Android even if it was an old one. Meaning, you don’t need to wait to get the next Android update to be able to use the new updates and features of the apps.
Google Play Services is a pre-installed app in all new Android devices. It gets automatic updates, and requires many permissions to access them. And remember that Google Play Services gets the latest version of apps for Google’s core apps such as Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google+, Gmail, YouTube and so on.
In short, both Google Play services and Android OS are interconnected.
How to update Google Play Services
Usually, Google Play Services gets automatically updated via the device’s automatic updates. But sometimes, these new updates don’t get to your device quickly, maybe because of an internet connection issue, or some kind of problem in your device. So, you may need to update the app manually, and here is how to do so:
You can go to the settings in your device and find “automatic updates”. There, you’ll find multiple options; find the “update now” option, and tap it. The device will go fetch the updates available for all the apps in your device, including Google Play Services. Note that you need an internet connection, and it’s better to be connected to Wi-Fi rather than cellular data, as the latter may cost you money.
Another way to update Google Play Services is to go to the app’s settings, find “About”, and check its current version. If there is already an update available you will have the option to “update now”.
If none of those work, you can simply download the latest version of Google Play Services APK file, considering its compatibility with your device’s operating system version, and install it over the existing old version.
How to download Google Play Services APK?
It’s always recommended to download any app from Google Play, the official store from Google. But if you can’t do that for some reason, you may choose a secure third party source to download the file. Search for Google Play Services APK file and tap download. Once it’s done downloading, you will receive a notification; tap the notification bar to go to the file, or locate it using the file manager app, and then tap to install. You will be prompted that this app already exists and you have the option to install the new one over it. Confirm and wait for the process to be completed. You can download the APK file using your computer as well; search for the same file and download it to your computer, then transfer it to your Android device via cable or Bluetooth connection.
Can I uninstall this app?
Google Play Services, the same as all the apps, is removable (although as a system app, this would require you to root your device). Some may think that uninstalling it will free up some space in the device’s memory, but this is not a good idea at all. Removing or disabling Google Play Services will cause many apps to stop working, and this will affect the functionality of your Android device.
So, it’s highly recommended to keep this app on your Android device. And if you need to free some space in the memory, try to delete any other unneeded data, unused apps or unnecessary media (videos, audio files or images). You can also clear your chats in WhatsApp and other messenger apps, which often occupy a big part of the device’s memory.