Google Play Services powers many key features on Android devices that might not be obvious to end users, and Google is now delivering an explanation right to your phone as part of a new approach.
If you go to Settings > Apps > See All > Google Play Services, you’ll see a new “All Services” item as the first thing in the app info list under Disable and Force stop. Touching allows you to “see details of the services used on your device”. Google’s high-level explanation of Play Services is as follows:
Google Play services help make your device safer and more reliable. It is an important part of many features of your device, and it is different from the Play Store app.
Remember that disabling services may impact the operation of your device.
The last line makes an explicit reference to how some people disable it. Google specifically highlights 17 features. Tapping takes you to the settings pages, while the Info button next to things takes you to various support/help articles.
Of the devices we checked today, this only appears on Android 13 Pixel phones. The feature that allows Play Services to add this “All Services” page to App Info requires the latest version of the operating system.
Account management: used for a secure connection and better control of your Google account
- Links to settings for: device phone number and Google account
Ads: used to control advertising preferences and prevent spam advertising
- Allows you to: Reset Advertising ID, Remove Advertising ID, or Enable debug logging for ads
- Also displays the advertising ID of the device
Autofill with Google: used to fill in your information, such as passwords and payment methods
- Shows settings to enable/disable autofill with Google
- Links to your personal information, addresses, payment methods and saved passwords, as well as your preferences
contacts: used to synchronize your contacts with your Google account and other devices
- Links to Settings for: Google Contacts Sync and Contacts Restore
Data backup and transfer: used to backup and restore your data, app settings and account information
- Settings links for: Settings > System > Backup
Features for Developers: used for features that app developers can include to make their apps better and more reliable
Device connections: Used to connect to other devices, such as a car, watch or Chromebook
- Links to settings for: casting options, Chromebook, devices and nearby sharing
Aptitude: Used for in-app fitness services, such as tracking workouts and sharing data with other fitness apps
- Links to settings for: Connect apps and devices and Manage data
Games: used for automatic login, leaderboards, achievements and managing your player profile
- Settings links for: Game Dashboard and Play Games
Location accuracy: used to improve location accuracy using Wi-Fi, mobile networks and sensors
- Allows you to: enable/disable location accuracy enhancement
Location sharing: Used when sharing your location with others
- Lets you see active shares
Security and emergency: Used for emergency notifications and services, such as sharing your location during emergency calls and receiving crisis alerts
- Links to settings for: COVID-19 exposure notifications, earthquake alerts, emergency location service, and silence while driving notifications
Security: Used for security features such as encrypting passwords, locking your device, blocking unwanted calls and locating a lost device
- Links to settings for: Find My Device, Password Manager, SMS Verification Codes and Smart Lock
Support: Used for features like setting up the device, sending feedback to Google, and contacting Google Support
System diagnosis: used to collect data about your device and services and improve the device experience
- Links to Settings for: Usage and Diagnostics
System management: Used to keep system services updated and improve device performance
Wallet: used to pay for purchases made on this device, including contactless payments
Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.
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