You’ve probably encountered a problem with your Android device, and depending on the nature of it, most issue are directly related to the Google Play Services. We gathered a few Google Play Services errors and their potential fixes which  most users will find useful, however the tool is still a mystery to many who are not aware what exactly it is and why its so essential. Here we shed some light on what it is and why it’s so important.

What is Google Play Services?

If it acts like an app, then it’s probably an app. Nope that’s not the case with the Google Play Services. Though it comes pre-installed on all Android devices and it has features you’d expect from an app such as regular updates, nothing actually happens when you launch it on your device. Google Play Services basically acts like part and parcel of the Android operating system, given that it makes use of all kinds of permissions, from requiring access to Google apps’ information, control and access to SMS services as well as access to sensitive log data, among many others.

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The purpose of this is to form a collection of APIs that ensure that only a few apps are powered by Android OS updates.

Why Google Play Services are important?

Put simply, Google Play Services are essential in the upgrade of Google’s very own pre-installed apps to the latest versions, without the need of your device’s Android system first being updated to the latest version. For instance, prior to the existence of Google Play Services, an app such as Google Photos would require the Android OS to be updated before it can receive its own update. Thanks to Google Play Services, apps are now automatically updated rather than having to wait until carriers and smartphone manufacturers decide to push out Android OS updates.

It is worth mentioning that this only applies to apps that make use of Google Play Services, most especially apps developed by Google such as Google+, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Play Store and so on.

However, this doesn’t mean that all other apps suffer independent of OS updates, basically any version of Android between v.2.2 and beyond can benefit from the Google Play Services’ automatic update advantage.

Can it be disabled?

Google Play Services, like any other app on Android by default, cannot be uninstalled, though there is still an option of disabling it. If you choose to take the risk and disable the Google Play Services (not advisable), then head into your device’s Settings >> Apps >> All >> Google Play Services >> Disable.

If the Disable check-box is not accessible, you can alternatively go to Settings >> Security >> Device administrators >> and have Android Device Manager disabled.

It goes without saying that once you have disabled Google Play Services, all apps depending on it, including the Google-based apps, will either seize functioning properly or if even at all.

What do you think about the functionalities of Google Play Services? Let us know in the comments.

And as always, we end with an invite: don't be a stranger and join our community - be a part of the conversation where we help each other out, discuss the latest and greatest, and make the best of our tech.

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View Comments

  • Steve

    WHY do we have an app installed by default we cannot control, it can cost us money by using our services without permission! It has access to everything and we do not get a choice over what it sends back to google or anyone else who hacks into it!
    I won’t let any app or program on any machine have that kind of control. My machine, my cost to buy it and run it not googles so why is it that you silly people let them get away with that.
    I have an S4 mini, it went for repair, came back with an updated OS, it already had a load of google stuff overlaid onto the android OS.
    First thing I noticed was google play was continually on, battery drain, then I tried to find out why I couldn’t switch it off until, unless I, the owner, wanted to use it, didn’t need it before!
    It’s disabled now and the phone still works.
    Disabled on my Yogi tablet as well.

    We do not need an app or program we have no control over but some large corporation does.
    Google is a great search engine and provides a good map service but beware of what you give away to google when you join their club, they pester me night and day to update my profile as I have nothing on there, don’t need to as it only serves google not me.

What's my model number?

There are several ways to locate your model number:

Option 1
On your device, go to Settings, then "About device" and scroll down to "Model number"
Option 2
Often times you can view the model number inside the device, by removing the battery
Option 3
Using Samsung's model/serial number location tool