How to Update Google Play Services

Three Android screens showing Google Play information page, search field, and App Info for Google Play Services

When you're an Android user, you get access to tons of great content through the Play Store. From apps like Gmail or Facebook to games like Gardenscapes or Candy Crush, there is plenty here to enjoy and fall into. Of course, none of those apps will download or update properly without Google Play Services

This is a background app that you won't find searching the Play Store, but it's integral to ensuring that your phone downloads updates when appropriate. In some cases, Google Play Services fails to update automatically, or you may start to receive an error message when attempting to load an app or game. That's when you'll need to manually update it, or clear the cache so that things start to work properly again!

What Are Google Play Services?

If you've ever seen a notification telling you that you need to update Google Play Services you may have wondered what the heck it was. After all, it won't show up if you search for it in the Play Store. 

Google Play Services is a background service that provides core functionality for making sure apps work right. Essentially it is the app that runs the Play Store. 

It controls the downloading and updating of new apps, makes sure everything is running properly and is critical for use of apps from the Play Store. If it is deactivated then you can expect apps to stop working properly. 

If you start to see notices to update Google Play Services, this means it is a sizeable update. Without it, some apps may start to crash, fail to open, or not work properly. We cannot stress enough that Google Play Services are critical for your apps and games to work properly. 

How Do I Update Google Play Services?

In most cases when you need to update an app you can search for it in the Play Store and then tap the update tab. However, it's a little bit trickier than all of that since it doesn't show up in searches. 

Google Play Services will generally update in the background without requiring you to keep an eye on it or do much of anything. However, some updates can require you to specifically update the app. When this happens you'll get a notification from Google Play Services and by tapping on it you'll be brought to the app page. From here you can tap update just like with any other app. 

If you want to double check that the app is up to date, you can do this from the Play Store. You just need to open the Google Play Services app link. If the box reads "deactivate" then your app is current, if it reads update all you need to do is tap it! 

  1. View Google Play Services app page
  2. Tap Update. (If the button says deactivate, your Google Play Services are up to date)

How to Troubleshoot Issues with Google Play Services

From time to time you may run into issues with Google Play Services. The most common problem is getting an error message that Google Play Services has stopped, often after an app or game crashes or fails to load. 

In this case what you'll need to do is just clear the cache from within your Settings menu. 

  1. Open the Settings menu. 
  2. Tap Apps
  3. Tap Google Play Services
  4. Tap the 'Force Stop' button. 
  5. Tap the 'Clear Cache' button.