Every month, Google publishes a detailed changelog highlighting the content of that month’s Android security patch. But it doesn’t do the same for Google Play system updates aka Google System updates. Well, that’s changing now as the company has published a new support page (via) for listing the changelog of monthly Google Play system updates.
If you don’t already know, security patches and Google System updates aren’t the same. You might be familiar with the former because those arrive as a software update for your phone. Unless you have auto-updates turned on, you have to manually download and install the monthly security patches. They fix various privacy and security vulnerabilities found on Google’s version of Android as well as custom skins supplied on top by your phone’s manufacturer.
Google System updates, meanwhile, are fully automated. Originally referred to as Project Mainline, these updates fix bugs discovered in various OS components like device connectivity, location services, media services, Emergency alerts, and others. Sometimes, they may also bring new features or enhancements.
Google regularly releases these updates to all Android-powered devices, including smartphones, tablets, TVs, Wear OS smartwatches, Android Auto, and many more. But unlike security patches, there’s no manual trigger for Google System updates. Your device will automatically download and install the latest available update in the background, without affecting the device’s usability. The installation is completed when you reboot your device next. The whole process goes unnoticed by users.
But this also means you can’t see what the latest Google System update brings to your phone. Thankfully, Google now has a dedicated support page with the full changelog for monthly Google System updates. The company has already published the changelogs for December 2021 and January 2022. It will likely update it with the latest changelog every month from here on.
January 2022 Google System update brings a few critical fixes
The January 2022 Google System update for Android devices brings quite a few notable changes. Google says it has fixed some critical bugs related to “device connectivity, safety & emergency, system management & diagnostics and media related services” on phones, tablets, Wear OS smartwatches. Additionally, the Google Play Store is receiving some new features, enhancements, and optimizations for improved security, stability, and accessibility.
Google has also updated the timezone management system this month. It improves Android’s ability to handle daylight savings time changes in various countries. Last but not least, Google mentions updates to system management services for improved device connectivity and network usage.