Everything the Play Store does with the apps on your phone, from syncing and API access to push notifications, goes through Google Play Services. It tells your phone when to update apps and introduces new security features and location settings. Long story short: you should keep it updated. The latest version is Google Play Services APK 9.0.83 – find out all about it below.
Google Play Services is the general overlord of apps, and you're best off when it's up to date.
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Google Play Services 8.9.16April 14, 2016: Google changed the Google Play Services icon, making the colors bolder and adjusting the position of the lines slightly.
The version numbers currently go as high as 9.0.83 on APKMirror, but we've yet to test these out to find what's new. It seems likely that Google will be loading Play Services up with things in preparation for Google I/O, which takes place May 18 - 20, so we might get more information on what exactly is going on inside the mysterious app-to-rule-all-apps then.
Google Play Services 8.7.02: what's new?
March 1, 2016: The latest version of Google Play Services could fly under the radar but it actually introduces one tasty improvement.
Google Play Services 8.7.02 enables Chrome Custom tabs in the Google app. With Custom Tabs, Android opens links from Google Now cards and Google app searches in a condensed version of Chrome within the Google app, rather than redirecting you to the dedicated Chrome app.
This increases the speed at which web content is loaded, because these custom tabs don't require the same RAM and CPU usage as the regular Chrome app.
Download the latest Google Play Services APK here, and make sure you have the latest version of the Google App installed also.
Google Play Services 8.4.89
November 18, 2015: Now that Google has released an all-new batch of Material Design icons for developers, it makes sense that some Google properties got an update. This is also evident in a refreshed Smart Lock section in Settings, which now features some of the new icons. Android Auto also got an additional option for 720p video output.
Google Play Services 8.3.00
October 21, 2015: Google Play Services v8.3 introduced a few back-end features but nothing on the user-facing side. It is now much simpler to sign into apps and there are some changes to how data is pushed to wearable devices, making the whole process a lot more streamlined and efficient. To get an idea of the more technical changes – or just for some comedic relief – check out Magnus Hyttsten's DevBytes video above.
Google Play Services 8.1.18
October 6, 2015: Google rolled out Play Services version 8.1.18 for devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow as well as Android 5.0 and higher, which delivers a number of improvements to Android Wear related APIs such as Maps, Fit and Location.
Google Play Services 8.1.15
September 15, 2015: Google has pushed a bunch of updates to Google Play Services lately, most of which address changes brought about by Android Pay, which rolled out on September 10. To use Android Pay you'll need to be using Google Play Services version 8.1.13 or above.
Google Play Services 8.1.05
September 2, 2015: There has been a slew of Google Play Services updates in the last couple of days, all following the bump to Play Services 8.1. On August 29 we saw v8.1.02, followed by v8.1.04 on September 1. Now, on September 2 we're seeing v8.1.05.
It's too early to say what has changed between the three versions, but it seems as though there has been a change to how Google numbers the particular versions for specific devices, architectures and display densities. You can learn more about this in our section on getting the right version for your device below.
Google Play Services 7.9.53
August 18, 2015: The previous version of Google Play Services was 7.9.53. It was pulled from the Android M developer preview 3. There was only one version available, so make sure your device is compatible before you update it.
See below for instructions on how to pick the right version for your phone. If you update the wrong version you'll have bugs until the right version for your phone appears, so don't be too hasty. We'll update this article if we find changes in the way Play Services handles things.
Google Play Services 7.8.99
August 5, 2015: After two pretty minimal incremental updates to Google Play Services — v7.8.93 and v7.8.95 — we've now stepped things up a notch to Google Play Services 7.8.99. The update has only just popped up, so we haven't had a chance to look into it yet, but we'll update this article if we find anything of note.
In the meantime, we'll remind you to make sure you install the correct version for your device. Instructions on getting the right version are at the bottom of this article. Let us know if you find anything new in the comments below.
Install Google Play Services: the easy way
The simplest way to always have the latest version of Google Play Services installed is to keep an eye on this page, where we'll provide you with a download link to the very latest versions available in the Play Store. Just tap the install button below to ensure you have the current version.
Google Play services However, as with most things Android, there are always newer and better versions available if you're willing to put in a little more effort. For example, there are multiple versions of Google Play Services for the different versions of Android you might have. So if you want the very latest version then just follow the steps below.
Install Google Play Services: the technical way
First, you'll need to know which version of Android you have. Go to Settings > About Phone and look for Android Version. Then, you'll need unknown sources enabled on your phone. This just allows you to install apps from outside Google Play. Go to Settings > Security > Unknown Sources and check the box.
Next, you need to know which version of Play Services is right for you. This is where your Android version number comes in. Each Google Play Services version has a three number suffix at the end, following the hyphen.
These three numbers are broken down as follows: Android version, CPU architecture and dots per inch (DPI). You can check the current version of Google Play Services by going to Settings > Apps > All tab > Google Play Services.
The first number is your Android version:
0 = Android 4.4.4 and older
2 = Android 5.0 and 5.1 (starting with Google Play Services v8)
4 = Android 6.0 and above (Note: 4 = Android 5.0 and 5.1 for versions of Google Play Services prior to v8)
7 = Android 5.0
8 = Android TV
The second number is your CPU architecture:
1 = armeabi
3 = armeabi-v7a
4 = arm64-v8a
7 = x86
The third number is your device screen's DPI (dots per inch):
0 = universal
2 = 160 dpi
4 = 240 dpi
6 = 320 dpi
8 = 480 dpi
So in the screenshot above you can tell I have a Lollipop device running an ARMv8 chip with 320 DPI. If you want to do things the other way around and figure out which number you should be looking for, just grab CPU-Z, which will tell you your CPU architecture and DPI. The good news is that once you know this information it won't change until you get a new phone.
Download Google Play Services APK
Now you simply have to choose the right Google Play Services version based on the three pieces of information you just collected. You can find the latest versions of Google Play Services hosted on APK Mirror and select the right one with the right suffix for your device. Then, just download and install Google Play Services onto your phone.