Skip to main content

Android March 2022 update unveiled — all the new features for your phone

pixel 6 pro laying flat on book
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Android has a variety of means for providing updates. Some are system-level, like when your phone gets the new version of Android. Others apply themselves via the Play Store, or Google Play Services. Any Android phone running Play Services can take these upgrades.

The Google System Update for March 2022 (opens in new tab) includes a host of tweaks and new features coming to most Android phones. There are several new things of note, including a means by which you can better manage your privacy settings.

Most of what you'll find are changes to the Play Store, such as with the play-as-you-download feature. This lets you start playing a game as it downloads, which might be very beneficial depending on the speed of your connection. Google has also apparently worked on enhancing discovery for the best Android apps and best Android games, though it's likely on the back end.

Other Play Store improvements include faster downloads, new Play Pass features (Google doesn't specify what those are exactly), and enhancements to billing and Play Protect. Outside of the store, this Google System Update improves device connectivity, whatever that means. But other system upgrades include stronger network usage, stability and security.

For developers, Google is enabling new features for third-party apps to better support ads, accessibility, analytics, diagnostics, machine learning, AI and security and privacy. If that went over your head a bit, don't feel bad. 

All of the best Android phones get to enjoy this update, as well as many older devices, not just Google's phones like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. This is the benefit of the Play Services system — it doesn't matter what phone you have, odds are that you'll get this update in the near future. You don't even have to wait for Android 12 to hit your device, or for Android 13 to land later this year.

Google System Update March 2022: All the new Android features

Critical Fixes

  • [Auto, Phone, Tablet, TV, Wear OS] Bug fixes for device connectivity, developer services, safety & emergency, and utilities related services. [1][2] 

Games

  • [Phone, TV] With the update to the Play Games Services profile, users will be able to better manage their privacy settings. [2]

Google Play Store

  • Improvements to Play-as-you-download feature to let gamers start playing mobile games while the app download continues to reduce waiting times. [3]
  • New Features to help you discover the Apps & Games you love.[3] 
  • Optimizations allowing faster and more reliable download and installation.[3]
  • New features to the Play Pass and Play Points programs. [3]
  • Enhancements to Google Play Billing. [3]
  • Continuous improvements to Play Protect to keep your device safe. [3]
  • Various performance optimizations, bug fixes and improvements to security, stability and accessibility. [3]

Wallet 

  • [Phone] Improved user experience and feature education for NFC/HCE-enabled devices. [2]

System Management 

  • Updates to system management services that improve device connectivity, network usage, stability, security and updatability. [1][2]

Developer Services 

  • New developer features for Google and third party app developers to support ads, accessibility, analytics & diagnostics and machine learning & AI, and security & privacy related developer services in their apps. [2]
Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over five years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.