What you need to know

  • Google has resumed the rollout of the January Google Play system update for Pixel phones.
  • The company started the release of the new Google Play System last month, but had to pause the rollout when the update caused storage issues for Pixel phones.
  • Google has presumably fixed the problems now, but users affected by the prior issue are still waiting for a proper fix. 

After the initial rollout caused a second round of Pixel storage bugs, Google has started rolling out the January Google Play system update to Pixel devices again. The update appears to be widely available on Pixel phones and the Pixel Tablet as of Thursday, and we were able to spot it on the Pixel 8 and Pixel Fold.

Google has had a staggered release schedule for Google Play system updates over the past few months. One update caused an issue accessing Pixel device storage at the end of last year, but Google fixed the problem. That is until it released the January Google Play system update towards the end of last month. The storage issues returned, and that prompted Google to pull the system update.

The company shockingly doesn’t have a rollback system for Google Play system updates, so storage issues like these can be devastating. It took Google more than a week to put out a temporary fix for the storage issue, and it still does not have a permanent solution available.

The current solution involves running commands in the Android Debug Bridge and thus requires access to a computer. Some users won’t be comfortable using this solution and are still waiting for a better fix. For now, you can find out more about the ADB solution here.    

The Google Play System Update

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

The fact that Google is continuing the rollout of the January Google Play system update suggests that the storage issues will no longer affect newly-updated devices. However, as far as we know, there are no developments for people who have had storage issues following the initial rollout.

You can download and apply the January Google Play system update by first opening the settings app on a Pixel phone or tablet. Then, navigate to Security & privacy > System & updates > Google Play system update. If the update is not already downloaded, you can download it now. Finally, you will have to restart your device to finish applying the update.

According to the Google System release notes page, this month’s update includes updates to “system management services that improve Device Connectivity, Network Usage, Security, Stability, and Updatability.“ Additionally, it comes with bug fixes for System Management & Diagnostics services.

There was no Google Play system update in December, so it’s possible that many Pixel devices were still running the November version before Thursday’s release.