Why Google might be stopping Android on your phone and how to resolve it.
Do you often get this message “Google play services stopped working”? If you have ever had to deal with this or are currently dealing with this, you will understand how frustrating that is. It is even more frustrating when it interrupts your activities on your mobile device; sometimes it even hinders you from doing anything on your device, even the most basic things. Several factors can be responsible for this and there are various means to resolve this. Some of these means are dependent on the cause. However, before we discuss the possible problems and possible solutions, let us examine the relationship between Android and Google and how the Google play service has a role to play in all these.
The interesting relationship between Google and Android
People often view Google and Android as synonyms where one is the same as the other. However, this is not entirely true. The Android Open Source Project is open-source software that gives access to any device ranging from smartphones to tablets and other devices.
This Android Open Source software differs from Google Mobile Services (GMS). GMS is Google-branded services that Google utilizes for daily interactions. Some of these services are Gmail, Google Maps, Google+, Google Play, Chrome, YouTube, etc.
It is crucial to state that while GMS runs on the Android operating system but they are not limited to Android: they can also be used on iOS. In the same vein, the fact that a device is running on Android does not mean that it has GMS with Google Maps, Gmail, or YouTube. This is because, although like Android, GMS is open and users do not have to pay any fee to Google. However, Google places a lot of strict approval processes on all the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) of devices that want to offer GMS and that have moved some Android core functionality and API into GMS such that they could be able to control them better and also monetize them.
With this said, there are three categories of Android devices:
The first category is those devices- smartphones, tablets, etc. that are reliant on GMS to succeed. A lot of people want access to Google services like Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, etc. Therefore, the manufacturers of these devices work with Google to be able to offer their consumers these Google-branded services. Even with some manufacturers tweaking the Android operating system to create their own branded services, they must still cater to the consumers’ clamor for Google services.
The second category is the devices that have specific use cases and do not require Google services. These manufacturers will rather risk the crippling of some of the functionality of their devices than putting Google in front of their customers. This category of devices is often locked to prevent users from gaining access to Google offerings. Most of these devices are educational tablets and other industry devices that are geared towards use for a particular purpose.
The third category is referred to as the “Black box” M2M or the “internet of things”. They are devices that have little or no user interaction. These devices include wearable’s and other devices connected to the home and the office. They leverage Android as a free real-time operating system which is also efficient.
A little history between Google and Android
Android was initially designed as an operating system for digital cameras and this was what was pitched to the early investors. However, as the market for digital cameras was dwindling and consumers were replacing digital cameras for their phone cameras, the focus changed from digital cameras to building an open-source operating system for phones. This was a great and proactive move but the Android Company struggled for a while and was close to going under. It took the help of a friend who provided extra money to keep the company afloat and this money did keep it afloat until the company made its next big deal with Google.
During this period, Google was just another one of those ad-supported search companies. Google also at this time needed a big break: although they were not performing poorly, they needed to operate on a grander scale. Their deal with Android was a big step in the right direction.
The marriage of Google and Android
In January 2005, Google asked to meet the co-founders of Android to see how they could help the company. In the second meeting that was held by the two companies, the Android co-founders displayed a prototype of their mobile operating system to Google representatives. Google found this impressive and they offered to acquire Android. It is difficult to ascertain the exact amount Google acquired Android, however, the official documents stated $50 million. The Android team moved to Google campus in California on the 11th of July, 2005. The news about Google acquiring Android eventually went public a few weeks later in August.
Utilizing the skill of their new Android team members, Google spent the next three years developing an operating system for mobile devices and this was what birthed the launch of the first version of Android released in 2008- the T-Mobile/HTC dream. The acquisition would prove to be a success in later years and it was one of the best decisions Google made.
As of today, Android is the most popular operating system for mobile devices in the whole world. An estimate has it that as of December 2019, Android was used in 74.13 percent of smartphones. In May 2019, Google disclosed that there were over 2.5 billion monthly active Android users. There is a likelihood that that number would have increased since. Android is not only used in smartphones but also used in tablets, smart watches, smart TVs, etc. It is safe to say that Google acquiring and launching Android has helped the former become one of the largest and most successful companies in the world.
Cause of and Solutions to Google stopping Android
Oftentimes, Google stops your Android devices from operating maximally when there is an issue with the Google Play Service. Google Play Services is a background service and API package by Google that Android devices have. It is used to update Google apps and other apps on the Google play store. Google Play Services enhances the app experience. Therefore it is crucial to the functionality of most apps on your device. Google Play Services is the major culprit of Google stopping your Android device from working effectively. Below are ways to solve this problem:
Solution 1: Ensure that your Google Play Services is updated. If it is not, update it to the latest version. Sometimes, you get the error message because the version of Google Play Services you have is outdated or it is in conflict with the Android version on your phone. If this is the problem, updating it will solve the problem.
Solution 2: Clear Google Play Services cache. The Google Play app serves as a framework for all the apps installed on your phone. Sometimes, clearing the cache in the settings fixes this problem. You can also go a step further by clearing the data for Google Play Services instead of just clearing the cache alone. To do this (clear cache):
Go to settings and select Apps. Scroll to All apps and then scroll down till you see the “Google Play Services” app. Open the details and tap the “force stop” button. After which you tap on the “clear cache” button.
Solution 3: Uninstall updates on “Google Play Services”. This is very similar to number 2 above but unlike number 2, you want to uninstall updates to Google Play Services. To do this:
Go to settings and select Apps. Scroll to All apps and then scroll down till you see the “Google Play Services” app. Open the details and tap the “force stop” button. Then tap on the “disable” button. Tap on the three dots at the top right and choose “uninstall updates”. When successfully uninstalled, tap on the “Enable” button.
Solution 4: A fourth solution is to clear the Google Services Framework cache. Note that this is not the same as number 2. The Google Framework system app stores information and enables your android device to sync with Google servers. Your device successfully syncing with Google servers is what keeps the Google Play Services running. Therefore, this Google Play Services could be one of the reasons your device is not able to connect to Google servers, and therefore, you keep getting the error message about Google stopping Android operation. To solve this, you would need to clear the Google Services Framework cache.
It is quite frustrating when you are unable to perform the simplest task on your device because of that annoying pop-up message. However, before you rush to format your phone or make other poor decisions out of frustration, we advise you to try the solutions highlighted above. We also provided a brief insight into the relationship between Google and Android, so that you can get a better understanding of what is going on.