Google is finally fixing Play Services system updates on the Pixel 7

Google is finally fixing Play Services system updates on the Pixel 7

Beware of some early adopter headaches


It should come as no surprise that the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are two of our favorite Android phones available right now. They build on the success of their predecessors in some key ways, offering improved design, some new software tricks, and more. Their launch has also been significantly less bug-plagued, though that’s not to say it’s been without bugs. Two long overdue system updates arrive today to alleviate some of the biggest headaches for Pixel 7 owners.

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Face unlock was one of the spectacular features of the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, enabling faster unlocking on the lock screen than with your fingerprint. Unfortunately, as we discovered after their announcement, face unlock was limited to just the lock screen; other biometric locks, such as password managers or mobile payments, still require a fingerprint. Unfortunately, users who tried to activate Google Wallet via the lock screen experienced failed payments, all around face unlock. Instead of asking for another authentication screen, the card would automatically decline, kicking customers back to the lock screen before allowing them to attempt another transaction.

Fortunately, it appears that this problem is being worked on. Google recently rolled out a change to Pixel 7 devices through a Play system update, one that — according to Google’s changelog — changes how Wallet’s lock screen shortcut works. With this update, Pixel 7 users should be redirected to the “Google Wallet home screen,” which sounds like it might fix the bug.

[Phone] Wallet access from the lock screen is redirected to the Google Wallet home screen on the Pixel 7 (Pro).[4]

Until this afternoon, Pixel 7 users have been stuck running the July system update, without accessing anything newer, which would have prevented this update from reaching users. It appeared that a future update to Android would be required to fix this, as devices running QPR1 Beta 3 our upgraded to October’s system updates. QPR betas are previews of upcoming Pixel Feature Drops, giving us insight into what Google has in store for its phones. Fortunately, that is finally changing—and just in time, too. Both my Pixel 7 and my Pixel 7 Pro received their October Play Services updates between 2:40pm and 3:20pm ET, arriving in two patches.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment on exactly what this change to Wallet will do, and a company spokesperson gave us the following statement.

We are aware that some people are experiencing an issue where Google Wallet transactions require additional authentication on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. We are working to improve this experience and will provide an update soon. Pixel 7 and 7 Pro users should now see the October Play system update.

In the meantime, we’ll also update this article once we’ve had a chance to test out how the shortcut now works on Pixel 7 devices. AP editor Manuel Vonau didn’t notice any changes to how Google Wallet’s lock screen shortcut works on a Pixel 7 Pro running QPR1 Beta 3, though we’re continuing to look into exactly what this fix means for users. To see if the update is available for you, be sure to learn how to update Google Play Services.

UPDATE: 2022/10/26 4:14 PM EST BY WILL SATTELBERG

The wallet bug still lingers

After publishing our first coverage, I headed to my local grocery store to pick up some milk and try out this latest Wallet fix. So far I don’t see anything new. While I’ve never experienced rejection, accessing Wallet via the lock screen shortcut with the phone unlocked only with my face still gave an error message. It prompted me to unlock the phone with my fingerprint and try again, but when I did, the NFC payment was not registered. I ended up swiping home and then going directly to the Wallet app to contest my transaction – exactly what I’ve had to do for two weeks now.

So, regardless of Google’s patch notes, my experience is unchanged. Still, it’s clear that Google is tinkering with the Pixel 7’s Play Services status, and it may need some extra work, as I’ve also learned that QPR1 Beta 3 users are also receiving new Play updates for October. Looks like we’ll have to wait for a future Play Service update to hit beta in the next few days. It’s disappointing news for Pixel 7 users, but at least the main bug – the lack of available service updates – has finally been fixed.

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