What Is Google Play Data and Where Is It Stored?


If you have an Android smartphone, you’ve probably seen references to Google Play data and Google Play Services, whether while using your phone or reading content about how to use its features. But what constitutes Google Play data, and where does your phone store it? Let’s take a look.

What Is Google Play Data?

Google Play is an online store that offers users apps, TV shows, books, movies, and more. It collects data as people use anything the store provides. Google Play’s main information page says the information gathered helps developers learn how people find their apps and how much they’ll pay for them.

Then, once a person has a Google Play product on their device, the collected data includes how much they engage with it and lets developers read user feedback. If a Play Store app has paid features, developers receive user data showing when and how often people make purchases and whether they become repeat buyers.

Where Is Google Play Data Stored?

Google Play data resides on your device. If that’s an Android smartphone, you can go to Settings > Apps > Google Play Store. From there, tap the Storage section to see how much associated data your phone keeps.

You can’t delete the Google Play Store app. Google allows users to disable it, but doing so might make the apps on your device stop working properly.

What Is Google Play Services?

While checking out where Google Play stores data on your phone, you probably noticed a separate app called Google Play Services, usually located directly above the Google Play Store listing.

Google Play Services helps the apps on your phone work with other offerings under Google’s umbrella. They include Maps or the functionality that lets you sign into an app with your Google credentials. If you have a service that uses part of your phone’s hardware, such as the microphone, Google Play Services allows that to work, too.

Google Play Services runs in the background and functions as an API that lets developers offer bundled services through their apps that make things easier for users. For example, the Location Services API within Google Play Services includes functionality that allows users to show where they are when booking a taxi or ordering delivered food.

However, Google Play Services extends beyond app usage. It includes security aspects that keep applications updated and checks for malware. If your device has a lock-screen password, Google Play Services provides end-to-end encrypted backups for it.

It also supports features like the auto-fill functionality for faster typing and location features that help emergency services personnel find you after a 911 call. Google Play Services was a core component in the contract-tracing apps used during the COVID-19 pandemic, too.

Is Google Play Services Necessary?

Google does not allow users to uninstall or force stop Google Play Services on a device. That’s because it’s essential for making all a device’s apps and similar content run smoothly and stay updated. Nonetheless, you might decide to step away from the Google Play store and favor another app service. Your device will still use Google Play Services in the background though.

What Is Google Play Services Data?

The data collected by Google Play Services depends on which apps you have and how they function. For example, if you play games downloaded from the Google Play Store, the associated Play Services data tracks and saves progress.

Plus, many of today’s apps have advertisements. There’s an API within Google Play Services that lets developers monetize their releases and sends you the appropriate data.

When installing an app from the Google Play Store, you see a screen requesting certain permissions. You can change those permissions later. However, doing that might make the app stop working. The chosen permissions relate to what kind of information Google Play Services needs to make the application work.

Google also announced a stricter developer policy about app data collection. Besides telling users why and how it gathers information, developers must also declare how an app protects their data and what steps to take to delete that information. Those changes should help users make more informed decisions about whether to download or keep using particular apps. All the details developers provide about their application go into a dedicated app safety section within Google Play.

Why Does Google Collect Data From Me?

Data collection is a fact of life for internet users. Such processes can improve outcomes in various sectors. As Marcia Daniel, chief client officer at a higher education tech consultancy, explains, “More and more, colleges and universities are looking into systems that employ predictive modeling, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to intervene with at-risk students at the earliest stages possible.”

Google’s privacy policy explains that the company gathers data for numerous reasons. Most of them directly support how well the products work. User information provides and maintains existing services, as well as developing new ones.

The company uses your data to give personalized security tips, and it may show you customized ads. Google also takes Play Store data to suggest other apps you may enjoy based on what you already have.

How Can I Read the Google Play Privacy Policy?

One of the most proactive steps to improve your Google Play data safety is to become familiar with the privacy policy. However, you won’t find a document specifically for the Google Play Store or Google Play Services. Google’s privacy policy applies to all services and apps it provides. It’s within the site’s Privacy and Terms section.

Google breaks down its privacy policy into several topical sections. The document features an accessible tone to make it easier to understand. However, there are also videos to shed more light on certain topics.

Continually Learn How Companies Use Your Data

Now that you know about Google Play Store and Google Play Services data, consider learning more about how other companies and services use your information, too. Most businesses require consenting to data collection. However, you can still decide to stop using an app or otherwise engaging with a company if something worries you about their privacy policy or data collection practices.

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