As part of the September 2023 Google system updates, Android is set to get better support for using PINs with the FIDO2 security standard, among other improvements.
Update: Ahead of the expected October launch of Android 14, Google is now discussing adding stylus and trackpad gestures to Android’s built-in web browser.
While the most exciting changes to our smartphones come as part of annual Android OS updates or quarterly QPRs or feature drops, Google is constantly rolling out improvements and new features through the Play Store. These affect core OS components, from “Play System Updates” to updates to apps like Play Services, Play Store, and more. The company collectively refers to these as the “Google System”.
Each month, Google publishes (and gradually increases) the list of changes included in that month’s updates. We will try to monitor these changes and explain the most important ones here. So be sure to check back throughout September.
The easiest way to check if you need to update Google Play Services on your phone is to follow the direct link to the app’s Play Store listing and update from there if available. To update the Play Store, tap your avatar in the corner, then tap “Settings.” Under the “About” section, you will see the “Update Play Store” option. Meanwhile, Google Play system updates can be found through the Settings app, under About phone > Android version > Google Play system update.
In the first wave of September 2023 updates, Google has shared that Android’s support for the FIDO2 security standard is being updated this month. While FIDO2 (often in the form of a Titan/Yubikey security key) was originally used for two-factor authentication alongside passwords, the tech industry’s recent push for “passkeys” (passwordless logins) has made FIDO2 more popular.
That increased usage calls for increased security, and one such solution is adding a PIN to protect your passkey from theft. In the coming weeks, Android is set to support the “PIN protocol,” but it’s unclear exactly what that will mean.
One explanation is that Android will natively support entering the required PIN for a connected FIDO2 security key. Alternatively, Android 7+ phones can act as FIDO2 keys themselves, which means you can add an extra layer of security by requiring a PIN. We’ll probably know more when Google Play Services version 23.35 rolls out.
Meanwhile, in the same update, Google Wallet is set to get some minor improvements, including “new email preference settings.” Google Wallet users in Japan should soon notice a “better card management” experience.
On the Play Store side, Google is introducing “a new settings page” that makes “survey choices” easier.
Update 9/19: While Google hasn’t yet released Android 14 (known internally as “U” or “Upside Down Cake”), the latest patch notes mention changes to Android’s built-in web browser – Android System WebView – gaining features that only apply to Android 14 and up. .
In particular, the browser (and possibly Chrome for Android as well) is getting new gestures for those with a trackpad or stylus. No specific gestures have been shared, but we assume they will be similar to those available on ChromeOS. For example, a three-finger swipe on a Chromebook lets you switch tabs quickly.
For everyone else, Google is also introducing a set of keyboard shortcuts for Android System WebView, possibly matching Chrome’s shortcuts on desktop platforms.
Meanwhile, the Play Store will start opening video trailers when searching for certain “media and entertainment apps”. Additionally, when installing a new app, Play Protect will perform “real-time threat detection” to ensure your device remains safe and malware-free.
- Updates for security and privacy improvements and bug fixes.
- New developer features for Google and third-party app developers to support functionality related to displaying web content in their apps.
- (Phone, PC, Tablet, Auto, TV) New keyboard shortcuts for productivity.
- (Phone, Tablet) New stylus rich gesture support from Android U+ to improve device usability.
- (Phone, Tablet) Support standard trackpad gestures on Android U+ for productivity.
Important: Some features may be experimental and available to certain users.
Google Play Store
- (Phone) A new settings page makes it easier for you to manage your survey choices and preferences.
- (Phone) You’ll see video trailers in some search results for media and entertainment apps.
- (Phone) Google Play Protect Install-time protection now detects real-time threats for new apps.
Security and Privacy
- (Phone) Adding PIN protocol support for Fido2 on the Android platform.
- (Phone) New email preference settings in Wallet.
- (Phone) This feature enables better card management in Japan.
- (Auto, PC, Phone, TV, Wear) Updates to system management services that improve network usage and privacy.
- (Phone) Changed Terms of Service for auto updates in setup screen.
- (Auto) Assistant controls will now be shown on the Google Terms of Service screen.
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