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December 10, 2016

The Android Saga

(Not that Android Saga!)

Once upon a time…

The device before I made it “mine”

I got a sexay (prepaid) Moto G4 Play on Cyber Monday ($35!!!!!!!!!!!!* Out of $85). Since I have a Windows Phone (that I love and cherish and would need to be pried from my cold dead hands, so instead of the G4 replacing my current phone, I plan on leaving it not activated and tethering it to my phone’s mobile hotspot), playing Pokemon Go basically meant:

  • Using my iPod Touch 5G which crashes a lot on (these days, I can’t walk two feet without it crashing. Spinning a Pokestop? CRASH. Capturing a Pokemon? CRASH, etc)
  • Taking out my much faster iPad Mini, but walking around outside with an iPad is like wearing a sign around your neck that reads PLEASE MUG ME, soo…..

*The “Play” version is the low budget phone of the Moto G4 series, but it’s a pretty decent phone and runs PoGo quite well. And seriously, how often do you find a decent smartphone for $35?

Giving It A Whirl

This is the first Android phone I’ve ever used, so while I was able to figure out where some basic stuff was (like adding new accounts, notification center and toggles like wi-fi, location services, etc), I was kind of lost when it came to trying to figure out more complicated things, like…

I added my Google email when I first set it up. Instead of using the usual @gmail.com addresses, I use Google Apps (now called G Suite), so I could use a custom domain name for my email address (like @traceyuyematsu.com for instance). And immediately:

  • I ran into problems with the sign-in settings needing updating (which normally happens when you change your password but forget to update it on your other devices, but I didn’t change my password until I had that problem).
  • Also a thing about the account settings and data not being able to sync. (And I would get an error message about how it was experiencing problems and will be back shortly.)
  • And a persistent error message that kept popping up whenever I tried doing anything with my account (logging into other apps with the account, trying to access account info, etc) “Unfortunately Google Play Services has stopped”.

And when I launched PoGo, I attempted to login through my Google account (the one I had logged into while setting up the phone). Thanks to the “Smart Lock” feature of Android, it lets me log into apps automatically that use my Google login. But once again, “Unfortunately Google Play Services has stopped”. I couldn’t just disable it, because of the syncing troubles, it couldn’t save my settings I had set up for the account.

I checked for software updates (it needed software updates the first time I set it up and only once, even after the 10 factory resets I did).

Apparently Google Play Services needed to be updated for the error message to go away, but wait, isn’t that the thing that keeps stopping bringing about the error message…? I compared my Google Play Services version number to a Curtis’s (who also got the same phone when I showed him the Cyber Monday deal), and his version number was higher, so mine definitely did not update.

Eventually I added my non-G Suite Google account (the one ending in @gmail) and got no errors with it. So it was definitely some setting in my G Suite admin control center that I didn’t check. But no matter how much I searched and prodded, I couldn’t find anything about it! D:

I searched online for some answers, but looking for “google apps google play services” didn’t get me what I was looking for (this was before I learned Google Apps was renamed GSuite). Neither did “gapps google play services”. This is like one of those situations where you think you’re the only one having the problem. D:

A Revelation!

Eventually, I figured it out. But it was a multiple step process.

  • Everyone including this Google CSR says to uninstall Google Play Services updates, which you can find by going to Settings > Apps > All > Google Play Services > Uninstall Updates. Well…ok, there was no “all” selection, Google Play Services was already on the list when I went to Apps (later found out it was already set to “All Apps” at the top of the screen). I went to Google Play Services and….THERE WAS NO UNINSTALL UPDATES. Just Disable and Force Stop. There was a Storage setting and going to that only gave you Manage Space and Clear Cache buttons. (Tapping both didn’t solve the problem). Turns out Uninstall Updates was hidden in the ellipsis menu in the top right of the screen under Google Play Services. D: (And then, you’ll get a notification saying Google Play Services needs to be updated, which is done in the Play Store)
  • I MIIIIGHT have had to delete Google Play Services storage before adding the account again.
  • I MIIIIGHT have had to do some of these steps over again since I think they needed to be done in a certain order? (Maybe needed to remove the Gsuite account, delete update, delete Google Play Services storage, then re-add the account).
  • (Gsuite users only) Make sure Android Sync is enabled through the G Suite admin panel–It’s under Device Management > left side of the screen > Mobile > Setup > Mobile Management. Looks like for me, iOS was already checked, I think from when I first setup Gsuite, BUT ANDROID WASN’T. 😁 So checking that fixed the whole problem and I was finally able to login into PoGo without having to create a new account!

Personalized Moto G4 Play, customized with Nova Launcher (replacing the default Google Now Launcher, after I kept hearing how awesome and amazing and customizable it is)

So far it is pretty awesome. The GPS didn’t work for a while (unless if connected to my phone’s hotspot), but that seems to have resolved itself after using it for a while. Sometimes it just gives out, and says GPS Signal Could Not Be Found. The only thing is that the Moto G4 Play (not sure about the regular G4 and G4 Plus) doesn’t have a gyroscope, so the game’s Battery Saver thing doesn’t work on this device. Though between a crashy iPod Touch and an iPad Mini that makes you muggable, I’m not really complaining about a $35 smartphone that works decently otherwise.

Early on my adventure, I remember reading someone’s post who said “I now know why people get iPhones.” And now, so do I.

(Ideally, I would be able to play PoGo on my actual phone, a Lumia 735. 😀 But Niantic is unwilling to release it for Windows 10 Mobile. And while there is/was an unofficial build going around on Github, installing it is kinda hacky, since it has to be sideloaded. Also Niantic is unwilling to play along and will ban anyone they find using the app. 😕)

– THE END –

Edit (3/25/17): If your Android phone doesn’t have a gyroscope/digital compass thing and you want to be able to use the battery saver feature in PoGo, download the GO Extender from the Play Store. It’s free (with unlockable features for $1.49 USD). I think it works better than the regular battery saver and will also kick in if the light sensor at the top of the device is covered up (so you can just stick it in your pocket and not worry about whether it’s upside-down or not). It won’t emulate a digital compass, so the in-game compass remains static and you won’t be able to use AR mode when capturing Pokemon.