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What is Google Play Pass and is it worth it?

Google Play Pass is great, but not for everyone.
By
December 11, 2021
Google Play Pass in Hand

You may have already seen ads for Google Play Pass, while browsing for your next app or game in the Google Play Store. With so many services and subscriptions being offered by every tech company, it might be easy to go overboard and suddenly end up spending too much on monthly payments. Today we’re here to see if Google Play Pass is worth your hard-earned cash, and learn how it might even save you some money.

Related: The best Android apps in existence


What is Google Play Pass?

Google Play Pass is a subscription service that offers a selection of apps and games on a subscription basis. Play Pass makes it possible to pay a single monthly (or yearly) fee for full access to supported apps. This would void the price of the application and its available in-app purchases. Furthermore, these apps would come free of ads.


How many apps and games does Google Play Pass include?

Google Play Pass apps games

There’s no way to give an exact number of apps and games included with Google Play Pass, but the search giant claims it’s in the “hundreds.” We’ve seen the most specific number from an October 2021 report, which claims Play Pass offers nearly 950 titles. These include games, of course, and plenty of apps for those who prefer other types of entertainment, and utility apps.

The list goes on.

More: The best Android games available now


Is my device compatible?

Best Smartphones 3 EOY 2020
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Requirements for using Google Play Pass aren’t too limiting. You’ll need a device running Android 4.4 or higher, which by now should include most of you. According to Statista, only 1.18% of devices run anything older than Android 5.0.

You’ll also need Google Play Store version 16.6.25 and above, a valid payment method, a Google account, and to be a family manager. Of course, you’ll also need to be in a supported market, which we’ll cover next.


Where is Google Play Pass available?

First thing first; can you even get Google Play Pass? The service is available in nearly 100 markets, including the following:

  • Angola
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Franc
  • Gabon
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Zambia

How much does Google Play Pass cost?

It’s time to talk money, and you’ll be glad to know Google Play Pass isn’t necessarily expensive. Google Play Pass costs $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year, in the United States of America. As per usual, you should find slight variations in pricing from country to country.


The verdict: Is Google Play Pass worth your money?

Lots of US dollars
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

This is a tricky question to answer. We must first think about what a subscription entails. Technically, signing up for a subscription is a business decision. It needs to make sense monetarily, whether it is through direct cash discounts, time savings, or convenience.

The truth is human beings tend to be creatures of habit. Many of us stick to the same apps once we’ve found our favorites. Many get by just fine using only free applications. Even if we pay good money for some of these apps, it can often be a one-time payment. Of course, Google Play Pass wouldn’t be a good investment if you identify with what we just described.

As creatures of habit, many of us stick to the same apps once we've found our favorites.Edgar Cervantes

We can’t deny there’s a healthy market for Google Play Pass, though. Especially for the tech geeks and adventurers often found reading the latest tech content at Android Authority. If you find yourself downloading multiple games a month, paying for numerous in-app purchases a week, and like trying on new apps consistently, then you might be spending well over $4.99 a month, and likely way over $29.99 a year. In such a case, Google Play Pass might be a no-brainer.

Still, try to see how far that subscription will take you, though. Remember, Google Play Pass comes with about 950 apps and games. That’s nothing when you put things in perspective, as there are nearly 2.8 million apps available from the Google Play Store. There’s a chance most of the apps you want aren’t even available.

We recommend you check out the Google Play Pass library before making a decision. To do this, go to Google Play Store > Profile image > Play Pass > Explore. See how many of these apps or games you would benefit from. A lot of applications cost over $4.99, which would mean you’re breaking even on one month’s payment with a single download. Some of them might have a bunch of in-app purchases you’re likely to buy, which would tally up the savings even further.

You could always give Google Play Pass a try, too. Currently, Google offers a one month free trial to new users. You can cancel anytime before the end of the trial period and not get charged a single penny. This is an easy way to find out if you would actually take advantage of what Google Play Pass has to offer.

How to sign up for Google Play Pass

  • Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  • Tap on your profile picture, in the top-right corner.
  • Go into Play Pass.
  • Hit Get started.
  • Select your method of payment, then tap on Subscribe.

Next: How to cancel a Google Play Store subscription


Are there any alternatives?

Google Stadia on smartphone next to gaming controller

As it stands, Google Play Pass has no real competitors in the Android ecosystem, as it’s offered by the Google Play Store, Android’s “official” app store. That said, there are some interesting alternatives out there, even if they don’t fall under the same category.

Xbox Game Pass, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and NVIDIA GeForce Now are the first options that come to mind. These all focus on high-end console-quality gaming though, and are priced accordingly. None of them will cost $4.99 a month, and their libraries are more limited right now. Not to mention they don’t offer any form of productivity services, only gaming.

Apple users also have Apple Arcade. Then again, that’s only for Apple devices, so there’s no need to even bother thinking about the option if you’re an Android user. Like other streaming services mentioned above, Apple Arcade is only about gaming, so no productivity or utility apps. Google Play Pass offers the best of both worlds, and no one else is following in its footsteps yet.