Ask Jerry: What's that app, what does it do, and do I need it?

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Welcome to Ask Jerry, where we talk about any and all the questions you might have about the smart things in your life. I'm Jerry, and I have spent the better part of my life working with tech. I have a background in engineering and R&D and have been covering Android and Google for the past 15 years. 

Ask Jerry

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Ask Jerry is a column where we answer your burning Android/tech questions with the help of long-time Android Central editor Jerry Hildenbrand.

I'm also really good at researching data about everything — that's a big part of our job here at Android Central — and I love to help people (another big part of our job!). If you have questions about your tech, I'd love to talk about them. 

Email me at, and I'll try to get things sorted out. You can remain anonymous if you like, and we promise we're not sharing anything we don't cover here.

I look forward to hearing from you!

What is that app? What should I do with it?

The manage apps and devices tab of the Google Play Store.

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

@unfunyguy writes:

I haven't updated the Google Partner Setup app since it appeared on the Play Store should I do it?

The best and worst part about having a smartphone are the apps. The right ones can entertain us, help keep us organized, and do all sorts of useful things that make life a little easier. The bad ones track what we do or worse. Somehow, we have to know the difference.

It can be tough because sometimes an app is both good and bad. Remember that a free app isn't free; you're just not spending money. You're paying with an alternative currency in the form of data a company finds useful.

That's the kind of app Google Partner Setup is. It's part of the Google Mobile Services suite of software that companies like Samsung use under license from Google and not part of Android itself. It's not open source, so nobody outside of Google can take a peek under the hood to see exactly what it does.

Pre-installed T-Mobile apps on the Motorola Edge (2022)

Officially, the Google Partner Setup app is a helper application for proper device functionality. The company that made your phone installed it into the system software. 

It does things like help connect apps to Google services or help vendors troubleshoot software issues. It's important to realize it's not the same as Google Partners for ads or Play Games even though they have a similar name. It's on the Play Store because the app has been broken out of the system for easier updating.

Most say this is a required application, and you can't uninstall it. The truth is that It may not be required, and while you can't easily uninstall it, disabling it is simple. But unless you know what you're doing and are willing to reload the software on your phone, you probably shouldn't because it (potentially) does so many different things.

To answer your question, I recommend you update the app. I'd never purposefully run an older version of any system application on my phone unless I could be 100% certain of what the app does. But this brings focus to the real issue — there are apps on our phones that we don't know the purpose of.

ASUS ExpertBook CX54 Chromebook Plus hands-on

(Image credit: Richard Devine / Windows Central)

Android is like any other operating system and is chock full of executable programs that make it work. The software powering an iPhone, a Chromebook, or any other laptop or tablet is the same way.

It's tempting to disable or uninstall some of these programs sometimes, privacy and performance being the two biggest reasons. Often, it works, and everything acts normally without all the pieces. Sometimes it doesn't work. When a new version of Microsoft Windows comes out, you'll see a lot of talk about this, and it takes a while for folks to determine what's safe to get rid of and what's not.

Unfortunately, my best advice is to leave things alone. If you're looking to an article like this for advice, you probably don't have the means or the background to determine exactly what removing or disabling an app does. Even worse, disabling the wrong app means you've borked the software on your phone and won't be able to undo it.

If you're determined, at least spend plenty of time searching to find out what an app is, what it does, and what may happen if you disable or uninstall it. Remember, 99% of the time spent modding the software on your phone should be spent reading and reading.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.