Google Play may start blocking root users from accessing certain apps

The latest update for Netflix, which rolled out on Google Play a few days ago, raised a few eyebrows in the Android community by preventing users with rooted/unlocked devices to download the app from Google's official storefront. The app itself still works on rooted devices, it's just shows up as "incopmatible" on Google Play, with the updated changelog stating that: “version 5.0 only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.”

Bad news is that recent changes made to the Google Play developer console indicate that more apps may join the ranks of Netflix in the future. The newly added "Device catalog" section allows developers to choose whether their apps should be accessible to root users directly from Google Play. Slashgear reports that some of the criteria for blocking access from Google Play include "devices that fail integrity tests or those that are uncertified by Google," which basically excludes rooted devices and custom Android ROMs.

Modding enthusiasts may be pleased to hear that these restrictions won't necessarily prevent apps from working on their devices, they just won't have access to the apps from Google Play. APKs sideloaded from other sources will still work.

Although these changes to the platform are sure to annoy some people, they are being made with security improvements in mind. Unfortunately, they may also negatively affect Android OEMs who are not using Google's certification.

sources: Google (1), (2) via Slashgear



1. Nopers unregistered

"Android users get so much more freedom when you root."

3. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

still true tho

6. vincelongman

Posts: 5810; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep People will just switch from SuperSU to Magisk for root Or just use apkmirror

4. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

Yep, well guess I'm going to Amazon for my apps

12. CristoLagos

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

I'm using Magisk root, and I can still see the Netflix app because I'm using Magisk hide. So not much of a problem really.

7. ishaqthkr

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Dozens of 3rd party stores out there

8. funtikar

Posts: 25; Member since: May 05, 2012

week bro... theres Magisk and you can just sideload apps

2. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

It also excludes phones with an unlocked bootloader. Which doesn't mean rooted nor a custom ROM. Magisk can hide all of the above (so far) and pass Google's safety net checks.

5. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

I think they meant phones that were manually unlocked

9. brasstax

Posts: 546; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Oh dear... this is already happening. Now I know why I got this same incompatible with device error message this morning when wiped my device and reinstalled Touchwiz Lollipop 5.1.1 on my Note 10.1 2014 Edition.

10. brasstax

Posts: 546; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I was trying to install whatsapp and got this error message on Google Play Store. I had to sideload the apk.

11. brasstax

Posts: 546; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Of course I am rooted with a custom twrp recovery.

13. obedchuni

Posts: 339; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

F u google

14. gotoAndDie

Posts: 82; Member since: Jun 13, 2015

It was supposed to stop people from downloading apps that don't work if you trip SafetyNet, like Pokémon Go, so you don't end up downloading an app that does absolutely nothing. Netflix, meanwhile, decided that this feature is sufficient as a safety measure against screen recording, even though every root user knows how to sideload apps, thus creating this whole debate,

16. funtikar

Posts: 25; Member since: May 05, 2012

hahah ikr its stupid

15. Krjal

Posts: 441; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

Google wants to inconvenience its users and increase piracy? Because that's how you do it.

17. funtikar

Posts: 25; Member since: May 05, 2012

haha win

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