If you have an unlocked bootloader on your phone, Android Pay will now no longer work

If you have an unlocked bootloader on your phone, Android Pay will now no longer work
One of the highlights about Android is the near limitless freedom that you have to tinker and tweak the operating system as much as you so choose. Thanks to the world of unlocked bootloaders, root access, custom ROMs, etc., Android is capable of being customized in nearly every imaginable way possible. However, doing tweaking and customizing on this level can create for increased security risks. It's something that every Android enthusiast is well aware of, but it's something that Google has recently been cracking down on a lot more recently.

Previously with Android Pay, users who had rooted phones were not able to use Google's mobile payment solution. Following in the footsteps of that, Google has made the move to now block Android Pay access from devices that have unlocked bootloaders as well - even if they don't have root access. 


Google didn't really go out of there way to make a big deal out of this new update, but we honestly don't blame them. The whole situation of unlocked bootloaders is certainly that of an interesting one, as the majority of Android users simply go through the act of unlocking it to get added features and customization options on their device. Even with that being the case though, there's no way around the fact that unlocked bootloaders do pose a threat in regards to security. Google is going to do whatever they can to bring as many banks onto the platform as possible, but if they continued to allow users to access the system with potentially compromised devices, they've got a lot more difficult of a case to make for themselves. 

As frustrating as this news may be to some people, this doesn't mean that Google is now completely against tinkering with Android and trying to close down the OS from modders and developers. A spokesperson for the company recently said that the Pixel phones come with completely unlockable bootloaders and that they can easily be rooted. The open nature of Android is here to stay, but if you choose to mess with your device on that level, the fact of the matter is that you'll now longer be able to use Android Pay.

Frustrating? Yes. More secure? Definitely.

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7 Comments

1. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Meh. Ever since Google started breaking it's apps out of the OS and making so much stuff updatable thru Google Play Services I have found no reason to root. OS updates aren't crucial anymore. Last time rooted was my HTC Sensation. The thing I find most annoying is if a developer doesn't make their app backwards compatible with older phones with the older API availability.

2. finestgq1

Posts: 35; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

android pay sucks it works only with the nfc type credit card machines. I'm cool with Samsung pay. It works with ALL types of credit card machines. e.g., NFC, magnetic stripe or emv terminals.

3. MaryPoopins

Posts: 324; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

"as the majority of Android users simply go through the act of unlocking it to get added features and customization options on their device" I can guarantee you even with without any facts to back me up that the MAJORITY of Android users probably have no idea what unlocking and a bootloader even is.

4. joe.m

Posts: 8; Member since: Sep 17, 2016

I agree with you there completely. I meant that the majority of of users who unlock their bootloader do so for added features and customization options, not that the majority of android users unlock their bootloader.

5. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I was going to post the same thing. The same thing has to be repeated in the comments sections of Android blogs, that the people who root and ROM and in the minority. In fact I'd be surprised if the number of users who do were more than 5% of all users. What he should've said was "While the majority of Android users who root or unlock their bootloaders do so simply to get added features and customization options on their device, they are still a small percentage of the total userbase."

6. SmartPhoneMobiles

Posts: 187; Member since: Oct 16, 2016

It doesn't even support my bank..

7. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

The choice is simple then: F**k Android Pay.

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