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Own a Rooted Android Device? Google Play Might Stop You From Downloading Certain Apps

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May 19, 2017
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A few days ago, Netflix announced that its app on Google Play Store won’t support rooted Android devices anymore. The reason behind this step was suspected as Google’s Widevine DRM protection that has been adopted by Netflix. Both the companies haven’t confirmed it though, but now it seems like other apps are joining the bandwagon along with Netflix.

As per the new changes spotted on the Google Play developer console, developers will now be allowed to choose whether they want their apps on the Play Store to be available for the rooted Android devices. Of course, this won’t stop users from downloading the app from sources other than Play Store.

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There is a new “Device Catalog” section on the Google Play developer console, which has a sub-option named as “SafetyNet exclusion.” This new option limits “devices that fail integrity tests or those that are uncertified by Google,” from installing a particular app. These devices could be the rooted devices along with the ones that run on custom ROMs. Looking at the working of this option, it seems clear that Netflix used this option.

With the SafetyNet exclusion option, Google is just trying to secure developer and users on the same level. In this case, the security measure is taking a toll on select users who have rooted Android devices. In another similar example, the tech giant recently tweaked the functionality of screen overlay features, which means that apps like Twilight might no longer work as they used to.

What’s up with Google Play?

In all its integrity, this move by Google cannot be tagged as a planned strike on users who are on rooted devices, but it sure will cast an impact. However, the users who are on rooted devices, they also know how to get APK files for the apps they want to install. So, it all looks like – much ado about nothing.

Google’s effort for security enhancement by making rooted device owners turn to APKs instead of safe Play Store downloads, seems to be pretty twisted. It is pushing a particular section of Android users to an unreliable source and calling it a safety measure.

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What are your thoughts on this action by Google? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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