It all started with Netflix and might proceed to engulf all other applications. We are talking about the disruption caused in the Android periphery for those strong supporters of rooting devices. The issue started when search results on Play Store using rooted devices stopped showing Netflix app followed by a confirmation from Netflix itself that its app is no longer visible on Google Play to anyone with a device that is “not Google-certified or [has] been altered.” And now it seems this policy will be carry forwarded for other apps as well and Play Store will disable installation of certain apps on rooted devices.
The reason cited for this was a shift in copy protection. The latest Netflix Version 5.0 leans on Google’s Widevine Digital Rights Management to prevent piracy. Thus, it has become incompatible for modified devices.
Google has created a way to let app developers choose which devices their app supports on the Play Store. This was mentioned during the Play Console update at I/O 2017. For this, Google has introduced a new section named Device Catalog under Release management. In this section, app developers can segregate which devices they want their apps to be compatible. Devices can be chosen on the basis of — RAM, SoC and SafetyNet Attestation. The third category is where the game begins. SafetyNet Attestation again has three options —
- Don’t exclude devices based on SafetyNet
- Excluding devices those that don’t pass basic integrity
- Exclude devices that are uncertified by Google and don’t pass basic integrity
This gives developers the option to block their apps from showing in the Play Store on devices that are rooted or/and running a custom ROM. Even emulators and uncertified devices will have to bear the brunt now.
The purpose behind the whole new process is to protect media companies from piracy and while rooted devices give users control over the operating system increasing the chances of bypassing the security barrier put forward by Digital Rights Management, many users out there who have rooted their devices only for greater control and customization of their phones will also get penalized.
Via: Android Police