Google now blocks uncertified Android devices from using its core apps

Google closes a loophole that allowed uncertified devices to skip its compatibility tests.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video: Google tells Android app developers to prepare for 64-bit future

Google has taken a major step to counter phonemakers that pre-install its core set of Android apps without first going through its certification procedures.

Android users with an uncertified device will now be prevented from signing into their Google account, according to XDA-Developers.

The move tightens up Google's efforts to prevent non-certified devices from pre-installing its apps, because some OEMs were skipping Google's Compatibility Test Suite and then claiming that Google Play apps and services can be sideloaded later.

As noted by Android Police, the OEMs were abusing a feature intended for custom Android ROM users to flash Google Play and Google Play Services.

The uncertified device now displays a message during setup, saying: "Device is not certified by Google", and then cuts off access to other core Google applications such as Gmail, Chrome, Maps, YouTube, and so on.

If that happens, the user's only option is to appeal to the phonemaker in the hope they will submit to Google's certification.

The message also warns manufacturers they need a license to distribute Google's apps and services.

Download now: Information security policy

Google uses the certification process to ensure that devices ship without pre-installed malware and to ensure they do come with Google Play Protect. The procedure also helps guarantee compatibility.

The move may also prevent uncertified devices from installing Google's Android apps through third-party app stores and user forums.

However, Google has offered a bypass for users running a custom Android ROM. They'll be able to white-list their device on Google's Android device registration page for uncertified devices.

ROM users will need to register their Android ID and will be able to register up to 100 of them.

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