News of Netflix’s decision to hide its Play Store app from rooted devices was met with anger from those who like to add an extra layer of customization to their handsets. But it seems many other applications may be about to follow in its footsteps.
As reported by Android Police, Google has made hiding a store app from rooted devices an official option for developers.
Part of the Google Play Console updates announced at I/O 2017 includes the introduction of a device catalog section under the Release management setting. The section allows developers to specify which devices can view their app(s) on the Play Store based on certain criteria, such as performance indicators like RAM that’s under 1Gb and unsupported SoCs. But devices can also be excluded if they don’t pass SafetyNet tests or aren’t certified by Google; i.e. they’re rooted or are running custom ROMs.
As is the case with the Netflix app, just because rooted users can’t see the apps in the Play Store doesn’t mean they won’t work on a device. The process is different from the full SafetyNet API implementation used with apps like Android Pay and Pokemon GO, which won’t run unless a phone passes an integrity test when the application launches. If you know what you’re doing and avoid dubious sites, you can always just install the APK from other sources.
“SafetyNet Exclusions only restrict the availability of your app from the Play Store. Users can still install your app using the APK file directly,” writes Google. Nevertheless, the new developer feature is likely to annoy a lot of people.