Google makes it easier for devs to hide apps from rooted phone owners

Google Play Store might start limiting app accessibility for root users

Last week, Netflix made headlines due to its decision of blocking owners of rooted devices or those with unlocked bootloaders from downloading the application from the Google Play Store. Which seemed quite puzzling at the time, since the app could still be side-loaded and rendered functional on the said devices.

But soon more developers might join Netflix’s ranks and choose to hide their apps from rooted devices. Google is making this feature available to all developers. The company announced an update to its Google Play Console which adds a host of new functions including one which allows developers to easily block app installations on devices that are not SafetyNet compliant.

The process of excluding certain devices has been made a very straightforward one. Developers can now select the apps for which they want to set restrictions and then go to the left menu in the Google Play Console, click Release Management and then Device Catalog. From there select the All, Supported, and Excluded tabs. This where the exceptions are meant to be added. Apps can be excluded based on a number of other attributes including RAM and processor.

To make it even more clear, with the update Google is basically making it super easy for developers to block users with rooted devices or unlocked bootloaders from downloading their applications from the Play Store. Still, if the SafetyNet API isn’t included in the app, users will still be able to download and sideload the APK. Although this route won’t work for apps like Android Pay.