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If you’re a hardcore Android fan, Netflix might be blocked from your phone

Published May 15th, 2017 12:59PM EDT
Netflix Android app blocked

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There are plenty of good reasons to root your Android phone or tablet, from removing pre-installed bloatware to speeding up your device, but Netflix just made the decision a bit more difficult. Over the weekend, Netflix stopped appearing in search results on the Play Store for Android users with rooted and unlocked devices. Visiting the listing directly showed the following error message as well: “Your device isn’t compatible with this version.”

On Saturday, Netflix confirmed to Android Police that it had begun blocking rooted and unlocked devices (basically any device that isn’t Google-certified) from being able to download its mobile app.

This is the statement that Netflix provided to Android Police regarding the block:

With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.

This change is reflected in the change log of the latest update for the Netflix app, confirming that “Version 5.0 only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.” This means that for the time being, hardcore Android users who are savvy enough to take device customization to the next level will not be able to download the app from the Play store.

Oddly, though the Play Store listing is blocked for rooted devices, the app itself seems to be functioning normally (for now). So if you already have the app on your rooted or unlocked device, you can still access the streaming service (providing you have an account). Android Police also points out that you can download the latest Netflix APK from Pushbullet, since the Play Store listing is inaccessible.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.