Google locks out users on uncertified Android devices from Google Apps

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 27, 2018
Updated • Apr 5, 2018
Google Android

Android device users who run Google apps on devices that are not certified by Google receive "Device is not certified by Google" messages when they attempt to open Google applications such as Google Maps or Gmail on their devices.

Google Apps refers to a set of applications that most Android devices come with automatically; affected users can't access any of these apps, Google Play store for instance.

While it is still possible to install Google applications on blocked Android devices, it appears that they refuse to work properly on affected devices.

A report on the XDA Developers forum suggests that the change happened on March 16, and that any build made after that date is affected by the change.

The change affects users who run custom ROMS and any device that did not go through the certification process. Google appears to maintain a whitelist of custom ROMs, however, so that users who run these don't have to go through the whitelisting process described below.

Android users can manually register their devices to get it certified. This appears to be the only option right now for users who are affected by the change.

Some users commented that their uncertified device is not -- yet -- affected by the restriction.

Update 5.4.2018: Google removed the 100 device limit. The form furthermore accepts the Google Service Framework (GSF) ID which you can look up using a program like Device ID.

How to get a manual certification from Google

android manual device registration

Update: It appears that Google expects the IMEI and not the Android ID despite stating that it wants users to enter the ID on the registration site. To get the IMEI, open the dialer on the phone and use the buttons to type *#06#. The IMEI is displayed on the screen after the last character.

The very first thing that you need to do is look up the Android ID if you don't know it. Note that the Android ID may change if you install a new ROM or make other changes to the device.

Use an application like Aida64 to look up the Android ID; you find it under Android after installation. If you can't use Google Play to download the app, try third-party stores or APK Mirror.

Once you have the ID open the following Google page to register the device manually. Note that you need to sign in to a Google account and that the system limits registrations to 100 devices per user to avoid abuse my manufacturers.

Tip: Titanium Backup can restore the Android ID on a device.

Why is Google doing this?

The short answer is control. Manufacturers could load Google applications on their devices without certification in the past and these apps would work just fine.

Google changed this so that the company's applications won't work anymore on uncertified devices.

While users have a way out right now by registering the device to regain access to Google applications, manufacturers and creators of custom ROMs, on the other hand, are left with two choices:

  1. Don't install any Google apps on the device.
  2. Get certification for the device to ship the device with Google apps preinstalled.

Certification comes with a list of requirements that may change between different Android versions. It requires, for instance, that the minimum diagonal size of the device has to be at least 2.5 inches, must include a guest account, and use specified parameters when building the operating system.

Now You: Are you affected by the change? What's your take on it?

Google locks out users on uncertified Android devices from Google Apps
Article Name
Google locks out users on uncertified Android devices from Google Apps
Android device users who run Google apps on devices that are not certified by Google receive "Device is not certified by Google" messages when they attempt to open Google applications such as Google Maps or Gmail on their devices.
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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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