Android Police recently discovered a change in Google Play Store’s developer console that allows developers to choose whether their apps are available to rooted users in the Play Store.
The new device catalog section of the console includes an option called “SafetyNet exclusion,” which can be used to prevent devices that fail integrity tests or those that are uncertified by Google from downloading a specific app: among these would be rooted devices and those running custom ROMs.
This discovery follows the recent move by Netflix to block rooted users from downloading the app, reason? Yet to be known.
The argument is that Google needs to maintain security for developers and users and that will come at the expense of some users. A good example is when Google made changes to the way screen overlays work meaning apps that would previously draw on top of the screen such as blue light filtering apps would no longer function.
The changes to Google Play Store might deter the small number of people who still root their devices from rooting but then again if you’re a rooted user, you know how to install third party apps.
However, this will be a problem if developers start preventing custom ROM users from installing their apps from Google Play, because that will be the beginning of the rise of third-party app stores.