The great thing about Android is its open nature. Any company can use Android’s open source code and put it on a device. However, this is not without problems. Devices can be “non-certified” and lose access to some functions. What does that mean?
Android devices can look vastly different depending on the customizations the manufacturer makes. As different as they may look, Google wants to ensure a certain level of consistency across devices, both in terms of functionality and security.
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Google has a list of requirements called the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). These requirements must be met to ensure that a device passes the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) and is certified.
What happens to a non-certified device?
Uncertified Android devices are very rare. The most common situation that leads to non-certified device is rooting or custom ROMs. If you happen to get your hands on a non-certified device, there are a few things you should know about it.
In the first place, Google cannot ensure that the device is secure. These devices may not receive routine updates, which are essential for security.
Without Play Protect, there is no certification that the Google apps on the device are genuine Google apps. These apps and features may also not work properly.
If somehow still have Google apps installed, Google can close them. For example, as of March 2021, the Google Messages app will not work on non-certified devices.
How to check if your Android phone is not certified
As mentioned before, the vast majority of Android users don’t have to worry about their device being ‘non-certified’. If your device came with the Google Play Store, it is almost certainly certified. Here’s how you can check.
Open the Google Play Store on your Android phone or tablet. Tap the hamburger menu icon to open the sidebar menu.
Select “Settings” from the list.
Scroll down to the ‘About’ section. Under ‘Play Protect certification’ you can see whether your device is certified or not.
That is it! If you find that your device is not certified and you have not changed it, you can check Google’s list of supported Android devices to see if your device is included.