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If you own an Android device that has been rooted or unlocked illegally, you may no longer be able to download the Netflix app from the Google Play Store. If you already have the Netflix app installed on your device it should still work, but it could stop working at any minute.

In recent times, Netflix has expanded internationally Netflix Expands Everywhere, Oculus Pricing Causes Rift... [Tech News Digest] Netflix Expands Everywhere, Oculus Pricing Causes Rift... [Tech News Digest] Netflix is now available in almost every country, the Oculus Rift will cost you $599, Politwoops embarrasses backtracking politicians, Psychonauts 2 is getting made, and Trevor from GTA V is now selling Old Spice. Read More and started offering downloads. It has also cracked down on anyone using VPNs to watch content not available in their country. And now it’s cracking down on anyone who has rooted or unlocked their Android device. Which is annoying.

Netflix Is Incompatible With This Device

As first spotted by Android Police, the Netflix app on the Google Play Store is now showing as “incompatible” with rooted and unlocked devices. This is, according to the company, all thanks to Netflix switching over to using the Widevine DRM (Digital Rights Management What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is DRM & Why Does It Exist If It's So Evil? [MakeUseOf Explains] Digital Rights Management is the latest evolution of copy protection. It’s the biggest cause of user frustration today, but is it justified? Is DRM a necessary evil in this digital age, or is the model... Read More ) software.

Given that Widevine is owned and operated by Google, it’s no surprise that apps utilizing Widevine aren’t made available to Android devices that haven’t been certified by Google. However, even people whose phones have shipped with unlocked bootloaders are being affected.

Netflix issued a statement saying:

“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.”

Thankfully, for anyone with a rooted or unlocked device now judged to be “incompatible”, there is a simple alternative to downloading Netflix from the Google Play Store. All you need to do is sideload the app onto your Android device How to Download an APK from Google Play to Bypass Restrictions How to Download an APK from Google Play to Bypass Restrictions Need to get your hands on the installable APK file for an app from Google Play? We got you covered. Read More . Until Netflix figures out how to stop that too.

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Netflix Protects Itself Against Piracy

The whole point of DRM, including Widevine, is to protect against piracy. And so we suspect Netflix has acted to strengthen its safeguards in light of offering users the chance to download content to watch offline How to Download Netflix Videos for Offline Viewing How to Download Netflix Videos for Offline Viewing Netflix now lets you download selected movies and TV shows to watch offline. Which is nice. This article explains everything you need to know about downloading Netflix videos to your device. Read More . Innocent users getting shafted as a result is unfortunate, but expected.

Have you rooted or unlocked your Android device? Have you found that certain apps are no longer available from the Google Play Store? If so, which ones? Are you worried that Netflix will stop working altogether at some point? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Jenny Cestnik via Flickr

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  1. Tom H
    May 30, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Once again the honest citizen who only wants more control over his/her phone like doing backups and limiting bloatware gets the shaft. My bank has done the same and I now cannot use their app. It's not going to work and only makes life difficult for a regular user. What a farce.

  2. Vil
    May 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    If I won't be able to watch Netflix on my mobile I will cancel my membership and torrent all their shows that I want to watch.

  3. Max
    May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    The evil DRM (not to be confused with Digital World Radio) is an attempt to limit piracy (waste of time as it is useless) and only serves to bother and open breaches for spying, and now serves to keep blocked our devices. Whether pirated, netflix uses up to FRAPS or another screen capture program.

  4. Patel Nisha
    May 16, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    What does rooting have got to do with piracy?

    • GodSponge
      May 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      It is far easier to bypass DRM restrictions on a rooted device.

    • Thebigt42
      May 16, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      NADT