Android users beware, Netflix will no longer work on some phones

15 May 2017

Netflix on TV. Image: William Potter/Shutterstock

Netflix has revealed that as of its latest app version, Android users who like to tinker with the OS will no longer be able to use it.

Having pumped billions of dollars into its content to firmly establish itself as the leading streaming service out there, Netflix has not held back when it comes to retaliating with those trying to infringe upon its copyright.

Despite previously saying it would not prevent users from watching its content through a virtual private network (VPN) service, it quickly clamped down on the practice after it went truly global.

Now, according to Android Police, the next group of users who will no longer be able to watch Netflix will be those using ‘rooted’ Android devices.

Given that the operating system is a fan favourite of programmers, Android can be tinkered with in many ways to do things such as improve performance or add software not originally built into the factory version.

This, however, is viewed by Netflix as a threat to its security, which is why it will no longer let owners of such devices to download or access the app through the Google Play Store.

In a statement, Netflix said: “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.”

What is Widevine?

Widevine is Google’s digital rights management (DRM) software designed to work across both desktop and mobile platforms, letting app programmers choose from three different security levels, ranging from total access to no access for altered devices.

Despite Netflix saying that the app will no longer work with rooted devices, users are reporting that, so far, they are still able to use the app without any problems.

They have confirmed, however, that it is no longer visible on the Google Play Store. Instead, a message appears, saying: “Version 5.0 only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.”

A previous study into the number of Android users who root their phones found that a significant portion – 27.44pc – had done so to boost their phone’s performance or remove default apps.

Netflix on TV. Image: William Potter/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic