Android 12L finally restores Widevine L1 certification on affected Pixel phones
After months of beta testing, Android 12L is officially out, and as always, Google’s Pixel lineup is the first in line to try out all the new features and improvements that the point release brings along. It appears Android 12L also resolves one of the most annoying issues that has been haunting some Pixel owners since last year: the Widevine L1 bug.
Reports of Pixel users being downgraded from Widevine L1 to L3 level date back to February 2021. That meant some Pixel phones couldn’t stream content in HD quality on Netflix, HBO, Disney+, and other streaming services. For starters, Widevine is a proprietary DRM solution from Google that’s used by many popular streaming services to prevent content privacy. There are three Widevine security levels: L1, L2, and L3. In order for a device to support full HD and above streaming, it must support L1.
If your device gets downgraded to Widevine L3, it can only play content in 480p quality. And this is exactly what many Pixel owners have been facing for over a year. When the issue was first reported, Google promised it was working on a fix. While that fix never arrived in 2021, it looks like the latest Android 12L update has finally restored the Widevine L1 status on some Pixel units, as reported by multiple Pixel owners on Reddit.
Subsequently, Google has confirmed to Android Police that the latest Android 12L March Feature Drop update includes patches for the Widevine bug. According to some reports on Reddit, if your Pixel phone still shows L3 level even after installing the Android 12L update, performing a factory reset might do the trick. You can check the Widevine status of your phone by installing the DRM Info app from the Play Store. Alternatively, you can also use Netflix’s built-in Widevine info checker.