Google Messages will stop working on uncertified Android phones in April

Google Messages will stop working on uncertified Android phones in April

Google Messages is one of the more popular apps from Google, and many users make use of it every day without even realizing that they use it. The name is rather generic, and a lot of devices ship with it pre-installed as their default SMS and RCS client. Most users should be satisfied with the functions that the app provides and have no real reason to explore alternatives. But if one of the possibly-upcoming changes materializes, they may need to look for alternatives, as new strings within the app suggest that Google Messages will stop working on uncertified Android phones in April 2021.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

A new string was spotted in Google Messages 7.2.203:

<string name="ip_compliance_warning_message">On March 31, Messages will stop working on uncertified devices, including this one.</string>

As the message clearly spells it out, Messages will stop working on uncertified Android devices from March 31, 2021, onwards. Uncertified Android devices are those devices that run on Android, but skipped through or failed Google’s official certification process for Google Mobile Services. These devices do not come with the mandatory Google apps, but the sellers of such devices usually have advisories on how users can sideload Google apps and service frameworks. Google did put an end to such practices from device makers, but Google Messages as an app remained immune from the fallout of those decisions. For one, Google Messages could easily be sideloaded if you did not have it pre-installed, and it didn’t need a Google sign-in to work on its own, so it would still work on all Android devices (including the new ones from Huawei).

But this is soon going to change. If you have an uncertified Android device, the app will not work. This is presumed to be an extension of the RCS End-to-End encryption rollout, as Google will not be able to guarantee if an uncertified device is not compromised, and the consequent conversation from users of these devices is not compromised in any way. Considering how small of a user base this would affect in the grand world of active Android devices with GMS, this would be a small plug to pull for Google.

Messages
Messages
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

I am a tech journalist with XDA since 2015, while being a qualified business-litigation lawyer with experience in the field. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected] or on Twitter (@aamirXDA).