[Update 2: Niantic will revert bans] Pokemon GO is reportedly banning users on Redmi 5 and other Xiaomi phones after latest MIUI update
Pokemon GO is one of the most popular games because of its augmented reality gameplay and its popularity seems to have outlasted any other game on Android. While its userbase has dropped from 60 million last June to nearly 11 million as of July 2019 in the US alone, the game is still fairly enjoyed among users and has many pop culture icons like Uncle Pokemon associated with it. It has even got a Starbucks Frappuccino to its name. For its popularity, the Pokemon GO developer, Niantic, also has one of the strictest policies against spoofing. While bans against cheating in the game are fair and just, hundreds of Xiaomi users claim to have been unfairly targeted by Niantic’s systems and this time, the victims are users with Redmi 5 and other Xiaomi smartphones.
Since the latest MIUI update, a large number of users with Xiaomi and Redmi devices – those with Redmi 5 dominate the tally – claim to be banned for unfounded reasons. Usually, a strike of this sort happens when Niantic detects a modified or hacked version of Pokemon GO on a smartphone or when your device is rooted. However, as per two posts in the subreddit, r/TheSilphRoad, and multiple other reports, several users have been having trouble even with the official and unmodified version of the game.
While the exact cause of issue remains unknown, most of the users have started facing issues since the latest MIUI update. For Redmi 5 users, it is MIUI 10.3.2 that seems to have frozen the gameplay and resulted in temporary bans ranging from 7 to 30 days in different scenarios. Initial discussions on one of the threads suggest that the Game Booster feature in MIUI may be the culprit. This is because the Game Booster feature in MIUI may modify runtime variables in order to improve the responsiveness of the game.
Many other users confirmed that they have been banned even with the Game Booster feature turned off. To their plight, Niantic’s Twitter support account has turned a blind eye to complaints about the users’ complaints about unfair suspensions.
Frustrated with the unusual ban, one Twitter user @AnetUA2 has created a Google Sheet and invited all affected users to fill in details about their phones and the current MIUI version. At the time of writing this article, there are about 450 users in the Sheet whose Pokemon GO accounts have been suspended without a clear reason. While the majority of users have Redmi 5 and Note 5 Pro, a handful also have devices such as Mi 8, Redmi Note 4/7 Pro, Mi 9 etc.
why are we the people who support and play fair get lock for 7-30 days, and in the support received balanced responses of the type "You have violated the terms of the agreement". this problem is all over the world, and not a small amount of time is ignored by you.
— AnetUA (@AnetUA2) September 25, 2019
The aforementioned Twitter user has also launched a campaign on change.org appealing Niantic to mend their mitigation techniques against false positives. This applies not only to Pokemon GO but other Niantic titles such as Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Ingress Prime.
Until we get a clear response from Niantic’s support, we cannot determine the exact reason behind the Pokemon GO ban. But if you wish to avoid taking any chances, you can turn off the Game Booster feature by heading to the Security app in the apps drawer. Look for an option called Game Speed Booster. In this, you can either remove Pokemon GO from the list of boosted games or turn off the Game Speed Booster toggle from the app’s Settings.
That, however, may not resolve the issue, and if you still land with a ban, you may have to wait until Niantic’s response. We’ve written to them and will update the post accordingly.
Are you facing any similar ban on Pokemon GO in spite of using an authorized version of the app? Let us know in the comments below!
Update: Niantic investigating the issue
Pokemon GO developer Niantic announced on Twitter that they are investigating the issue which appears to be specific to certain Xiaomi devices. They have confirmed that the issue could presumably be because of Xiaomi’s GameTurbo feature, as reported by many of the users. However, they have yet to reach a conclusion on the actual cause of the issue.
We’re investigating reports of players getting flagged by our systems while using Xiaomi’s GameTurbo feature, and will share an update as soon as we are able.
— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) September 30, 2019
Update 2: Niantic promises re-evaluation of bans
Through its Twitter handle, Niantic Support issued an update, noting that they will revisit individual bans and revert wherever the update to Xiaomi devices has caused the issue. The company hasn’t revealed the exact reason which caused its systems to suspend or ban accounts.
As an update to our investigation into players using Xiaomi devices, we are continuing to investigate these reports, and revising punishments and Strike counts where appropriate. Thank you for your patience. https://t.co/W8ZYbKYlnR
— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) October 5, 2019