What is an “uncertified” Android device?

One of the great things about Android is its open nature. Any business can take Android’s open source code and transfer it to a device. However, this is not without problems. Devices can be “not certified” and lose access to some functions. What does that mean?

Android devices can look very different depending on the manufacturer’s adjustments. As different as they look, Google wants to ensure a certain level of consistency across all devices, both in terms of functionality and security.

What are Android skins?

Google has a list of requirements called Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). These requirements must be met for a device to use the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) and be certified.

What happens to a non-certified device?

Uncertified Android devices are very rare. The most common situation that results in an uncertified device is rooting or custom ROMs. If you get your hands on an uncertified device, there are a few things you should know about it.

In 2018 Google started warning users during the setup process that your device is not certified by Google. The user can still set up and use the phone but cannot access the Google Play Store.


First and foremost, Google cannot ensure that the device is secure. These devices may not receive routine updates that are critical to security.

Without Play Protect, there is no certification that the Google apps on the device are real Google apps. These apps and features may not work properly either.

If your device still managed to have Google apps preinstalled, Google can shut them down. To the example, As of March 2021, the The Google Messages app is not working on non-certified devices.

How to check if your Android phone is not certified

As mentioned earlier, the vast majority of Android users don’t have to worry that their device is “not certified”. If your device came with the Google Play Store, it is almost certainly certified. Here’s how you can check that out.

Open the Google Play Store on your Android smartphone or tablet. Tap the hamburger menu icon to open the sidebar menu.

Select “Settings” from the list.

Select settings

Scroll down to the About section. The Play Protect Certification shows whether your device is certified or not.

Certification list


That’s it! If you find that your device is not certified and you haven’t changed it, you can go to Google’s list of supported Android devices to see if yours is included.

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