Have a rooted Android phone, or one with an unlocked bootloader? Then you may not be able to download Netflix from the Google Play Store anymore.

As spotted by Android Police, the official Netflix app is now described as “incompatible” with devices that have been rooted or which have unlocked bootloaders (even if they haven’t been rooted).

The funny thing is that the Netflix app continues to work just fine on those devices. You just can’t download it from the Play Store anymore.

My Nexus 5X, for instance, has an unlocked bootloader but has not been rooted. When I search for Netflix in the Play Store from my phone, I can’t find it. But since I’d previously installed Netflix, it’s already on my phone. And a quick test shows it continues to function exactly as expected: I can browse and search the Netflix catalog, and play videos without any problems.

I’ve got Netflix 4.16 installed on my phone, but Android Police notes that if you sideload version 5.04 onto a unlocked and/or rooted device, it also works.

According to a statement from Netflix, version 5.0 and later requires Google’s Widevine DRM and “only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.”

Since my device is no longer considered compatible, I”m not expecting an update to Netflix 5.0 anytime soon… which would be fine by me if I knew for certain that the older version of the app would continue to function indefinitely. But there are no guarantees of that.

Meanwhile, you can always grab the latest version of the app from a third-party app directory such as APK Mirror… or grab an older version of the Netflix APK directly from the Netflix website.

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11 replies on “You can’t download Netflix on rooted, unlocked Android phones anymore (from the Play Store, at least)”

  1. You’re a life saver. I just love how they try to make everyone’s life easy but there’s always a turn around. Thanks

  2. I have Xiaomi Mi Mix and because I bought it with the English ROM installed (instead of the stock Chinese) I haven’t been able to use Netflix. It’s installed but I can’t login now that a few update cycles have passed. Can’t download app from Netflix site either for unknown reasons. Time to go third party

  3. It’s significantly easier to make an app believe your phone is unrooted on a rooted phone than the other way around. I think there’ll be a solution soon.

  4. Wel all knew this is part of the end game the media companies have in mind for us. We all mindlessly consume on loacked endpoints tethered to them and the PC becomes an XBOX, also tethered. The days when general purpose computing was something the masses could access draw to a close. A computer is a lever for the mind, something far too dangerous for the masses for if they begin to think it threatens the established order. Best they sit and consume, dream the dreams carefully packaged, vetted and sold by the establishment.

    1. And people got mad at me when I suggested similar things about Windows S. Support general computing everywhere!

      1. +1. I also wear my downvotes as a badge of honor whenever I speak against DRM and dumbed down devices.

  5. I have noticed this some weeks ago… Apkmirror has the app and it works fine! In reality i tried to install this in my SlimRomed Galaxy TabPro after removing it because I couldn’t get downloads (offline content) to work. So it maybe that that’s the same reason!
    In any case between netflix and these roms for this tablet i would choose the roms every time…

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