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A great thing about Android is its open nature. Any company can take Android’s open-source code and put it on a device. This doesn’t come without problems, though. Devices can be “uncertified” and lose access to some features. What does that mean?

Android devices can look wildly different depending on the customizations that the manufacturer makes. However, as different as they may look, Google wants to ensure some level of consistency across devices, both in functionality and security.

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

What Happens With an Uncertified Device?

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

In 2018, Google began warning users during the setup process that their device is not certified by Google. The user is still able to set up the phone and use it, but they can’t access the Google Play Store.

First and foremost, Google can’t ensure that the device is secure. These devices may not receive routine updates, which are critical for security.

Without Play Protect, there’s no certification that the Google apps on the device are real Google apps. These apps and features may also not work correctly.

If your device somehow still managed to have Google apps pre-installed, Google can shut them down. For example, as of March 2021, the Google Messages app doesn’t work on uncertified devices.

How to Check if Your Android Phone Is Uncertified

As previously mentioned, the vast majority of Android users don’t have to worry about their device being “uncertified.” In fact, if your device came with the Google Play Store, it’s almost certainly certified. Here’s how you can check.

Open the Google Play Store on your Android phone 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. Under “Play Protect Certification,” it will say whether your device is certified or uncertified.

certification listing

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

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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