The latest version of Netflix will not run on rooted Android phones and tablets

Though gaining root access to Android devices usually opens up avenues for more functions and privileges, changes to Netflix’s DRM practises will see root users hit a roadblock when attempting to access the popular streaming service.

“Your device isn’t compatible with the version” was the message that reportedly greeted a number of root Android users who attempted to access Netflix on the Google Play Store today, and the streaming service has now revealed that support for many unlocked devices will cease with the latest version of its app. Some users running legitimately unlocked bootloaders also found themselves blocked.

In a statement given to Android Police, a Netflix representative said “With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.”

For those who don’t know, Widevine is a Google company that provides multiplatform content protection to internet video delivery services. Devices are separated into three security levels, with rooted Android devices falling into the not-very-secure Level 3.

According to Android Police, Netflix version 5.0.4 is still functioning on their unlocked and rooted Galaxy Tab S, so it’s still unclear as to which devices will be affected.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.