We all know Google owns the Android OS, but because the OS is open source, anybody can wake up one day and start manufacturing and selling Android phones. Google is aware of this, so it put in place an Android Device Certification programme, called Google Mobile Services (GMS).
The aim of the programme is to ensure all Android phone manufacturers follow a strict Android security and permissions model – and to ensure a level of durability of Android devices. Also, the Android Device Certification programme grants Android phone manufacturers the access to pre-installing the Google Apps package – which contains Google Play Store, YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Chrome, etc.
Most importantly, certified Android phones by Google are protected by Google Play Protect, which helps protect against malware, virus, and hacks.
However, even though Google has this certification programme in place, some Android phone manufacturers circumvented it and decided not to join the programme. They just manufacture their own Android phones and start selling, leading to the release of substandard and uncertified Android phones.
To counter these manufacturers that didn’t join the GMS programme, Google has, in recent time, started blocking uncertified Android phones. The uncertified phones are blocked from accessing Google Play Store and other Google apps. Google is doing this in order to enforce its Android Device Certification programme and to make sure all Android phone manufacturers comply.
Now that you have known that Android phones are ought to be certified by Google, how do you know if yours is certified or not? This post will show you how to do that.
How to Know If Your Android Device is Certified by Google
First and foremost, if your Android phone is made by reputable Android phone makers like Samsung, HTC, Huawei, Xiaomi – and Google itself (if you use a Google’s Pixel phone), you don’t have anything to worry about. It is those that use cheap Android phones from Chinese makers that have to worry about whether their phone is certified by Google or not.
So if you want to know if your phone is certified, you have two ways you can do that. You can check if your Android phone is certified by Google by checking the Android certification status on the Google Store app on your phone. Or by downloading the latest copy of the Google’s Supported Android Devices document – and search for the name and model number of your phone.
Know if Your Phone is Certified through Play Store
To know if your Android phone manufacturer passed through the Google’s Android Device Certification programme and if your device is certified through Play Store, follow these steps.
- Launch your Google Play Store app
- Tap on the hamburger icon – towards the top-left corner
- Scroll until you see Settings, and tap on it
- On the Settings page, scroll to the About section and look out for Device certification. If your device isn’t certified by Google, you would see Uncertified; if it is certified, you would see Certified.
The above steps are useful if you had already bought the Android phone and want to know if it was certified by Google.
Imagine, you are buying a new Android phone. A new Android phone must be set up for a first-time use before you can access any app include the Google Play Store. Do you think the phone seller would allow you to run the first-time use set up and check if the phone is certified through the Play Store?
I don’t think so. Most phone sellers only allow people that have paid to power on the phone and run the first-time use set up. This is why the Google’s Supported Android Devices document is useful.
Google keeps and populates the list of all the Android phones it has certified in the document. Within weeks that a new, certified Android phone is released into the market, Google adds its name and model number to the Supported Android Devices document.
So before you buy a new Android phone, it is advisable you download the document and check if the new phone you want to buy is certified or not. Here is how to know if your (or a new) Android phone is certified by Google through the Supported Android Devices document.
Know if Your Phone is Certified through Supported Android Devices Document
- The document is hosted on the Google’s Supported Devices page. Download it
- One the page, locate the section titled Full list of supported devices
- Click on View as PDF – to download the document in PDF; click on View as CSV, if you want it in an Excel spreadsheet
From my experience, the PDF version is better – it turned out that searching for the names and models of Android phones is easier in the PDF format than the CSV format.
- Open the PDF or CSV document, and you will see a long list of the names of all certified Android phones by Google since the inception of the OS.
The list has four columns namely Retail Branding, Marketing Name, Device, and Model.
- Now, press Control F on your keyword to bring out the search box
- Type in the Model Number of the phone if you know it. If you don’t know it, type in the Marketing Name (i.e, the name you heard in the phone’s advertisements; it is also the name tech blogs call it in the “specs and price” blog posts).
If the Android phone is certified by Google, you would see it in the document. If you don’t see it, it is either the phone is very, very, very new or it’s not certified by Google. If you are sure the new phone has been released into the market going to one month, but you couldn’t see it on the list, no two ways about it – the phone isn’t certified by Google.
At the time of the publication of this article, Tecno Camon X is one of the newly released Android phones in the Nigerian Android market, and it is already on the list.
AfriOne Gravity Z1 is not on the list
Early last year, AfriOne Gravity Z1 was released and was purported to be the first made-in-Nigeria smartphone. One checking the Google’s Supported Android Devices document, neither the phone maker’s name nor the device name was on the list.
The Google’s Supported Android Devices document has its list arranged in an alphabetical order, and after Affix, it was AfriOne that ought to follow. Instead, it was Aikun that follows. That appears surprising as the phone has been launched more than a year ago.
Anyways, now you know how to check if your Android phone is certified by Google.
It’s worth saying that the Supported Android Devices document not only keep the list of certified Android phones, but it also keeps the list of certified Android tablets and phablets. So whether you are buying a new Android phone, tablet, or phablet, check the document to confirm its certification by Google.
Also, the document only keeps the main names and models of certified Android phones. If a phone is available in two or more variants, you would only see one name and model number for the phone. For example, the Tecno Camon X is available in two variants; the standard Camon X and Camon X Pro. When you check the document, you would only see Tecno Camon X — it represents the two variants.
Buy wisely. Buy certified.
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