Google Messages could soon stop working for certain Android phones

Google Messages Hero
Google Messages Hero (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Code found in the Google Messages app indicates a cutoff date of March 31st for uncertified devices.
  • Google Messages has begun rolling out end-to-end encryption, and these same protections can't be ensured for uncertified devices.
  • This is subject to change, but the code is found in the latest version of Google Messages.

Google is slowly transforming its Messages app into one of the best iMessage alternatives for Android, particularly due to the adoption and rollout of RCS messaging, which adds some new rich messaging features that put it closer to parity to Apple's iMessage. There's still work to do though, and Google is currently working to ensure that chats within its Messages app are protected and secure. The latest app teardowns have discovered a firm move from the company as it prepares to kick off uncertified Android devices from using Google Messages.

Discovered by XDA-Developers is a string of code in Google Messages app version 7.2.203 that indicates a compliance message that will presumably be sent out to uncertified Android users that reads: "On March 31, Messages will stop working on uncertified devices, including this one."

It is likely due to Google Messages' latest end-to-end encryption that began rolling out to users last month. This was a long-awaited feature since RCS rolled out that secures users' chats and keep them protected. For now, it's only available to beta users, but we can walk you through how to enable end-to-end encryption on your Google Messages app. With uncertified Android devices, Google can't ensure these same protections.

Uncertified devices are those that have not passed Google's official certification process to use its services including its apps. These devices have to sideload Google apps in order to use them. This includes, but is not limited to, some of the latest and best Huawei phones available today.

Of course, this could change, as not everything found in-app code is necessarily destined to come to pass. The next update to Google Messages could remove this string in case the company changes its mind for whatever reason. But as it stands, users on uncertified Android smartphones should prepare to make the switch to another messaging app or a certified Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy S21 if Google Messages is your preferred texting app.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.