Microsoft cracks down on Minecraft Earth Android APKs

What you need to know

  • The Minecraft Earth closed beta is now available on Android, following its iOS debut.
  • Some Minecraft Earth users now face errors following unauthorized downloads.

The Minecraft Earth beta recently expanded to Android, bringing Microsoft's upcoming augmented reality (AR) adventure to a fresh wave of devices. The ongoing tests saw over a month of early iOS trials, locked down to Apple's TestFlight program for pre-release applications.

An Android expansion brings new challenges for developer Mojang, combating the varied lineup of phones embracing its ecosystem. The flexibility of Google's operating system also opens an opportunity for third-party APK downloads, with users extracting Minecraft Earth's installation package for unauthorized distribution online. Overlooking the obvious security concerns of third-party installations, the APK bypasses the nature of Microsoft's limited access ahead of launch.

Microsoft appears to be cracking down on the Minecraft Earth Android beta, with users reporting licensing errors after sideloading the APK file. "We're having trouble verifying that you own Minecraft on this device," reads the pop-up, locking users out from the app. "Make sure that you have downloaded and installed Minecraft from the Microsoft Store. Or simply reconnect to the Internet and try again." It is possible to get back in, likewise, force closing the app and reloading it can present the error. So it could be something server-side, too.

With the Minecraft Earth beta is formally tied to five eligible cities and select devices, the app offers only a fraction of planned launch content. Overlooking misworded Microsoft Store references, the move doesn't come as a surprise, with clear incentives to curb unauthorized users in preparation for the full global debut. In the meantime, Minecraft Earth beta sign-ups remain live for an official chance to play ahead of launch.

Matt Brown