Netflix app not working? Your phone may have been blocked from the service

Rooting an Android phone gives you complete control over the device, but it could come at a price. Not only can rooting void your warranty, it can now block you from downloading the Netflix app.

Earlier this week those who had effectively jailbroken the device started to see the app being shown as “incompatible”. Netflix has now confirmed the app is blocking those who try to download it on rooted devices because it’s trying to protect copyright.

“With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google,” Netflix said. “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”.

The official Netflix listing on the Google Play store also confirms this. As well as widget fixes and “optimised playback experience for latest premium screens,” the page says the new version only works with Google certified phones. The Android app was updated on May 15.

Google’s Widevine technology is a digital rights management software that’s been designed to stop audio and video being used and shared without permission.

With the global nature of the web, DRM has proved a controversial issue in recent years. In April 2017, web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee said: “DRM is out of sync with the way the web is”.

This followed the World Wide Web Consortium attempting to create a new DRM standard that can be used across the web. In the US, author Cory Doctorow is suing the government in an attempt to remove DRM laws and create a world where computers aren’t “designed to control their owners”.