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LineageOS outlines position on SafetyNet
In a recent blog post, LineageOS shared its thoughts on SafetyNet, the API developed by Google that detects whether or not a device is in a “known-good state.”
With its help, developers have the option of hiding their apps on the Play Store for devices that don’t pass the SafetyNet tests. Additionally, they can also check the SafetyNet status of a device and disable certain functionalities of an app. What this means is that devices running LineageOS might have a smaller selection of apps available for download via the Google Play Store, which does present a problem for the vast majority of users.
LineageOS has recently said that despite this limitation, it has no plans to intentionally find a way around integrity checks Google has put in place for app developers. It also added that any action taken to bypass SafetyNet might result in a backlash against all custom operating systems, as Google just might decide to block them entirely from the Play Store.
LineageOS has shared some advice in terms of what its users who are experiencing the issues mentioned above can do. It feels that the best course of action for apps that are no longer visible in the Play Store is to find an alternative method of installation. When it comes to apps with disabled functionalities, LineageOS said that you might want to consider installing your device’s stock software and relock your bootloader.
SafetyNet checks may become more of a nuisance for rooted users, as Google recently gave developers the option to hide their apps from devices that have been tampered with. Notably, Netflix took advantage of this feature. The current workaround is to use Magisk, a tool that conceals system modifications from SafetyNet. Magisk itself was recently banned from the Play Store by Google, but its developers have vowed to carry on development.