It’s well known by now that the U.S. ban on Huawei means that new phones from the company can’t include Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, and the Play Store. Some folks have gotten around that by sideloading Google apps onto new Huawei phones, but today Google has urged consumers not to do this.
In a new blog post, Google says that users should not sideload apps like the Play Store and Gmail onto Huawei devices because they may not work reliably and could result in the security of your phone being compromised.
“Sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised,” says Tristan Ostrowski, Android & Play Legal Director. “Sideloading Google’s apps also carries a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.”
Google explains that devices that are Play Protect certified to protect user data and privacy go through a rigorous security review and compatibility testing process. These devices also come from the factory with Google Play Protect software which provides protection against the device being compromised.
New Huawei devices launched after May 16, 2019 are not able to go through Google’s security process and will not get official access to Google’s suite of apps.
You can check to see if your device is Play Protect certified by launching the Google Play Store on your phone, tapping “Menu”, and then selecting “Settings”. There you’ll find “Play Protect certification” and see if your device has gotten certification.
While Google’s blog post isn’t likely to deter most folks who know enough about Android that they know how to sideload Google apps onto a device without them, this is still notable. That’s because Google hasn’t said much about the Huawei ban save for its statement last year saying only that it was “complying with the order and reviewing the implications.”