- Code snippets found by XDA DevelopersÂ suggest Google Messages wonâ€™t support uncertified devices after March 31, 2021.
- Uncertified devices are those Android devices that Google hasnâ€™t officially cleared to access its Mobile Services.
- Since May 2019, new Huawei devices have fallen into that category.
Update: January 22, 2021 (12:10 AM ET): Yet another Google app could soon join Messages in ending its support for uncertified Android phones. As discovered by 9to5Google, Google Duo may cease to function on â€œunsupported devicesâ€� â€” devices that would not be compliant to run Google Mobile Services â€” in the future.
While itâ€™s unclear when Google will strip the functionality of its video messaging app from unsupported phones, thereâ€™s no telling if this is the last of Googleâ€™s messaging app suite that will be affected.
Original article: January 20, 2021 (11:24 AM ET): Google Messages may soon stop working with uncertified Android phones, including those made by Huawei. New code snippets found by XDA Developers in version 7.7.203 of the app suggest the app wonâ€™t support devices it hasnâ€™t officially certified to run Google Mobile Services (GMS) after March 31, 2021.
Huawei agreed to migrate its users to Messages in 2018 when Google was trying to build a critical mass of RCS adoption. However, when the US government put the company on the Commerce Departmentâ€™s Entity List in 2019, Google could no longer work with Huawei. Since then, new Huawei devices have shipped without any Google-made apps, including Messages. But thatâ€™s not to say people havenâ€™t been able to get around the ban. Messages is one the few first-party apps you can easily sideload on phones that donâ€™t have access to GMS since you donâ€™t need a Google account to use it. That wonâ€™t be the case as of later this year.
XDA suggests the upcoming restriction is likely tied to the fact Messages will support end-to-end encryption. Were Google to continue to allow uncertified devices to run Messages, it would be difficult for the company to guarantee conversations involving uncertified devices werenâ€™t compromised. The feature is currently in beta, but an official rollout could start sometime this year.
If youâ€™re currently using Google Messages on an uncertified device, consider checking out one of these alternatives before the cutoff date.