Rooting is a process which allows users to dive deeper into a phone’s sub-system. Essentially, it allows them to access the entire operating system and be able to customize just about anything on Android.
Rooting does involve a little bit of technical skill, so traditionally only power Android users have attempted to tinker their devices in this way. But as it turns out, rooting your gadget doesn’t always bring about positive effects.
If you are the owner of a rooted handset, it looks like you’re out of luck, as Android Pay won’t work on your device. Now if you’re wondering why this is the case, Google security engineer jasonclinton_google has taken to the xda-developers forums to explain the decision:
“Google is absolutely committed to keeping Android open and that means encouraging developer builds. While the platform can and should continue to thrive as a developer-friendly environment, there are a handful of applications (that are not part of the platform) where we have to ensure that the security model of Android is intact.”
The ensuring process referenced here is done via the SafetyNet API, which means that Android devices need to by-pass a compatibly test suite first before it allows Android Pay to work. This is a different approach from Google Wallet’s, which had the ability to independently evaluate the risk of the transaction.
But with Android Pay being tied to a myriad of payment networks, banks, credit unions and such, Google can no longer keep tabs on everything. Android Pay makes use of tokens to pass the credit card info to merchants, so the search giant has to work directly with payment networks and banks.
What’s more, the engineer does seem doubtful that Android Pay will ever work on rooted devices. He does emphasize that this is merely his opinion and he does not know what the future might hold.
According to earlier information, devices using third-party lockscreens won’t be able to use Android Pay either, so it seems that Google is doing everything possible to ensure that your information is kept safe.