Google advises consumers to not sideload its Android apps on new, uncertified Huawei devices

Last May, the US government placed Huawei on an export blacklist that impacted its working relationship with Google. New Android devices from the Chinese company could not be certified to run Gmail, Maps, or the Play Store. Ahead of upcoming Huawei devices, Google has issued a lengthy consumer-facing statement about the situation, as well as an advisory to not sideload its Android apps.

Google on the Android Help Community this afternoon published an explainer about the entire Huawei situation that dates back to May 16, 2019 when Huawei was placed on the Commerce Department’s Entity List. As a result, Google and other US companies cannot collaborate with Huawei.

This means that Google is prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google’s apps including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, the Play Store and others for preload or download on these devices.

However, the US has issued temporary general licenses that permit Google to work with Huawei on security updates for existing device models only. This is Google’s longest comment about the matter aside from a tweet by @Android last May.

This statement — intended for regular consumers — comes as Google has received “questions about new Huawei devices.” Specifically, about how it’s possible to unofficially access — via sideloading — Google apps and services on those uncertified phones and tablets. Today’s advisory is meant to “provide clear guidance to those asking these important questions.”

Officially, Google recommends that users not sideload Google apps and services due to a “high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.” Besides safety concerns, Google cannot guarantee a reliable user experience.

Because of the government restrictions described above, new Huawei device models made available to the public after May 16, 2019 have not been able to go through this security process nor will they have Play Protect preloaded. As a result, they are considered “uncertified,” and will not be able to utilize Google’s apps and services.

In addition, sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably because we do not allow these services to run on uncertified devices where security may be compromised. 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.

The company is particularly worried about the average buyer of a new Huawei device wanting to access familiar Android apps like YouTube. In turning to online guides about sideloading Google services, there is a worry that the unofficial sources of those downloads could be malicious, and that regular users might not understand the risks involved.

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