A new update to Niantic’s “Pokemon Go” intended to boost interest in the game whose popularity has fallen off since its release in July has blocked out many phones from using the GPS-based app altogether.
Niantic announced on its Facebook page Saturday that any rooted or jailbroken Android or iOS devices will now be blocked from playing “Pokemon Go.” Rooting a device allows users the ability to modify every aspect of its software, and Niantic is blocking such devices to prevent hackers from manipulating their GPS data (called “spoofing”) to allow them to search for Pokemon on the app without having to actually walk around in the real world.
The game developer also introduced a “buddy system” that allows users to select one Pokemon to walk with them and gain extra experience while searching for gyms and new Pokemon.
The update has been received poorly by some users. Some “Pokemon Go” users have started a Change.org petition against the update, saying that Niantic is punishing root users for the actions of a few hackers.
There have also been complaints that the new update does not include a fix for the game‘s defunct tracking system, which Niantic removed in August while shutting down third-party apps that allowed users to find exact spawn locations for each Pokemon.
Fortunately, there is a way for owners of rooted Androids to work around the new update, though the process is complicated.
Tech blog Android Police has published a step-by-step guide to circumvent Niantic’s block using a mod called Magisk that can be used by any rooted Android with an unlocked bootloader. When finished, Magisk will allow you to turn off root access to your phone, which makes the “Pokemon Go” system think the device has not been rooted.
“Pokemon Go” users should be advised that the process to install Magisk, like any root program, can be risky. Rooting opens access to every part of a phone’s operating system, and it is possible to render it inoperable if users don’t know what they’re doing. TheWrap is not responsible for any damage done to your device should you decide to use Magisk.
While it still gets millions of hours of play from devoted fans, “Pokemon Go” has had trouble sustaining the overwhelming popularity it enjoyed in mid-summer.
A Bloomberg report revealed that the number of daily active users on the app has been on a downward trend.