The recent Pokemon Go update (1.7.0 on iOS; 0.37.0 on Android) introduces the Buddy System, and it’s pretty cute! Unfortunately, if you have a jailbroken, rooted, or otherwise unlocked smartphone, you’ll be missing out.
“This device, OS, or software is not compatible with Pokemon Go,” reads a new in-game screen. Players are unable to move past the message into the game.
“Jailbreaking” or “rooting” a smartphone usually means subverting your phone’s security measures, and it’s not always done for nefarious reasons: some people want to mess around with custom settings and software; some want to circumvent carrier fees; and still others are simply uncomfortable with having a lot of restrictions on a device they paid good money for. Laws regarding the practice differ by country, but in the United States, it’s broadly considered legal, though phone makers like Apple can still put out software countermeasures or to block jailbreaking efforts or prevent a jailbroken phone from working.
Pokemon Go developer Niantic had previously warned users playing on jailbroken or rooted phones that it would be blocking access in a future update, in a bid to improve the game’s security and clamp down on cheaters. That hasn’t stopped some disappointed players from demanding compensation for losing access, especially the ones who bought any of the game’s in-app purchases (IAPs).
“I wouldn’t have had a problem with it if they blocked rooted users from launch,” says one upset user on Pokemon Go‘s main subreddit. “However, doing it 2 months into the [game’s release] after rooted users have invested time and money into the game, is completely unscrupulous.”
Players seeking refunds have met with varying success. There are also a few methods to circumvent the block if you’re playing on Android, which you can find on various forums and fan sites. However, if you haven’t yet downloaded 1.7.0 (on iOS) or 0.37.0 (on Android), my best suggestion is to just not update. Or if you already have, to revert back to the previous version, if you’re able to. You’ll miss out on Pikachu riding on your shoulder, but at least you won’t lose access to the game.
Top image: Pokemon Go‘s in-game Pokestop map of Alcatraz. No, really.