[Updated] HTC U11 Android Pie update allegedly breaks Google Pay & Play Store certification, still no OTA for Sprint users

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on October 25, 2019) follows:

Android has literally disrupted the smartphone market. Owing to its rising popularity, Nokia had to halt their business for a short period until HMD Global revived the company. And today, the platform runs on more than two billions of devices around the globe.

You know HTC released the first ever Android phone, don’t you? Despite being the pioneer, they are going through the worst of their times. The value for money handsets along with their own reluctance to decrease the prices have brought them down in the market.

T-Mobile G1 / HTC Dream – the first commercially available Android phone

Timely firmware updates are paramount to a smartphone user. But, not everybody receives them. Some OEMs take a long time before they finally release the OTA. Oddly enough, some don’t even bother delivering them at least once.

HTC falls under the first category. They test the patience of the customers when it comes to software overhauls. Take the case of HTC U11. They untied Android Pie for the first time in May this year. However, the build got pulled soon after.

A month later, they officially resumed the rollout process. Slowly, the package found its way to different regions and carrier-branded units. US unlocked HTC U11 users got the same in the beginning of last month.

Well, that’s how it began. Many are experiencing problems with Google Pay, post the update. The strange thing is they could use the app immediately after installing Pie. Fast forward to a couple of days later, many started seeing issues with the payment application.

HTC U11 “Device is not Certified”
Hi everyone, I was using my U11 today and I paid for some stuff with Google Pay, no issues. This was about 2:00. Around 3:30, I went back to the same store and got an error screen saying “Your phone can’t make contactless payments as it doesn’t meet software standards.”
I poked around a bit and there’s a line in Play Store under Settings->About that says “Play Protect Certification” -> “Device is not certified”.
As far as I know I did not do anything between 2:00 and 3:30 with my phone, to heck with anything that would modify the system software.
Phone is running the Android 9 update, version 3.37.617.1. It’s an unlocked (no carrier lock) North American phone with one SIM slot. The bootloader is still locked, but if you open it you get a “Security checking failed DENY – Security Warning” then some message about flashing with unauthorized ROMs (I have never done this).
What on earth is going on? How do I get my phone ‘happy’ again so I can use Google Pay? Thanks…
edit: I did a full Factory Reset / Wipe from the bootloader and it’s still failing the security check (It also failed to download my Google Play app backups, so I had to do a lot of stuff by hand. Argh!)
edit 2: HTC called me on October 7 and confirmed a bunch of the details, mostly just what I said in my original email. The guy was very apologetic about the issue, said that a bunch of reports are coming in like that, and that they’re working on a solution and escalating it to some other troubleshooting team. It sounds like we just have to wait and see at this point. Remember to log your issue if you’re a new person with this problem though, the more info they have about failures the better.

HTC U11 Google Pay not working

The problem might be the error in communication between Google and the device. The search engine titan uses SafetyNet API to check whether or not your phone is tampered. Looking at the concerns, we think the update has brought something to mess with the API.

Obviously, having to fail in the SafetyNet attestation results in broken Google Play certification. And, you shouldn’t expect banking and payment apps to work as well. So, that’s what happened here. Something in the updated phone keeps on flagging it as tampered.

You can say lucky are those who use Sprint-branded HTC U11 because they didn’t get Android Pie. People are taking their frustrations out to different social media platforms as the carrier confirmed the update a year ago. Unfortunately, we don’t have a timeline yet.

HTC U11 pie update sprint

Update 1 (December 16, 2019)

Sprint is finally rolling out the stable Pie update.


Update 2 (January 13, 2020)

HTC needs more time to fix the SafetyNet issue. The unlocked model might receive a bugfix update soon, but there is no concrete ETA.

Hi Zlatko,

Welcome to HTC!

Thank you for contacting us. We are committed to delivering great customer experience. As such, we investigate all reported issues with Google Pay.

We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced and appreciate your patience as we work quickly to investigate this matter. In some instances, we may be able to deploy a software update to address an issue. We recommend you regularly check your device for updates and download them when available.

For other inquiries, please feel free to reply to this email.

Thank you and have a great day!


Angela, Technical Support
HTC Customer Care


Note:- Stay tuned to our HTC section for similar stories.

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Rahul Krishnan, a wordsmith from Kerala, India is always in lookout for his next article idea. He is a fanatic reader. And, the rumour is that his mom has recently hidden his debit card so that he won't buy books anymore. She doesn't know he has a spare one.