Android security update disables GPS spoofing in Pokemon GO confirmed

A new March security patch has been released by Google for Android.  According to a code change in Android 7.1, apps that fake (mock) GPS location will no longer be able to hide that fact from the Android location subsystem.

In previous versions of Android, fake GPS apps were able to change users GPS location without disclosing that to the system, making it impossible for Pokemon GO to detect usage of such apps.

This exploit is now patched in Android 7.1:

Fix exploit where can hide the fact that a location was mocked
am: a206a0f17e am: d417e54872 am: 3380a77516
am: 0a8978f04b am: 1684e5f344 am: d28eef0cc2
am: 1f458fdc66 am: d82f8a67fc am: 1ac8affd51
am: 56098f81b6 am: 7cec76de0f
am: 2da05d0f9e

Apparently the patch is a part of Google’s March security updates and there is some indication that lower Android versions (6.0.1) could be receiving the same security update, you can read that in the reddit discussion.



Will this solve GPS Spoofing issue of Pokemon GO?

It’s a move in right direction, but this security patch will not solve the spoofing issue as of now. It will certainly reduce the number of potential spoofers in the months to come.

Two factors that will determine it’s effectiveness are:

First, players using GPS spoofing at the moment can opt out of updates and keep their Android version as it is now. This will allow them to spoof easily and dominate Gyms.

Second,  android adoption is slow, with a number of devices left out of the update cycle. Here is a breakdown on current Android version adoption stats:

  • Android version 7.1 is installed on 0.4% devices
  • Android version 7.x is installed on 2.4% devices
  • Android version 6.x is installed on 31.3% devices
  • Android version 5.x is installed on 32.5% devices
  • Android version 4.4 is installed on 20.8% devices
  • Rest is 4.3 and lower versions

So only a fraction of users will be affected by it (users who would prefer latest android over GPS spoofing).

However, it’s still a start and lets hope more steps are taken to make the game more enjoyable for everyone. Do leave comments on what you think about this move.