It seems that a subtle change to Google Play Music’s policies have flown a bit under the radar. Google has recently changed the number of devices that you can deauthorize per year. That’s right. There is a limit to the number of devices you can remove access to annually.
Now, the problem is that the restriction only allows you to remove four out of your ten total allowed devices per year. Why is this a problem, you might ask? Well, if you are a casual Android user, it may not be an issue. If you, like many Android users, are rooted an enjoy flashing new ROMs to your handset, you may be in a bit of a pickle, as Google seems to have a poor way of linking your account to your devices.
Your Google Play Music account is tied to your handset by your Google account. When you authorize Google Play Music, you use up one of your ten total devices that can be authorized at once. Currently, it seems, Google doesn’t differentiate between the same device activating more than once, so if you flash ROMs frequently, you’ll run out of authorizations rather quickly. In my personal experience, I’ve used eight of my ten authorizations so far flashing once or twice a week. It does appear to be rather sporadic in choosing when to duplicate your devices, as I have one of my devices authorized four times while the rest are legitimate single ones that get flashed only a few times a month.
Your experience may differ, of course, but this news does not bode well for Google’s flourishing developer community. Here’s hoping Google either removes this restriction, or tweaks the detection on the devices so it does not eat up all of your slots. As far as work-arounds go, there’s always the tried and true method of backing up the Google Play Music app with its data via ADB, or a backup app like Titanium Backup, along with the Google Accounts. Once you flash your ROM, you can safely restore this data and reset the device in order to preserve your remaining slots.
Leave some comment below on how you feel about this or your tips and tricks to get around it.
UPDATE 16 May 2012:
A Google rep responded to say that they are currently working on a better way of identifying devices. As of right now, you may contact Google to have them manually reset your deauthorizations. This now only becomes an issue for reviewers, like myself, who get devices in and out frequently. They’ve also said that they will make exceptions for those cases.