Amazon’s Appstore doesn’t work on Android 12

Photo of Amazon Appstore on Pixel 6 Pro

The Amazon Appstore has some issues and it could be Amazon’s own DRM.
Photography: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Overall, the Android operating system is a more open platform than its iOS rival. But that doesn’t mean third-party app stores on Google devices always work well.

If you’re an Amazon Fire Tablet user, you may have downloaded the Amazon Appstore to your Android phone, perhaps because you got a free app from Amazon and don’t want to pay for it again through the Google Play Store. On Android, it’s as easy as loading an APK from an Amazon app. But Android 12 may have introduced a compatibility issue for the app store. According to Liliputing, it seems that the latest version of Android does not work with Amazon’s built-in DRM.

An October 2021 a thread dating back to the time when Android 12 began to be released on devices called “Amazon Appstore doesn’t work after Android 12 [sic] update ”was followed by a number of responses detailing the same disease. “It doesn’t even work on Android 12 on my Pixel 6,” one user wrote. “Same problem on Pixel 5,” wrote another.

The post has since collected more than 100 responses and thousands of views. An Amazon staff member eventually addressed the original post, writing that “our technical team is aware of the problem.” However, they still seem to be looking for a solution, and simply assuring you that you have the latest version of the Amazon Appstore installed won’t fix much.

Amazon said The Verge is aware of issues affecting application performance, adding that it does not appear to affect Amazon Fire Tablets or Fire TVs.

Photo of three screenshots of Amazon's problems

Amazon is now alerting you to problems with the Appstore on Android 12.
Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

When you download the Amazon Appstore to an Android 12 device, as I did on the Pixel 6 Pro, there’s a giant banner at the top that says, “We’re excited about Android 12, too. Unfortunately, we’re solving some problems. Thank you for your patience as we return your Appstore. ”

The banner doesn’t appear on my OnePlus 9, which is still on Android 11. Anecdotally, I can also report that the Amazon Appstore is slower on the Pixel 6 Pro, and some page categories don’t even load. The only apps that appear are those released by Amazon. By comparison, OnePlus 9 had no problem downloading apps.

There could be a problem regarding Amazon’s built-in DRM, as one commenter in the topic noted that a little expert-level fixing could allow Amazon’s apps to run on Android 12 devices. This includes decompiling the APK on an older version of Android, and then recompiling it to work with a self-signed certificate. But at this point, you better look for the app in the Google Play Store.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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