Aug 8th, 2017

Did you know it’s possible to have too many Android devices tied to your Google account? Well, it’s true. Folks who find themselves with an unimaginable amount of devices linked up to the same account may eventually hit a point where Google basically forces you to sign out.

What’s The Limit?

As far as we can tell, there is no predefined limit. It seems Google has a flag system in place and will impose a limit on a per-account basis if they notice a bunch of devices being used in this manner. We’ve heard of cases where one person’s limit could be 35, while another’s is 60.

Note that this limit is not related to, say, Google Play Music’s 10-device limit for authorized music playback.

Why Is There A Limit?

Google doesn’t officially say it, but we can muster a guess. People using such a mass of devices are likely using them in a way Google doesn’t intend, ie businesses who want to issue tablets to employees (or schools wishing to do the same for students).

This is an attractive solution because it simplifies setup and could be more cost effective for situations where you need to buy premium apps and want multiple employees and students to use them. This obviously isn’t too fair to the developers offering the apps, though, so this could be the biggest factor in Google’s decision to impose a limit. There’s even a line about it in section 6 of Google Play’s terms of use:

Sharing. You may not use Content as part of any service for sharing, lending or multi-person use, or for the purpose of any other institution, except as specifically permitted and only in the exact manner specified and enabled by Google (for example, through “Social Recommendations”).

Also in section 6:

Limits on access on Devices. Google may from time to time place limits on the number of Devices and/or software applications you may use to access Content (for more information, please visit the Help link for the relevant Content within Google Play). Google may record and store the unique device identifier numbers of your Devices in order to enforce such limits.

So really, it’s all in Google’s right. We’re not sure what other criteria they use to determine whether you’re using devices in this manner, so your mileage in whether Google will ever impose this limit upon you may vary.

What Should I Do?

These scenarios should instead call for a Google for Education or Google for Work — also known as G Suite — setup. It may cost you more than you want to pay — a basic account of $5 per month per user with 60 users comes out to $300 per month — and the initial legwork might be a deterrent, but it would make your life easier in the long run (and would offer you more control and flexibility over not only the device deployment process but also continued maintenance).

Other Alternatives

If you’re not OK with going through Google proper then you really only have 2 pretty unattractive choices:

  • Use a third-party app store like Aptoide which doesn’t impose these restrictions. The downside here is that you may not be able to find the types of apps you need, and even then it’s always a crapshoot on the sort of support you can expect.
  • Work with the app developer to get an installation package independent of Google Play. This is likely to be much tougher than anything else you can do, however, and again — good luck getting those updates on time.

Our suggestion: go with G Suite. It’s really good, it works, and it’s going to be far less painful for you in the long run.

What If I Just Happen To Use A Lot Of Devices?

If you are an individual and have more than 30 Android devices that you actively use in a way that gets Google nervous, congratulations: you’re a really rare case and you just might have to learn to deal with it (or plead your case with Google and hope for the best).

More Questions?

Questions like this one pop up all the time, and you’ll be glad to know that there’s a perfect place you can ask them. Sign up for an AndroidForums.com account and download the Android Forums app to get help with your device, apps, carrier, and any other questions you might have about Android, Google, and tech in general, as our awesome community is always ready to help!

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