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Google Music Only Allows You to Deauthorize Four Devices Per Year (Updated)

It’s tough to tell exactly when this change happened, but Google is now only allowing you to “Deauthorize” 4 devices per year in Google Music. What does it mean to “Deauthorize,” you ask? Since Google Music gives you the opportunity to attach up to 10 devices to your account, there may be a time when you reach that limit and need to remove one so that you can attach another. In order to add new devices once you have reached that limit, Google asks that you “Deauthorize” one.

For most users, this limit of 4 deauthorizations may never be an issue. However, for those that handle dozens of new devices throughout a year (like silly writers) or who flash ROM after ROM, this limit could be bothersome down the road. For ROM addicts, Google Music handles each ROM differently. At times, it will simply re-register your device as the same device, but in some cases, it thinks your new ROM is a new device, thus adding another to your list of the 10 available. Starting to see the problem?

Throughout the rest of 2012, you are going to have to be careful each time you flash a new ROM, to make sure it isn’t taking up another spot on your list. If it does, those 4 that you can “Deauthorize” may be gone before you know it.

To be fair to Google and the music industry, this move probably makes sense. If they allow you to “Deauthorize” at will, you and your friends could essentially share the same music collection forever. Headed to a party, but don’t have Billy Joe’s hot 100 collection? All you have to do is add his Google account to your phone, and authorize his Music account onto your device for the night. You could then download his entire collection if you’d like, making this an even stickier situation.

Not sure how Google can remedy this, but for now, we just recommend that you keep an eye on that list.

Update:  Google has apparently opened this back up for the time being. If you head into your Google Music accounts again, you should be able to deauthorize as many devices as you’d like.

Via:  Google Music

Cheers Shawn and everyone else!

  • migamix

    yay for cloud services with useless restrictions… nice while it lasted.. but back to my router’s built in ftp and 2Tb storage…

  • will bartlett

    i was just able to delete a device after getting the message earlier today that i couldn’t delete anymore.

  • In the end I just decided to download everything I had back to my desktop and place it all on a 32gb micro. What’s the use of streaming anyway? It just seems like a step backward, really.

  • Seems like ROM developers should be able to get around this. I can imagine a keyfile that ROM’s can save to and load on boot that make each ROM look the same. In fact, that might make it even easier to share your Google login — just trade this file around.

    I think this move will have unintended consequences that may end up making the problem worse for Google.

  • I called Google support, and they said they are working on a fix for users such as myself.

  • Jimneezy

    Lets just hope now Amazon doesnt follow the same path

  • Again, we really need a family library concept. Books, music, movies. One household, several users.

  • Valdeck

    I have to admit while I can see some legal issues with letting people mix and match multiple google music accounts their current set up is not going to work long term.

    One issues is if they want to sell unlocked carrier free phones they will have many people who want to flash roms and tinker and will hit that limit quick. If they would track by say IMEI number that would help alleviate some issues here.

    Another issue is defective or returned products. If you have a phone or tablet that you buy and return or that is defective and you used up your 4 then you can not remove them from your list and you do not even own that product anymore.

    Lastly there is several people who are reporting that when they wipe their device it adds another device in the list (though not for everyone it seems) and while PC’s are not supposed to count several people have shown 5 or 6 entries of the same PC that have clogged up their list.

    I do not know how they can fix this but either the reporting system needs a new method of tracking or maybe letting us have unlimited device deauthorizes but only letting us have one registered and working google music account and then letting us change that account 4 times a year?

  • jeradc

    I just want to know how my wife and I can both have the music on our shared computer synced to our respective Google Music accounts / phones.

  • PC_Tool

    Coolio. Goodbye Google Music.

    It was neat while it lasted, but this….uninstalled. I’ll download my music on my PC when I get home tonight and it looks like I’ll just be going on-device for a bit.


    Someone will come along with a better way to store it in the cloud anyway…if they haven’t already (and I just missed it…)

    • I, too, hope that a better product comes along soon. One that enables true 2-way syncing between cloud and device, sophisticated tag editing, smart playlists, advanced EQ, etc. All of those things that are important to people who love music.

      • PC_Tool


        I’m probably one of the few people who would *love* to see the Zune software for Android. Loved the software for that…

    • Audio Galaxy.

      I just am ticked because I wanted something better than iTunes and Google just missed it by *that much.

  • Chris

    Damn, only 4 more rom changes for the rest of the year……Sucky. . .

  • Nope, sorry. No excuse. Google Music only allows you to download twice without using the music manager which will download your whole collection (grab a Snickers). I’m over it. Amazon almost always beats the prices, and so far doesn’t care how or where I download my music. It is, after all, my music. Also, BTW, I’ve flashed two fresh installs of the same version of Gummy and each was counted as a new device.

  • jcorf

    So, this is a glitch and Google has plans to fix it, right?

  • Wait… we can deactivate devices but they can’t figure out how to get my old devices off of Google Play? Really?!

  • Simple… Im not going to use the service any longer. This will be a huge problem for me.


    On top of new ROMs every now and then, I also wipe Windows fairly often to keep it from getting bogged down. And if there is a Linux client I ever decide to use, I’m screwed.

  • NorCalGuy

    I had this issue arise about a.month ago but when I did go on my computer I was able to deauthorize all ten devices and then I was able to authozie my phone and tablet again.

  • i wonder if its a rolling 12 months.

  • Yeah, I just looked and my GNex is listed like 6 times. Pretty lame.

  • MikeCiggy

    I hope now that the issue has been raised google is able to find a solution. Like some have said maybe registering with the IME number. It shouldn’t be much of an issue unless your a heavy user with a bunch of devices. You can add ten so if you deauthorize 2 devices a month that you know are old builds of your phone there are still plenty of slots available.

    I’m not making an excuse for them just trying to help some of you out. Start deauthorizing useless device listings now and keep the list clean and you should be fine.

  • i have already deauthorized 4 versions of my galaxy Nexus

  • Addinsx

    I actually ran into this yesterday afternoon. Called up Google and being that Google is awesome, they talked it out with me. Seems this is a rather new policy, and the woman on the phone wasn’t sure the reason behind it. Long story short, she was not authorized to do anything about it, but forwarded it to the higher up. Turns out I was her 3rd call in a row on the matter. Not sure anything will change, but maybe they can give us some sort of grace period.

  • Sven Enterlein

    This whole deauthorization crap reminds me of why I hate iTunes…

  • bvgillis

    Wow, after reading more comments I am beginning to think D-L has uncovered a serious problem with Google Music.

  • Liquidretro

    I have 3 devices I listen to GM on. 1 Phone that I flash roms on, 1 HP Touchpad that is constantly getting updates to CM9, and a Computer I reformatted. With these 3 devices I have used up all 10 of my authorizations. What a poor authorization system.

  • Corey Foltman

    Uh-oh, i just deauthorized 3 devices…and I have 4 different Nexus’ showing up: Nexus, Nexus LTE, Google Samsung Galaxy Nexus and CoFoltman84-Nexus…Plus the 2 computes I use…so I’m at 6 devices and can only delete 1 more this year? AWESOME

  • bvgillis

    I am curious what sort of token El Goog is using to register a device. What could they possibly be gathering that would change every time a device is updated.

    The only way I would even think to register a device is by MAC address- which is 1 totally unique number for each device that would never change.

  • cgalyon

    Wonder how we can let them know that this is bogus. They’re a pretty resourceful bunch, they should be able to figure out a solution.

  • Richard Garrison

    Looks like I will be using amazons cloud player after all.

  • iamcc88


  • Mark Lewis

    Looks like I’ll be holding off on flashing CM7.2 RC2 until it hits final.

  • hockeytownmatt

    The only time my Rezound shows as authorized again is when I received the OTA. I’ve been flashing ROM’s for the past 2 months or so and no need to reauthorize. I know everyone is screaming for Google to fix this, but it is necessary to keep the RIAA on board. The dev community will probably take care of this in some way…making sure the ID of the phone remains the same on each ROM. I changed my build.prop before my Rez was supported so that I could watch mlb.tv on my phone, and no need to reauthorize, so I don’t think it is looking at that.

  • Jeff Tycz

    FYI if google counts computers as devices then if you reformat your computer like i did several months back, that computer will show up twice on the list counting against the 10 devices. I currently have my computer on the list twice because of it

  • Mohawk3

    Google needs to fix this. This is ridiculous that just because I flash my galaxy nexus, it thinks there is a new device. The limit of 4 per year is too low. How about dropping the number of allowable devices to 5 or 6 and then increase the number of deauthorizations if they can’t recognize the same device? Is there some backup that Titanium Backup or the like can createso that Google music sees a device already authorized after a ROM flash?

  • bakdroid

    Yet another reason rooting and ROMing is wrong and should be illegal….


  • Strange that I did not have a problem deauthorizing 7 devices yesterday. I tried to use the Music app yesterday and got a warning that I had too many devices authorized and had to remove some to use the app on my G-Nex. Went into the Play Music settings, and deauthorized 7 devices without issue. Maybe I got in there and did it before they put everything in place to prevent me from doing that?

    • stush0104

      I too didn’t have a problem doing the same thing about a week or 2 ago. I just went in now and sure enough, it gave an error message saying I have deauthorized too many devices.

      • Well I guess I wont be going back in and trying to deauthorize any more. I’m surprised that I got away with doing it only yesterday though.

        • TheCraiggers

          Why so surprised? If it had to be implemented some time, why not last night?

  • RampageDeluxe

    I don’t run custom firmware on my tablet, but my tablet is listed 4 times. Apparently it counts every update I receive on my device. If thats the case, then you can’t do a regular update on your device without it counting against this limit. That is a major flaw. Good thing that Amazon mp3 is still a viable alternative.

  • Matt Gondek

    I’ve been using Titanium to restore Google Music each time I flash a ROM. I’m currently at 9 devices and need a new laptop, so looks like I’m rocking AOKP M5 for awhile

    • r0lct

      So just so I’m clear: Even restoring Music results in a new activation?

      Also I dirty flash AOKP and usually go 5+ builds before I have to wipe because of a problem.

      • Matt Gondek

        I noticed that whenever I restored my backup new music would never sync to my GNex, so I’d end up re-installing and maybe that’s where I got screwed. Thanks for the dirty flash tip though, silly devs and their ass covering haha

  • Art Holguin

    would using a back up apk/data of gmusic work? I have to see if I’m at my limit which I think I might be since I flash roms quite regularly.

    • Art Holguin

      I show 4 gnex my work and home computer and I can’t deauthorize those so i’m at my limit i’ll try to go from a backup .

    • Chris Malkiewicz

      I’m to scared to try!!

    • Schoat333

      You can restore data for Google play music, when you flash a new rom, and it does not register a new device.

      • Art Holguin

        I just realized I hadn’t opened gmusic on latest flash so restored off backup w/data and all is well here. if it wasn’t for that backup I would be locked out right now.


    • Can someone confirm this?

  • I am at the limit.

  • Joshu

    I’ve already used those four up and I’ve got 4 old entries on my list of devices that I can’t remove. I like flashing more than Google Music, so goodbye Google Music I suppose. That’s a shame.

  • Ok somebody find a work around now

  • This is great i just tried to clear out the ones i had so far for this and I have already used my 4???? seriously I am at 5/10? Good thing i develop and flash 9 roms a day, i wont be able to use this by tomorrow

    • Jon Lambert

      Just stop installing google music

  • eleazar

    Not sure what I’m going to do now. I flash a new rom at least once per week. Google needs to figure out a way to detect differences between a new rom and a new device. 🙁

  • Do we know if it counts laptops/desktops or only mobile?

    • It counts all devices. Just checked, I have “10” devices registered (more like .. 5 with duplicates) and I can’t take any of them off.

    • Chris Malkiewicz

      Pretty sure its any device you connect

  • Aw crap. This will suck.

  • someone had raised an idea of registering the device with the IME number, which would never change if you flashed a new ROM. Seems like it would be a simple enough solution and would solve this problem for ROMmers and keep the RIAA happy.

    • BrianWenger

      Either that or a device serial number, if that’s possible.

    • SecurityNick

      I thought I read somewhere that it’s supposed to track by MAC Address, which is hard coded, and shouldn’t matter if you change ROMs. Something obviously is not working correctly if this is supposed to be the case as I routinely visit the play.google.com or recently had to deauthorize a bunch on google.com/music.

      • ERIFNOMI

        MAC addresses identify a device on a network and shouldn’t go any further than that. Some devices have a rolling MAC that changes with reboots. IME and the like would work better. It’s the same number used to identify lost and stolen phones and is unique to each device.

        • Brain4Prez

          I don’t believe that is true. Are you confusing this with an IP address? You can change a MAC address, but in actually you’d have to spoof that address.

          • SecurityNick

            Correct. MACs are hard coded by the manufacturer, might as well be a serial #, in fact lots of manufacturers use the MAC as the serial #. It actually would be the most logical thing to use in this case.

          • ERIFNOMI

            Normally, yes. But in some instances, a company will just buy a block of addresses and each phone randomly picks one within that range. It shouldn’t do it every reboot, but I know that was an issue with some Galaxy Nexii.

            Point is, MAC addresses are not entirely unique. They can be reissued and the chances of you having two devices with the same MAC are very slim. If they want unique IDs (which you’d think they would for this case) they should go with IMEI (GSM) and MEID (CDMA). That would cover phones, anyway.

      • i just tried to Deauthorize my 5th version of my Galaxy Nexus and it will not allow me.

    • Richard Garrison

      Some one on XDA started a petition. It might not change anything, but it never hurts to try.

    • Click though the link DL posted. They state ”
      We may record device identifiers including your computer’s MAC address or device identifiers such as IMEI or MEID for mobile devices in order to…”

  • Derek Stiles

    Wow that’s stupid….