While using a pre-release version of Android sounds like an exciting experience, we usually don’t recommend the average joe to install Developer Preview builds, as they come with flaws. One of the usual flaws, the inability to use Google Pay, is actually no longer the case as of Android 11 Developer Preview 3.

Generally speaking, in order to use Google Pay’s contactless payment capabilities on your phone, you need to be able to pass a suite of tests called “SafetyNet.” The goal of the tests is to see if your phone has been altered in some way, including, among other things, having root access.

As part of these tests, SafetyNet will, in simplified terms, compare your phone’s software to the genuine software from your manufacturer. Typically, Google doesn’t put Android’s Developer Preview builds onto SafetyNet, which meant they wouldn’t appear as “genuine.” That’s, of course, a major simplification, and you can read more about this attestation process from Google’s documentation.

Today, Google released the third major version of the Android 11 Developer Preview, and with it, the company also appears to have properly listed the new version for use with SafetyNet. This afternoon, I was able to successfully set up contactless payments on a Pixel 3 XL running Android 11 Developer Preview 3, while our Abner Li was unable to do so on Developer Preview 2.1. To back up these results, the device also passed a manual SafetyNet check via the SafetyNet Test app from the Play Store.


Update 4/24: According to numerous reader reports, seen in the comments below, it appears that not all devices are able to pass SafetyNet while on Android 11 Developer Preview 3. We’re not sure at this time what factors are in play, as one reader with the Pixel 3 XL is unable to set up contactless payments, but my own Pixel 3 XL still passes SafetyNet checks.


Despite Google Pay seemingly working as it should, the Pixel series’ recently added “Cards & Passes” view does not appear when long-pressing the Power button.

That said, the ability to use Google Pay on Android 11 Developer Preview 3 is not quite as useful as it would normally be, given how many people are still under stay at home orders. Conversely, there’s definitely never been a better time to try to use contactless payments as much as possible.

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