On February 14, 2022, the Government of India banned Garena Free Fire and 53 other applications by removing them from the India-specific Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It has been almost a year since the ban, and there have been no hints from Garena regarding the game's return date.
Amid all the speculation and rumors that have come about over the past year, Free Fire has not received an unban date. Thus, any information hinting at when the game might return should be taken as inaccurate until Garena or the Government of India confirms it.
Rumors around any Free Fire unban date should not be taken seriously unless Garena reveals anything
Though Garena's flagship BR game has been unavailable in India since February 2022, the Singapore-based game company has largely kept mum about its suspension. Considering the developer's lack of response to this "ban situation" in terms of the title's return date, it is safe to say one must not trust any unban rumor.
Fortunately, one can still access their FF game accounts in India as the servers are still active to date. Moreover, fans are still getting new events and Open Beta updates for it, with the most recent one being the OB38 patch.
How are Free Fire servers still active in India?
After FF was banned by India's MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), the game's MAX version remained untouched in the country. Reportedly, this was because the authorities had overlooked it. Hence, due to the availability of FF MAX, which is essentially the same game as Free Fire, one can access their game accounts in India. Interestingly, the former has a slightly larger download size due to its better visual quality.
The in-game data of FF and its MAX variant are synchronized. Thus, one doesn't require a separate account to recover their Free Fire progress, provided their game ID is linked to a specific platform.
For those unaware, guest account holders often lose their FF/FF MAX progress and data after either title gets an update or is uninstalled. Thus, it is crucial to bind one's account to a particular platform like Facebook, Gmail (or Apple ID), Twitter, or VK. This will safeguard the in-game data and help synch it on different devices simultaneously.
Avoid installing Free Fire from any unauthorized source
Many fans who own a low-end device don't install the MAX variant and go for FF's APK by downloading it from an unauthorized source. However, it is necessary to note that Garena only allows it to be downloaded via Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and brand-specific virtual application stores, such as Xiaomi Market and App Market (Oppo), Vivo App Store, and more.
Getting the APK from any unofficial source is prohibited, as per Garena, and will result in players getting banned from the title they downloaded. Therefore, it is important to avoid obtaining FF from any dubious platforms, especially if players are from India, where Free Fire is already banned. Hence, Free Fire MAX is the only viable option if players want to keep their game accounts unbanned.