When we discuss about security, be it on mobile devices or platforms or even applications, “encryption” is one word that is thrown around frequently. While individuals think about encryption on various applications, very few people know that they can even encrypt their Android gadget. Even though encryption has been a part of the Android platform since 2.3 Gingerbread, the feature has come to attention now, with the entire world taking security and privacy seriously. So, if you are someone who utilizes your Android smartphone to store sensitive information or private data, you ought to consider encrypting your gadget. Initially, let’s talk about why you ought to encrypt your Android gadget.
Why You Should Encrypt Your Android Device
For people unaware, encryption is one of the best approaches to secure any data. In basic terms, encryption converts all the data into a secret or random code, in cipher text, which can’t be deciphered by unauthorized parties. On an Android gadget, encryption ensures that only people with the password or PIN can access the data.
You may be thinking, how is that different than your regular PIN or password protection. Well, the data saved on an Android gadget can be accessed through various approaches even if you have set up a lock. If you have an encrypted gadget, the data can’t be accessed or decrypted without entering the PIN or password. For example, if you lose your gadget, the thief might be able to access the data but if you have an encrypted gadget, decrypting the data would require some serious abilities, considering all the data is in random form aka cipher text.
Things to Know before You Encrypt Your Android device
Now that you know why you ought to encrypt your Android gadget, here are a few key things you should know before you start with the process of encryption:
- When you encrypt an Android device, all thepersonal data on the device like photos, music, videos, files, messages, contacts, Google account data, application data etc. are encrypted. But, some applications also store data on their servers, which aren’t encrypted in the process.
- Once you have encrypted your Android device, you can onlyremove encryption through a factory reset. There’s no other technique to remove encryption.
- You can also select toencrypt the contents of an SD card by utilizing the Adoptable Storage feature that was introduced with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. This feature lets you utilize a portable storage card as a part of internal storage.
- When a device is encrypted, every time you lock your device, all the data is encrypted and when you unlock the device, the data goes through decryption. Now, as you may have guessed, this process does take some resources from your device. So, don’t be surprised if encrypting your devicetakes a little toll on the device’s performance. Chances are, you won’t notice the performance difference on a modern day high-end or mid-end device but if you own a low-end or older Android device with modest specifications, you ought to brace yourself for a slightly slow device after encryption.
- Many Android devices like the Google Pixel line-up, newer Nexus device etc. areencrypted by default and while Google has made encryption compulsory by default with Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later, manufacturers can select to ignore it citing performance issues on modestly powered gadgets. You can check if your gadget is encrypted or not in Settings->Security->Encrypt Phone.
- Last but not the least, if you have arooted Android device, the encryption process might cause some problems. So, if you truly need to encrypt your Android gadget, do ensure that you unroot your gadget first.
Steps to Encrypt an Android Device
The steps to encrypt an Android device are pretty simple but before you start the process, you will have to ensure of a few things:
- The encryption process might take an hour or longer or even less, depending on the amount of data on your device.
- Your device wants to be fully charged (or 80% charged in some devices) and you will have to keep the charger plugged in throughout the process.
- If you unplug your device during the process, the data on the device might be erased, so you should be careful.
- Also, as we mentioned, if you have a rooted Android device, you will have to unroot your device first.
Well, now let’s begin with the process:
- First, head toSettings->Security. Here, you will find the option dubbed “Encrypt phone” (or Encrypt tablet).
- When you tap on it, you will be presented with all the details regarding the encryption process. At the bottom, find the option that says “Encrypt Phone” and tap on it. If you don’t have the charger plugged in, the option will grayed out.
- Then, you will have toenter the PIN, passcode or pattern. Once you’ve entered, you will again be prompted toconfirm that you indeed want to encrypt your device. Here, tap on “Encrypt Phone” to start the process.
- The encryption process will then begin and your device will reboot a few times. Once done, your device will start up and you will have to unlock the device, after which the device will reboot again.
- After it’s done, you can simply unlock your device and start using normally. You can also head toSettings->Security, where you will find that the “Encrypt phone” says “Encrypted“.
Secure Your Data by Encrypting Your Android Smartphone or Tablet
Well, those were the easy steps to encrypt your Android device. We’ll recommend you to go through with the process because all your private information might not seem very important to you but they indeed are. So, encrypt your device and be safe from all the security scares out there.