Android Encryption: How To Do It And Why You Might Want To

Android encryption offers an extra level of security for your data. This short guide will tell you how to do just that.

Android Encryption: How To Do It And Why You Might Want To

Android provides a built-in feature that allows you to encrypt your phone. If you don’t already know, encryption provides an extra level of security and makes it harder for the wrong people to get their hands on the data your phone contains.

Why you might want an encrypted phone

Your phone contains a large amount of information that you probably don’t want falling into the wrong hands. It’s generally full of things like bank details and passwords plus personal and work information – all that could be very useful to fraudsters. If you’re a doctor, lawyer or someone else that’s required to carry sensitive data of other people, your phones security is paramount.

For this reason, many companies encrypt the data on company-issued phones and tablets. It’s not as important for the average person with their personal phone.

You may think that the passcode on your lock screen already provides security for all of your data, however there are ways for someone to get at your data without unlocking the phone. Encryption provides a much greater level of protection, regulating access to the data itself and not just who can use the device.

So once you have encrypted your Android phone, and even if someone manages to get a hold of it, it will be useless to him or her with the access key. Encrypted data is stored in a scrambled form. Only someone with the right password can access the unscrambled data.

The potential downside of encryption is that it can slow down your device’s performance. How much it slows down your device will depend on your hardware specifications. Newer phones will be affected less and older ones will be more so.

How to encrypt your Android phone

Before you start, make sure your phone’s battery is full – if it’s plugged in, even better. Encrypting your phone can take some time and drain the battery. If your battery runs out half way through, you run the risk of losing your data.

It’s also important to note that encrypting your data is a one-way street. If you decide you no longer want an encrypted phone, your only option is a factory reset, which will wipe your data.

Open your phone’s Settings menu and then go to Security. Next, go to the Encrypt phone option in the Security menu. Then, tick the box to Encrypt SD card. Tap Next and then enter your PIN when it’s asked for. Press the Encrypt phone button.

Now you have to wait. Encrypting your phone could take 30 minutes, an hour or even longer. You will see a progress bar showing you how far the process has advanced. The more data you have on your phone, the longer it will take to encrypt. When it’s finished you will have to enter your PIN or password again. Once that’s done your Android device is encrypted. In future, you will need to enter your encryption password when you boot up your device.