For most of us, a regular lock screen seems to be just enough in safeguarding our Android device but if you are concerned about your data stored, enabling the encryption feature in Android is highly recommended. Encryption stores the phone’s data in a form that can only be read if you have the right credentials. This provides additional protection in case your device is stolen or illicitly used where the attacker might bypass the lock screen security and access your personal files or sensitive business data.
Android, since the version 3.x Honeycomb, includes a system encryption feature that encrypts all data including account data, app data, downloaded information and everything else on your phone or tablet. The data is encrypted on the fly before it’s being written to the disk and is decrypted before it gets to the calling program. After setting up the encryption, you’ll be required to enter the PIN or password, and it goes without saying this password should be a strong one.
- Setup a lock-screen PIN, pattern or password if not already done.
- Plug your device into the charger and allow the battery to charge up to 80%. Keep the charger connected. This is to ensure that your device doesn’t run out of juice in the middle as the whole process can take an hour or more depending on how much data you have. Also, if you have to interrupt the encryption process, it’ll leave the data in a half scrambled form and then the only way out would be to perform a factory reset (which will erase all of your data of course)
- Go to SETTINGS, tap on SECURITY and select ENCRYPT PHONE.
- Now sit back and relax. Your device will reboot several times during the encryption process, and on completion, you’ll be prompted to enter your password to start using the device normally again.
- The encryption process might take an hour or more depending on the amount of stored data. If you interrupt the process or if the battery dies to shut down the phone in the middle you will lose some or all of your data.
- There is no going back for encryption in Android. If you choose to decrypt your device later, you’ll have to perform a factory reset which will wipe all existing data and setup your device all over again without encryption.
- Data encryption will lead to slower disk reading and writing and hence your device will be a bit slower. The speed decrease depends on your phone’s hardware, and if you are using an entry level device, you might notice considerable lag in the flow of your smartphone.
So carefully decide about your need to add that extra layer of security to protect your data as personal security is now a delicate balance between convenience and functionality.
Read about protecting your photos and videos here.