How to Enable Encryption in Android
Before you get started, there are a few things worth noting:
- Encrypting the device can take an hour or longer.
- Your device’s battery must be at least 80% charged. Android won’t even start the process otherwise.
- Your device must be plugged in throughout the entire process.
- Again, if you’re rooted, be sure to unroot your phone before continuing!
Basically, make sure you’ve got plenty of time and battery before you start the process. If you interfere with the process or end it before it’s finished, you will likely lose all your data. Once the process is started, it’s best to just leave the device alone and let it do its thing.
With all the caveats out of the way, you’re ready to encrypt your device.
Start by heading into the Settings menu and tapping on “Security,” again keeping in mind that the wording may be slightly different. If your device is already encrypted, it will show up here. Some devices will also allow SD card contents to be encrypted, but by default Android just encrypts on-board storage.
If the device isn’t encrypted, you can start the process by tapping the “Encrypt phone” option.
The next screen will present a warning to let you know what to expect once the process is finished, most of which we’ve already talked about in this article. If you’re ready to proceed, hit the “Encrypt phone” button.
One more warning will present itself (seriously, they want to make sure you know what’s happening here), which tells you not to interrupt the process. If you’re still not scared away, one more tap of the “Encrypt phone” button will do the trick.
The phone will then reboot and start the encryption process. A progress bar and estimated time till completion will show up, which should at least provide an idea of how long you’ll be without your beloved handset. Just wait, it’ll all be okay soon. You can do this. You’re strong.
Once it’s finished, the phone will reboot and you’re back in business. If you set up a lock screen password, PIN, or pattern, you’ll have to put it in now so the device will finish the boot process.
If you haven’t set up a PIN or password, now is a good time to do so. Head into your device’s Settings > Security menu. From there, select the “Screen Lock” option (keep in mind that the wording may be slightly different for non-stock Android handsets, like Samsung Galaxy devices).
Choose Pattern, PIN, or Password to set your security.
You’ll be asked if you want to require the PIN, password, or pattern at startup. This is up to you, but we recommend choosing yes, since this increases the security of your device.
Note that even with a fingerprint reader, you can’t use a fingerprint to unlock a device on first boot—you’ll have to put in the password, PIN, or pattern. After the device has been decrypted with the correct security unlocking method, the fingerprint reader can be used to unlock the screen moving forward.
From now on, your device will be encrypted, but if you ever want to disable it, you can do so by performing a factory reset. If you have a newer device that has encryption enabled out of the box, there’s no way to remove said encryption—not even with a factory reset.