There is no doubt that we store a lot of sensitive data to our phones these days; from sensitive photos and personal emails to a social security number and banking statements. Therefore, there is definitely a lot of data in there that you would want to keep away from any prying eyes.

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Encrypting your phone is the most reasonable and efficient option here. Even if someone steals your phone, encryption will keep your data absolutely impenetrable. Having to buy a new phone is a small price to pay compared to having your privacy intruded.

For devices with Android 5.0+

Before the encryption process launches, you will be asked to plug your phone in to charge, thus eliminating the possibility of the device shutting down while the process is taking place.

  1. Go to Settings > Personal > Security. The path might vary depending on the device manufacturer, but the option is there.
  2. You’ll then be asked to set a lock screen PIN or password – if you haven’t already -, which you’ll have to type in every time you boot your phone in order to gain access to the encrypted files.
  3. Enable the device encryption. The device will show you the progress which can be long

For devices with Android 4.4 or lower

If your Android smartphone is running on Android 4.4 or lower, you will have to set up a PIN or password before starting the encryption process. Head up to  Settings > Security > Screen Lock and set it up. Once that is completed, go back to the Security menu and the process ensues as described above.

Extra: Encrypting your SD Card

Ιf you are using an SD Card that does not just contain your music collection, then we would strongly recommend encrypting it as well, since, despite the internal storage being encrypted, a thief can still access the unencrypted SD card’s content by putting it into another phone or viewing it via USB on a computer.

The SD card encryption process is identical to the one described above. Just head back to the Security menu, and there you will see an option called ‘SD card encryption, or something to that effect.

Much like internal storage encryption, though, encrypting your SD card means that you will no longer be able to view its content in another device, other than the smartphone or tablet used to encrypt it – so bear that in mind before going any further.

Conclusion

Encryption on Android is a seamless process, so the device owner need no specific technical knowledge to use. It is worth noting a few things about encrypting your Android smartphone or tablet.

First and foremost, if you forget your encryption key then there is no way of accessing your data or using your phone unless you perform a complete factory reset – in which case all of your data will be erased. The same applies in the event that you wish to remove the encryption from your phone; it is something you’ll have to live with as long as you use the device.

Additionally, if you own a low-end device, using strong lock-screen password may be better for performance. The operating system makes use of device resources to encrypt the device (CPU, RAM etc.), and therefore in a low-end smartphone or tablet, performance issues could be noticeable. Did this work for you? Leave a comment below.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Android, Encryption and Privacy.

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