If you’ve never encrypted your phone, you may be wondering what are the android phone encryption pros and cons.
When I was using Android 8.1 Oreo OS on my phone, I encrypted my phone. You will be amazed to know that I messed up all my important data.
How? Let’s see in this comprehensive guide.
In this guide, I’m going to tell you everything about the advantages and disadvantages of encryption associated with an android phone.
Pros and Cons of Android Phone Encryption
Jump To The Right Section
- 1 Pros and Cons of Android Phone Encryption
- 2 Cons of Android Phone Encryption
- 3 Info-graph Illustrating Android Phone Encryption Pros and Cons:
Let’s see some benefits of encryption first.
Cyber-criminals Love your Personal Data:
Your personal information can be very useful thieves and cyber-criminals. They can sell your name and address to other criminals. So, it means that encryption is not only used by big companies.
Nowadays, people save their most important data on their smartphones, so that they can access it anytime, anywhere. However, if your phone is not encrypted, your data is at a risk.
Simply using a password or PIN to unlock your android phone is not enough. No matter our phones are smart now, but they are equally dumb as well. They can send your data to anyone if mishandled. Your phone needs encryption.
This surprised me:
Let’s take a practical example. Pick up your Android device and open “Contacts” app. You can see how many contacts and email addresses are stored on your phone.
You are logged into so many social networks. Facebook knows more about you than your closest friend. Just imagine if all this information gets into the hands of a criminal.
Your life will be in danger. Moreover, you may have stored phone numbers and email addresses of many others. This will compromise their security as well.
To know technical side of encryption, read this official guide from Google.
Stolen Photos can Ruin Your Reputation:
Your photos are not just great memories – they can be used against you in many ways. Encrypting your android phone can save your reputation.
In the past, we have seen how little security breaches have ruined the lives of celebrities. You may not be a celebrity, but your private photos are equally important and no one else has the right to see them except you.
Along with photos, videos and documents are also encoded using symmetric encryption keys. Thus making your data much more secure than ever
So, encryption guarantees safety of your important data. This is one of the greatest pros of encrypting android phones.
Factory-Reset Doesn’t Guarantee 100% Data Deletion:
It’s likely that you will sell your old android phone after doing a factory reset. If you think your data completely vanish from your android phone – you are wrong! You should not trust a factory reset.
This shocked me:
Simple factory reset clears everything from your phone but since your data was not encrypted, there are many chances of breaches. It is better to first encrypt your data and resetting the phone later on.
What’s the bottom line here?
Before factory resetting, please apply encryption in your android phone. This will save your life.
Data Gets Secured:
Just take a look at your phone, how many social apps are installed. How much permissions you have given to those apps and websites. This information is a goldmine for criminals.
Your browser may have many saved passwords, your browsing history. Everything matters a lot. If this simple information gets in the hands of a thief, it will create problems for you.
In this modern age of dumb people and smart-phones, you should take extra measures to protect your data.
Google introduced encryption in Android phones in 2011. According to BBC, at the end of 2014, the company released Android Lollipop in which encryption is turned on by default. This is a great step taken by the company.
Performance isn’t affected at all:
Many resources on the internet are saying that encryption is slowing phones down. This can be true for older phones. Newer android phones are built using better CPUs and more RAM, so it is not a problem anymore.
It won’t affect your android phone’s performance in any way. Keep your phone updated and you will never feel any lags in your device. It’s barely a myth these days since phones are becoming smarter and more powerful than ever.
Very Easy To Turn On Encryption:
It takes less than five minutes to encrypt your android phone. Just go to Settings >> Security >> Encryption and simply turn it on. It will ask you to enter a PIN or Password if it’s not already set.
This process is same in all android phones. In latest Android versions (Lollipop and later), encryption is turned on by default. This is something that I appreciate a lot. Since Google has taken a great decision to make it default. Most people never knew how to turn it on. Now, everyone is safe since it is already on.
Cons of Android Phone Encryption
No one can access your phone’s data except you – only if it is encrypted. It is said that security is just an illusion. This is correct until you encrypt your phone. Hence, benefits of encryption outweigh the cons. But still, there are a few cons of encrypting an android phone. If you think there are any other, please do let me know in the comment. You may not want to read this, but here we go:
Old Phones Can Become Slow:
For low-end Android phones, encryption can cause performance issues. But don’t worry if your phone’s hardware is powerful, then you are safe.
With low-end phones, I am referring to phones having RAM lower than 2 GB. Such phones are rare these days and 3GB RAM is considered as standard. So, there are chances that your phone will not be affected if it’s RAM and processor is above average.
I encrypted a very old 2 GB Android phone. I did not notice any considerable lag in performance. So, in my experience phone is not affected that much. In the newer versions of android, implementation of encryption is more secure and better than the previous ones.
Bottom-line: Encryption will not cause any noticeable issues in modern phones.
The issue with Custom ROMS:
For users who flash custom-ROMs every now and then, encryption is less beneficial. Because you will not be able to decrypt your device after wiping all data even using TWRP or CWM recovery.
So, I suggest you if you flash ROMs very often, avoid encryption. I have faced such issues after I flashed an Oreo 8.1 ROM. I encrypted my phone. Then I wiped all data and clean-flashed Nougat 7.1 ROM.
I was unable to use my phone. I had to re-flash Oreo ROM.
It is highly recommended to avoid changing ROMs these days since Google has implemented an anti-rollback feature in latest Android Oreo. Xiaomi has also introduced a stricter version on anti-rollback in latest MIUI 9 & MIUI 10.
A One-way process:
If you want to decrypt your android device, you can’t. First, you need to do a complete factory reset. After that, your phone will be decrypted.
You will lose all your important data. So, before decrypting your phone, transfer your most important data to some safe place. However, It is advised to not decrypt your data after encrypting.
If you are confused, please comment down below. I will help you out with any confusions you may have.
What does encrypting your phone do?
So now you are in a position to decide whether you should encrypt your android phone or not. Since the cons are far less than the pros, I recommend encrypting your device.
After encryption, you will be prompted to enter PIN or password whenever you will power-on your device. Thus saving your personal data from criminals.
You can rest assured that your data is safe from prying eyes.
Info-graph Illustrating Android Phone Encryption Pros and Cons:
Is it dangerous to encrypt your Android device?
Here’s the truth:
No, absolutely not. It is completely safe to encrypt your android phone because it will not affect your phone’s performance.
It is dangerous only if you flash different custom-ROMs in your device. I have shared my case. When I was on Oreo 8.1 ROM, I encrypted my phone.
Then I used TWRP recovery to clean flash Android Nougat 7.1 ROM. As soon as I flashed it, the phone booted up and it said:
“Device is encrypted”
I tried to enter my previously used Google account credentials but it was not accepting any of it. So, the problem was I forcefully wiped my Android 8.1 ROM without first disabling the encryption.
So, if you are not a custom-ROM flasher, you are safe from such issues. But still, you should know some cons of encrypting an android phone.
So that’s my ultimate guide for android phone encryption pros and cons.
Now I want to turn it over to you: what did you think about this guide? Or maybe there’s something I missed.
Let me know by leaving a comment below.