How do I end the encryption

Activate and deactivate Android encryption: Here's how

Do you want to protect your Android device from being accessed by unauthorized persons? We'll tell you how you can activate and deactivate the Android encryption on your smartphone or tablet.

Device and data security has become an important issue for many smartphone users over the years. For Android, the encryption of data has therefore been further developed over the years, so that most devices are now delivered from the factory with a basic encryption that makes it almost impossible for hackers to simply steal data. In certain cases, however, users have the option of activating and deactivating the encryption themselves.

What does Android encryption do?

Unencrypted devices are more vulnerable for hackers to attack because they can easily steal data stored on the device. If, on the other hand, basic encryption is activated, data can possibly be stolen, but not read out. The hackers then only see illegible gibberish that can no longer be assigned to specific data.

However, especially with older devices, the basic encryption can also have a major disadvantage. If the system is not already encrypted at the factory, this can lead to a significant loss of speed when activated later. In some measurements, Android responded 50 percent more slowly than before after activating the basic encryption.

Smartphones from Android 6.0 are encrypted by default

Since Android 6.0 Marshmallow, almost all Android devices have been encrypted by default. Since this version of the operating system was presented in autumn 2015, this applies to most smartphones that have been on the market since 2016. Fortunately, in cases in which devices are already encrypted ex works, the encryption has no effect on performance.

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Smartphones from Android 6.0 Marshmallow are encrypted by default. Image: © YouTube / DetroitBORG 2017

Activate Android encryption

If you didn't originally buy your smartphone with Android 6.0, you may be able to activate basic encryption. The prerequisite for this is that the smartphone was delivered with at least Android 4.0 or a newer version.

  1. Open "Settings> Security"
  2. Scroll to the point "Encrypt phone"and tap on it
  3. If the menu item cannot be selected, you have to connect the smartphone to the power in order to carry out the encryption

The process may take some time, depending on the memory size and amount of data. Under no circumstances should you interrupt it, otherwise data may be lost. During the process, the device will restart several times.

Cancel the Android encryption

Once Android's basic encryption is activated, it cannot be canceled, as this would contradict the basic principle of basic encryption. The encryption can only be switched off again with a factory reset, but all data stored on the device will also be irrevocably lost.

However, the encryption can be canceled for microSD cards that have been encrypted with a smartphone. You will find out how to do this in the next section.

Encrypt SD card with Android

In many Android smartphones, the internal memory can be expanded using a microSD card and this can also be encrypted using on-board tools.

  1. Open "Settings> Security"and look for the sub-item"Encrypt SD card"
  2. Make sure that the smartphone has at least 30 percent charge, otherwise the encryption cannot be carried out with many devices
  3. Then confirm the encryption
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Encrypting an SD card is no problem with Android. Image: © You can encrypt your SD card in the settings. 2018

Depending on the size of the SD card and the amount of data, the encryption can take some time. Note that the data on an encrypted SD card can only be read by the device on which it was encrypted. The cancellation of the encryption is only possible in the device in which it was also encrypted. To do this, go to "Settings> Security> Decrypt SD Card".

Summary

  1. Since Android 6.0, almost all new smartphones have been provided with basic encryption
  2. This basic encryption cannot be canceled by the user
  3. With older devices from Android 4.0, the encryption can be carried out manually, but this affects the performance
  4. In such a case, the basic encryption can only be canceled by performing a factory reset and losing all data
  5. SD cards can also be encrypted with Android to protect the data stored on them
  6. Encrypted SD cards can then only be used with the device on which the encryption was carried out and only decrypted on this device