Encrypt your Android device AND then lock it

Most of us using Android or any other devices use codes, pins or gestures to lock our phones. When you encrypt your Android device, it prevents any unauthorized user from accessing your data.

However, this works only if the phone is in the hands of a novice. A data miner will easily be able to retrieve personal data stored both on your phone and your external card connected to it even if the phone is locked by a code.

The funny part is that there are services that are legitimately offering other users to get unlock codes mailed to them after they pay a processing fee. True, this might come in handy if you accidentally forget your own pin codes. But this leaves a room for an attacker to take advantage of this glaring exploit. There are a number of free websites that provide detailed guidelines on how to do this as well. Bottom-line: It is not only possible but quite easy. All you need is some time on your hands and a computer to connect to.

Encrypt your android device from your Settings menu
Turn on Encrypt your android device from your Settings menu

But there is a way you can at least render any data that is retrieved useless. When you encrypt your Android device, it works like on any device (PC, Mac etc.) There are paid applications that do the same thing as well.

But you don’t need to pay a dime. Encryption has been a part of Android for years now. Albeit often ignored, this provides an additional layer of security to personal information.
Different manufacturers will have slightly different ways of how you can accomplish this. But the basic navigation is under Security – Encryption or something along those lines. For better support you can check your manufacturer manual or on XDA. Even a Google search with your model number will fetch you the details. For the stock Android, the process has remained almost the same for a long time.

There are some things you need to keep in mind though.

  1. When you encrypt your Android device for the first time, it is going to take a while. For a standard phone expect to spend around 30 minutes or more for the encryption to complete.
  2. It also consumes significant amount of battery. Make sure you have them before you get started.
  3. Also, the passcode that you will require to enter will have certain limitations.

Once it is done, you will be notified about it. Know that this is a bridge burnt. Don’t ever forget your passcode then or else you will be locked out of your own data.
It is actually not so scary. A lot of data in Android is usually synced to your Google Drive. Plus you will always have your access to your mail address where you can reset your codes. Only difference is that your data will now be much safer.