If you don’t think your cell phone has enough security, this post is for you: we’ll teach you how to encrypt your Android phone. However, beforehand we’ll explain what encryption is and its pros and cons.
What encryption is
Encrypting your cell phone prevents all your content from falling into somebody else’s hands. Does that mean it’s inaccessible even to the FBI? The answer is no, but we can assure you that security is much higher with encryption than without.
When your smartphone is encrypted, it forces you to enter in a password every time images, videos or documents are accessed. In other words, everything is restricted by that password only you know (this also can be a PIN or lock pattern, by the way).
“But if it’s so secure, why don’t more people use it?” You may be asking yourself this question right now. Obviously, there’s an answer: because not everything is rainbows and butterflies. When you encrypt a cell phone, its performance is significantly reduced, since more resources are needed both for the processor and the internal memory.
With this in mind, forget about encrypting devices that are mid-range or low quality, since you’ll get a slow (very slow, to be honest) phone. Likewise, there are devices that undergo the opposite process, i.e. decryption, which causes so much headache it’s best to forget about it.
How to encrypt your phone
You’ve seen the pros and cons above; now comes the important part. Do you want to encrypt your smartphone? If the answer is yes, we warn you that the process may take longer than you think (about an hour or even longer), though it’s not hard to do.
To encrypt it, just click on “Settings” and look for the option “Security” (which appears with a lock icon). Once inside, the category we want is “Encrypt phone.” There you’ll see the terms and conditions that apply after phone encryption begins.
The last point there is important, where it notes that the process may take “an hour or longer,” as we mentioned earlier. Also “you should start the process with the battery charged and keep the phone plugged in. If the process is interrupted, you’ll lose your data fully or in part.” Be careful with this last one. This means if you stop encryption of your phone, you’ll have to reset it to factory settings (losing everything or nearly everything).
We must note that the latest version of Android (Oreo) now allows fragmented encryption, i.e. you can encrypt certain apps or features. This may suit you if you want to protect a very specific part of the system.