In this article we will look at the simple steps that you can take to encrypt your Nexus 4. The process below can be used on all Android devices (tablets and phones) that have Android 3.0 Honeycomb or above. For this article I was using my Nexus 4 running Jelly Bean 4.2.2.
Before you proceed with the encryption process, it is important to note that the encryption is irreversible, so should you forget your password for the device, or later decide that you no longer wish have the device encrypted, you will have to perform a factory reset. Performing a factory reset will wipe all the data on your phone, although your Google account information will be restored once you set up the phone again with the exception of any app data you may have had, so it is advisable to back up any media or pictures that you have before proceeding. The other important thing to do, is to make sure that your device is fully charged or plugged in when performing the encryption process. This is down to the fact that the process can take approximately an hour to complete.
- Gives the user added security for the information stored on their device
- Simple to implement
- Knowing that your data is more secure should you lose the device or have it stolen
- The users PIN or Password for their device must be the same as the encryption password
- PIN or Password is limited to 16 characters
- The encryption process is irreversible, meaning that to remove the encryption should you forget the password or simply wish to remove the encryption requires a complete factory reset which will wipe all data from the device
- PIN or Password must be entered every time you wish to access the device which can be off-putting to a lot of users.
- May have an impact on the overall speed performance of the device
Let’s begin. Firstly you will need to make sure that you are not using a pattern code to unlock your device. If you are you will need to change this to a PIN or Password instead.
To do this simply go Settings>Security>Screen Lock. Enter your pattern and then select either PIN or Password.
It will then ask you to input your new PIN or Password, and then get you to confirm it.
Once that is done you are ready to encrypt, but please be sure to make a note of your PIN or Password somewhere safe.
In your Settings area, scroll down to Security and then select Encrypt Phone. If your phone is insufficiently charged, you will see that the Encrypt Phone button is grayed out. Either fully charge your phone, or have it plugged to perform the process. If you decide not to carry on with encrypting your phone, then simply back out at this point, otherwise carry on.
When you first select Encrypt Phone, you will be asked to enter you PIN or Password to continue. You will then be prompted with a warning regarding the encryption informing you that the process is irreversible and you will lose data if you interrupt the process. Your device will also restart several times during the encryption process. As stated above, the process can take an hour or longer to complete, so now would be a good time to go and make a cup of tea.
Once the process has completed, you will be required to enter your PIN or Password to access the phone as usual. You will also be required to do this every time you use your phone.
As stated above, if you later decide that you wish to remove the encryption from your device, you will need to perform a complete factory reset which will completely wipe any existing data from the phone. Please be sure to backup your data before encrypting. The encryption that Android uses is dm-crypt with 128-bit AES and was first made available to Android users in Gingerbread 2.3.4 and would require an Exchange account. It wasn’t available via in the settings area until Android 3.0 Honeycomb. For anyone wishing to get a more advanced look at the type of encryption used in this process, please check out this article.