Official: Android L will have encryption turned on by default


Android L

Android is about to get a whole lot more secure. Google has told The Washington Post that Android L will automatically encrypt user data out of the box. This will make it much more difficult for law enforcement officials (a.k.a NSA) access your personal private data. Android has had the option to encrypt data for a while now, but this is the first time it will be on by default. No action required by users.

“For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement. As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.”

– Google spokeswoman Niki Christoff

This announcement follows Apple’s own announcement that they don’t store or access personal data from iOS. The NSA scare is making companies address these issues out in the open to reassure users that their data is safe with them. The only downside to this default encryption is it could make certain crimes harder to solve. If a criminal’s phone is encrypted the law enforcement will have a hard time finding incriminating data. Is that a price you’re willing to pay for privacy?

Joe Fedewa
Ever since I flipped open my first phone I've been obsessed with the devices. I've dabbled in other platforms, but Android is where I feel most at home.

PSA: Pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 now

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  1. Mmmm, my Nexus 5 is hungry for Android L goodness!

    1. Go here and install it now:


      I am debating on putting it back on my Nexus 5.

  2. Well hell, with that frame of thought, we might as well give them full access to every item we own, access to all discussions we have, names of friends and colleagues we have, vacation plans we schedule, and names of people we screw. That would make it much easier to filter out names and solve crimes faster too.

    In short, my answer is YES, keep the govmnt out of my business.

  3. “This will make it much more difficult for law enforcement officials (a.k.a NSA)…”

    Ahem……via NPR, but WIRED, The New Yorker and The Guardian have their own stories on it also……

    “Sep 5, 2013 – The National Security Agency has the keys to most Internet encryption methods and it has gotten them by using supercomputers to break them …”

  4. How do you turn this encryption function on currently?

    1. Settings > Security

    2. in settings -> security

    3. Don’t bother. Until issue 29468 is resolved, device encryption is basically worthless.

      Unless you’ve rooted your phone, in which case there is a workaround.

      1. Haha…I googled it, found out how, encrypted it…then got frustrated after having to type the password after unlocking so I decrypted.

  5. Outside of Material Design, what exactly is the benefit of Android L?

    1. here is some of the stuff listed on the developer page with new api’s etc: http://developer.android.com/preview/api-overview.html

    2. ART is a pretty big deal. That is what I’m most excited about.

    3. Better battery life (to the tune of 10-15% across a day on a Nexus 5, your mileage may vary)

    4. I’m personally looking forward to Project Volta, but there really is too much to list here. You should do some reading on your own. You can start here http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/07/10/all-the-things-android-l-feature-spotlight-roundup/

  6. I’m still wondering how this will work exactly. Currently it requires a password afaik, because well you need some key to encrypt the data and be able to unencrypt it.

    If it still requires a password it will be a nightmare for those of us who don’t care for passwords and if it doesn’t it will(to my knowledge) have to use some other key which would need to be stored on the device in order for it to be accessible, in which case it is really not secure at all.

    1. get used to passwords then. if you’re that intent on securing privacy above all else, you will do what it takes to achieve that end.

      1. Thats the thing, I’m really not that intent on neither security nor privacy.

        If I were, I would have already turned the encryption on, which i haven’t. But since it seems Google is intend on enabling it for everyone I’d like to know how they intend to make it work, whether I’ll need to use a pin to unlock my phone and if not, whether it will still be secure.

        1. i’m not too hung up on it either. i have a pin and use two-step authentication but aside from that, i don’t get hung up on tin-foil hat stuff.

    2. Right my understanding was it required pin, or password for encryption currently, that’s why I never bothered since I use’d pattern, im thinking if switching to knock code now that I’ve got the g3.

    3. Anyway it might just require a password/google-account login at boot at which point the key is stored in ram making it secure to the extend that the device is off when handed over to whatever government institution might want the data.

      If it is on, it might be possible to retrieve the key from RAM?

  7. Yes it is worth it if I know I’M not the one commiting crimes

  8. Well this just brings me 1 step quicker to my Nexus out of the box experience. It used to be, step 1 root, step 2 encrypt, step 3 reinstall, step 4, revel in my euphoria of owning the new Nexus. I guess, God I love Google.

  9. Oh so you’re saying police might have to do some old fashioned detective work. Boohoo, cry me a river. I find it insanity that even a model law-abiding citizen could stand the idea of the government collecting your data in the name of so-called protection. Ugh. But I fully support Google and other companies making it harder for them to collect data.

  10. Jeez, can Google stop copying Apple.

  11. I am not too happy about this mainly because it can make rooting & flashing custom roms more difficult, I once encrypted my nexus 7, and had several difficulties when I wanted to try dual booting, or flashing a new rom, so I got rid of the encryption.
    I much prefer to choose whether or not it’s encrypted, my phone sure, my wi-fi tablet no thanks. Requiring encryption really seems like apple….

    1. It’s not a requirement it’s just on by default there would be the ability to remove encryption

  12. I don’t think I should have to give up privacy to make someone’s job easier.

  13. Wait, so will it be able to be turned off in Android L (God, I hate calling it that)?

  14. “If a criminal’s phone is encrypted the law enforcement will have a hard time finding incriminating data.”
    Not really. There was a recent case where a man thought to be concealing child porn was forced by a court to provide his decryption key or face criminal charges. Although I suppose you could say you forgot the password, which they may or may not believe.

    1. I can’t see how that would be legal to force someone to unlock a device to prove innocence

      1. You’re welcome to Google it. I didn’t make it up.

  15. Well since it’s on by default, I assume they’ve finally got encryption to work with the pattern-based lock screen.

  16. how is this going to make a difference when theres always black hat hackers trying to find a way to your information. pointsquad.com gives it better analysis

  17. Will thus mean whenever I plug the phone into my computer through USB, all the filled will be gobbledygook?

  18. Why

  19. Too bad the NSA has pretty much every form of encryption we currently employ back-door enabled.

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