Yesterday I opined on whether you should encrypt your phone given the latest spyware out there that’s almost unstoppable.

Well, you can if you want to.

It will cause your phone to process things a little more slowly.

It may take several tries.

There is no UNDO button.

Read all of it at the link. This will get you started with background:

Android includes a system encryption feature that encrypts all data – including application data, downloaded files, and everything else – on your phone or tablet. You’ll have to enter your PIN or password each time you turn on your phone

We’ll be using the full-device encryption feature built into Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 and newer versions of Android for this.
Why Would You Want to Encrypt Your Phone?

Encryption stores your phone’s data in an unreadable, seemingly scrambled form. When you power on your phone, you’ll have to enter the encryption PIN or password, which is the same as your phone’s lock-screen PIN or password. Your phone uses your PIN or password to decrypt your data, making it understandable. If someone doesn’t know the encryption PIN or password, they can’t access your data.

This is ideal if your phone contains particularly sensitive data. For example, corporations with sensitive business data on company phones will want to use encryption to help protect that data from corporate espionage. An attacker won’t be able to access the data without the encryption key, although the dreaded freezer attack is always a possibility.

For the average person without sensitive data on their phone, encryption isn’t likely to matter as much. If your phone is stolen, most thieves would also be deterred from accessing your data by a standard unlock code. The thief would likely be more interested in wiping and selling the phone rather than accessing your personal data.

Some recent legal rulings have suggested that encryption can protect against warantless searches. The California Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lawfully search your cell phone without a warrant if it’s taken from you during arrest – but they would require a warrant if it was encrypted. A Canadian court has also ruled that phones can be searched without a warrant as long as they’re unencrypted. (But remember, we’re not lawyers here!)

Before you enable encryption, be aware that there are some drawbacks:

Slower Performance: Encryption always adds some overhead, so your device will be a bit slower. The actual speed decrease depends on your phone’s hardware.
Encryption is One-Way Only: After encrypting your device’s storage, you can only disable encryption by resetting your phone to its factory default settings. This will also erase all the data stored on your phone, so you’ll have to set it up from scratch.

Not everyone should enable encryption, as it will do more harm than good for many people. If you still want to enable encryption, read on.

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