Google requires full-disk encryption on new Android 6.0 devices (if they're fast enough)

By Shawn Knight
Oct 21, 2015
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  1. In the months leading up to Google’s launch of Android 5.0 Lollipop, the search giant told anyone that would listen that its new mobile operating system would have data encryption enabled by default. But once third-party devices running Lollipop made it into circulation, it was discovered that encryption wasn’t enabled out of the box.

    As Ars Technica found, Google updated its Android Compatibility Definition document to include a subtle change: encryption was now very strongly recommended but not required.

    Why the sudden – and silent – change? Two words: performance issues.

    Ars published an article last year in which it found that full-disk encryption had a profound impact on overall performance. Google must have read the article as well as it told Engadget that it lifted the encryption requirement due to performance issues.

    That brings us to today and another look at the Android Compatibility Definition document. This time around, we find that Google is requiring devices with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec to enable full-disk encryption out of the box.

    Devices that launched with older versions of Android but have since been upgraded are exempt.

    As Ars previously noted, encryption-related performance issues can be overcome by using faster flash memory, speedier file systems and chips that are better at rapidly encrypting and decrypting data.

    The new guidelines are certainly a step in the right direction although there are some loopholes that keep it from being a perfect solution.

    Permalink to story.

  2. RustyTech

    RustyTech TS Guru Posts: 818   +383

    I would encrypt in a heartbeat if I didn't have to enter a complex password every time I wanted to use the phone. I tried it with my Note 4 and decided it was just too much of a pain and took too long to enter the complex pass you're required to when the devise in fully encrypted.

    It would be nice if you had to enter the complex pass if you Restarted the phone or something like that, but while the phone is one/standby just be able to use a 4 digit pass?
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  3. Badvok

    Badvok TS Booster Posts: 115   +47

    A 4-digit PIN is pretty much pointless, you'd be better off using some of the 'Smart Lock' options so you don't have to unlock at all in places where your device isn't at risk of being lost/stolen.

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