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Encrypt your data

Encryption stores your data in a form that can be read only when your phone or tablet is unlocked. Unlocking your encrypted device decrypts your data. Encryption can add protection in case your device is stolen.

  • All Pixel phones are encrypted by default. So are Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9 devices.
  • You can choose to encrypt Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 devices.

To get the most protection for your data on an encrypted device, always require your PIN, pattern, or password to unlock your device when it starts. By default, this setting is on.

Understand what data gets encrypted

On an encrypted device, all personal data gets encrypted. This includes things like your email, texts, contacts, Google Account data, app data, photos, media, and downloads. 

Decrypt your data using accessibility features

To help you enter your PIN, pattern, or password to decrypt your Pixel phone at start-up, you can use TalkBack, Switch Access, and other updated accessibility services. Pixel phones can't use Bluetooth-paired accessibility devices until after you decrypt.

On encrypted Nexus phones and tablets, if you choose to require your PIN, pattern, or password at start-up, you'd need to enter it without help from either accessibility services or Bluetooth-paired accessibility devices.

Include removable media in encryption

You can set removable media, like SD cards, to be decrypted and encrypted with an encrypted device, when that device is unlocked and locked. To include removable media in device encryption, format them as internal storage for that device.

For example, insert new media and tap Setup and then Use as internal storage.

Encrypt Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10 devices

Unlike all Pixel phones and newer Nexus devices, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 devices aren't encrypted by default. To encrypt a Nexus device that isn't yet encrypted:

Get your Nexus device ready

Encrypting your Nexus device may take an hour or more, and your device may restart several times. If the process gets interrupted, you might lose the information on your device. We recommend these key steps before you start:

  1. Schedule an hour or more.
  2. Plug your device in to charge.
  3. See which version of Android you have.
Encrypt your Nexus device on Android 5.0 and up
  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  2. Under "Personal," tap Security.
  3. Tap Screen lock.
  4. To choose your screen lock, tap PatternPIN, or Password.
  5. You'll be asked to "further protect this device" by requiring your PIN, pattern, or password when your device starts. The first time that you choose this setting, it will encrypt your device.
    1. Select Require to start device.
    2. Tap Continue.
  6. Set your PIN, pattern, or password. Tap Continue.
  7. Confirm your PIN, pattern or password. Tap Ok.

You can choose whether to require your PIN, pattern, or password when your device starts. If you use an accessibility service like TalkBack, or a Bluetooth-paired accessibility device, keep in mind that you'd need to enter your information at start-up without help from your service or device.

Encrypt your device on Android 4.4 or lower
  1. If you haven't already, set a lock screen PIN, pattern, or password.
  2. Open your device's Settings app Settings.
  3. Under "Personal," tap Security.
  4. Under "Encryption," tap Encrypt phone or Encrypt tablet. (If your battery isn't charged or your device isn't plugged in, you won't be able to tap this option.)
  5. Carefully read the information shown. It's important to know:
    • After encrypting, you can turn off encryption only by factory data reset, which erases all your data.
    • If you use an accessibility service like TalkBack, or a Bluetooth-paired accessibility device, you'll always need to enter your PIN, pattern, or password at start-up without the help of your service or device.
    • If you change your mind about encrypting your device, you can tap Back Back.
  6. Tap Encrypt phone or Encrypt tablet.
  7. Enter your lock screen PIN, pattern, or password. Tap Continue.
  8. Tap Encrypt phone or Encrypt tablet again.

After encrypting, you'll always need to enter your PIN, pattern, or password when your device starts.

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Amy is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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