How To: Encrypt Your Smartphone

How To: Encrypt Your Smartphone

These days our phones help us run our lives.  They store our emails, conversations, notes, photos and more.  So the thought of someone hacking into your precious hand held computer and accessing all of your information is nightmarish.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to lock down your phone and one of the surest and safest methods is encryption.  Encrypting your smartphone can be an important step to take for anyone that desires more than a simple password lock to protect their private information.

When you encrypt your phone, you are not only password protecting your information but you’re coding it too.  That way, even if someone does manage to gain access to your data, they can’t read it without the decryption key.

If you want to learn more about encryption you can click here to read our article explaining what it is and why you might need it.  If you’re ready to proceed with encrypting your phone, keep reading!

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Android Phone Encryption


Encrypting your Android phone is reasonably easy. Before you begin this process, it’s important to know that sometimes encryption can make Android devices run slightly slower.  If this is not a huge concern, then proceed.

Most Android phones come with an in-built encryption feature that will encrypt the entire contents of your phone.  The process is likely to take more than an hour and it is important not to disrupt the process- if you do, you might lose all of the data and media on your device.  It is also a good idea to connect your phone to a charger because this process can take a long time and you don’t want your phone running out of battery midway through the procedure.

To encrypt your Android device:

  1. Set up a password lock. Open Settings>Security>Set Up Screen Lock
  2. You’ll be presented with three lock screen options – PIN, Password or Pattern. Choose either Password or PIN- this will become your decryption key so it’s a good idea to choose something complex that will be hard to hack but easy for you to remember
  3. Once you have selected Password or PIN, you will be asked to enter the word or number of your choice
  4. After you enter your chosen password, hit OK or Confirm and your password should be set
  5. To begin the encryption process, navigate to Settings>Security>Encrypt Phone/Device.  For an HTC phone, go to  Settings>Storage>Encrypt Phone/Device
  6. Finally, tap the button at the bottom of the screen that says Encrypt Device.

Your phone will notify you once the process has been completed.  This process will encrypt the entire contents of your phone, there is no need to seek out other forms of Android Encryption.


iPhone Encryption Passcode


iPhones are a step above other phones when it comes to data encryption.  Most of you will not know this but, your data is automatically encrypted on your Apple device when you set up a passcode.  Although this method does not encrypt the entire contents of your phone, most of the important things (your messages, email, attachments and certain app data) are encrypted.

To encrypt your iPhone by setting up a Passcode, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings > General> Passcode Lock
  2. At the top there will be an option that says Turn Passcode On, tap it
  3. Input a four digit passcode that will be easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.

Your passcode will now be set and you will be required to type it in every time you want to unlock/decrypt your phone.

It is a good idea to turn off Simple Passcode and require your phone to ask for something more complex for extra protection.

  1. In Setting>General>Passcode Lock tap the Simple Passcode toggle to turn it off.
  2. You will be asked to input your existing passcode.
  3. After you have done this, you will be asked to enter a new passcode of up to 20 characters including numbers and letters.
  4. You will be asked to enter this code a second time in order to confirm it.
  5. Once you have done this your new Complex Passcode will be set.

Another handy feature iPhones have is ‘Erase Data.’ This feature ensures that if someone enters the wrong passcode 10 times, your phone will automatically erase itself.   To turn this feature on simply go to Settings>General>Passcode Lock, scroll to the bottom and tap the Erase Data toggle to switch it on.

Other Options For iPhone

Since the Passcode Lock doesn’t encrypt the entire contents of your phone, some of you may be looking for some added iPhone encryption.

Here are some apps and software that will help you boost the security on your Apple device.

  • Enlocked – An easy to use app that will allow you to send and receive emails encrypted to the PGP/MIME standard.  It works with all of the popular email providers including Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft Live.
  • Silent Circle – Apparently the encryption offered by this app is good enough that mercenaries use it in the field.  It mimics all of the iPhones native features so it is very easy to use.