Encryption by default may be causing performance issues for Android 5.0, and you may not be able to fix it

Encryption by default may be causing performance issues for Android 5.0, and you may not be able to fix it
Before the new Nexus devices were released, and before Android 5.0 Lollipop made an official appearance, we learned that new Android 5.0 devices would have encryption turned on by default. While this is a boon for the security conscious, it appears that decision by Google could also be causing performance issues that some won't be able to fix.

AnandTech thought that the default encryption could be the cause of the performance issues that users had been reporting with the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9; so, the outlet requested an unencrypted Nexus 6 from Motorola for testing. The tests confirmed the worst, that read performance on an encrypted Nexus 6 could drop as much as 63%, and write speeds could be hampered by up to 50%. And, the worst part of this is that anyone buying a new device that ships with Android 5.0 will have encryption automatically turned on during the activation process, and once that is done, there is no way to turn off encryption. 

Luckily, if you have updated your device from an earlier version of Android to Lollipop and then turned on encryption afterwards, you can revert to being unencrypted, and regain the performance benefits. Undoubtedly, the mod community is working on a way to allow Nexus users to turn off encryption, but we're hoping that Google is also looking for a way to either improve performance, or allow users to turn off encryption.

source: AnandTech via Droid Life

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20 Comments

1. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

There is a mod for this already on XDA. There is a price for higher security it seems, though it can be remedied somewhat even on new devices.

7. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

New devices with ARMv8 CPUs should be fine as they have hardware accelerated encryption Or OEMs just need add dedicated chips for encryption, this is what Apple's been doing since the iPhone 4 Performance issues with the Nexus 9 are probably more because apps haven't been update to 64-bit or because the K1 doesn't use out-of-order execution

8. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

(ran out of edit time) The K1 uses in-order execution with dynamic code optimization, which Nvidia claims is faster, but it may cause issues (until apps are updated for to support it as well) since its quite different

17. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Though did QC license it out separately like they did back in winmob days where no OEM would pay for the graphic driver option? I hope that is not the case here an its just as rumored Google hasn't merged the driver libs yet.

15. Mxyzptlk unregistered

There's a software update out.

2. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Well this explains why the Nexus 6 performance hasn't blown anyone away.

3. datsyuk

Posts: 180; Member since: Jan 11, 2012

I don't have either device but watching videos it looks like the Nexus 5 is snappier going through the UI than the 6 to me anyway. Would personally disable this feature, as I don't care about encryption so much. But it's something nice to have on there as an option (wish they did that although they probably will not).

6. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

I agree. It seems like the QHD display might not be holding the phone back as much as previously thought. I really hope they find a way to disable the encryption, I knew something was fishy when the phone was underperforming and lagged more than other QHD phones. Google needs to do something about this, the 6 is seriously being held back.

9. datsyuk

Posts: 180; Member since: Jan 11, 2012

Same here I thought it was Quad HD as well and was somewhat upset they made the jump if the performance suffered that much. I always root regardless so if disabling this feature really ups the fluidity of the UI, I'm all for it.

12. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

My thought's exactly.

19. afraaa

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

i didn;t know until now . i have nexus 5 and i cal tell no lag at all . it is damn 60 fsp animation every sibgle part of lollipop . and damn it is fast . anyone android and even apple user have seen my device , it left them with wide mouth open i really believe qhd need lot of power than even 805 !

4. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I do get slightly lower benchmark scores running 5.0 than I do 4.4.4 (LiquidSmooth) on my Nexus 4, but I doubt this is because of any encryption.

10. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Which benchmarks? All the benchmarks I've tried are higher on my Nexus 5 with 5.0 Especially Geekbench, now its 950 & 2950 (up from 800 & 2500 on 4.4.4) Not mine, but here someone else's post with many other benchmarkshttps://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/2m88ev/significant_benchmark_improvements_with_nexus_5/

11. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Antutu and Quadrant. Very slightly less, but it's still less. 5.0 feels better though. Hard to describe, but Lollipop just feels so much better. When apps aren't crashing, anyway.

13. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I found my N4 with 5, to show marked improvement over being on KK, maybe more so then my N5. What apps are crashing?

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Antutu is higher for me, I get ~39000, up from ~37000 on 4.4.4 I didn't run Quadrant while on 4.4.4 (too dated IMO) I tried just now, I got 12600 In that link I post the guy says that he got 9500 for Quadrant on 4.4.4 I've seen a quite a big real world performance increase, especially in ram management Also which apps? I haven't had any issues with apps crashing

5. Fuego84

Posts: 357; Member since: May 13, 2012

Skipping all the lollipop bugs and opting for the Galaxy Note 4's bugs lol.

14. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Bugs + lag and bloat

18. DannyJr

Posts: 38; Member since: May 08, 2014

I've tried encrypting my ICS, JB, and KK devices but they usually slow down to a crawl. I hope they can find a way to make encryption workable on midrange devices. I understand that RISC devices do not support AES-NI and so they can't take advantage of hardware level encryption/decryption.

20. amb669

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 24, 2014

This review isn't even accurate at all, I read other reviews AND did my own testing and the results of my testing was dead on with most other reviews, This review on the other hand isn't very accurate. Results below are using an LG G3, Encryption on the G3 resulted in a 93.4% loss in performance on internal read speeds. Considering 95% of everything done on any android is an internal read makes this is HUGE blow to performance. Before encryption: SD Card: Read 59.78MB/s - Write 13.31 MB/s Internal memory: Read 223.18 MB/s - Write 56.17 MB/s Ram: 9008.37 MB/s After encryption: SD Card: Read 14.15MB/s - Write 4.42 MB/s Internal memory: Read 14.85 MB/s - Write 21.13 MB/s Ram: 6915.49 MB/s

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