Google again wants to require full-disk encryption with Android 6.0

Google again wants to require full-disk encryption with Android 6.0
Google has wanted to make sure that all data on Android devices would be encrypted by default, but unfortunately that idea didn't go too well the first time around with Android 5.0 Lollipop. But, Google thinks it has gotten it right this time and will try again to require full-disk encryption for devices that release with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and higher.

The problem in Android 5.0 was that full-disk encryption caused a hit on performance that would be too much for some devices, so Google backed down and made it optional for manufacturers to turn on encryption by default. The new Android Compatibility Definition Document states: 


You'll notice there is two big caveats in the requirement. The first is the same as when Google tried this with Lollipop - full-disk encryption will only be required for devices that launch with Android 6.0. Devices that get Android 6.0 through an update would be exempt from this requirement. The second one is more important - requirement will also depend on the device meeting a certain performance standard.

Presumably, if a device meets the performance requirement, the hit to performance caused by encryption won't be as noticeable, and if it is done out of the box, users won't know what they're missing because it won't be possible to set up the phone without encryption. 

Interestingly, Google is not requiring lockscreen security to be set up along with the full-disk encryption, which would seem to work against the security added by encryption to an extent. We'll have to see how users and manufacturers react to the requirements this time around. 

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12 Comments

1. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Good, there's no performance hit now since ARMv8 has AES support built-in Even phones with A53 cores should be fine

4. HildyJ

Posts: 342; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Fine and good are two different things. The Nexus 5x is only marginally faster than the Nexus 5, despite the CPU upgrade. You have to wonder how much faster it would be without encryption.

6. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

That's because the 808 is only moderately faster than the 800, and stock Android is so light that the bump up isn't as noticeable day to day as it is in benchmarks. I seriously doubt encryption has any tangible performance loss on ARMv8. 800 Geekbench Single: ~900 Multi: ~2800 808 Geekbench Single: ~1200 Multi: ~3200 Nothing extraordinary.

7. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The Nexus 5 was marginally faster than the Nexus 4 The iPhone 6S is marginally faster than the iPhone 6 The Galaxy Note 5 is marginally faster than the Galaxy Note 4 Same for basically all phones for the past few years Except for rare ones, like the One M9 is marginally slower than the One M8

10. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Wrong. The 6S is noticeably faster than the 6 as well as the Note 5 vs. Note 4.

12. vincelongman

Posts: 5748; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Only in benchmarks Or in ram intensive apps, but that's because of the extra Giga of ram, but the A9 Note 5 vs. Note 4 is because of Samsung improving TouchWiz

2. phonehome

Posts: 812; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

I'm sure the NSA will have a hand in developing the 'full-disk encryption', just like with the Blackphone.

3. 8ozchickenbreast unregistered

The irony here.

5. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

So faster phones can now get laggier on an already lagging Android :P

8. pokharkarsaga

Posts: 556; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Android lags because of UI rendering not getting highest priority.Due to this frame drops & hurts basic interactions.Android team are lazy people.They now are adding file manager & too hidden which was asked by users for so many years.Same with multiwindow.In future they are just goingt o copy OEM features.

11. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

OEMs do contribute code to AOSP, not surprised it trickles down aftera while.

9. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

I have a Nexus 6 that came with encryption on and I do not see a way to turn it off. In day to day usage I do not notice extra lag. But maybe if I put it side by side with a non-encrypted phone I would see a difference.

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