How to disable encryption in Android Lollipop

How to disable encryption in Android Lollipop androidability 300x225 - How to disable encryption in Android Lollipop

So it turns out encryption wasn’t exactly what you wanted.

Encrypting your smartphone or tablet is a great way to add a passive layer of security to your device, something that doesn’t require a lot of work on your end and could actually protect your data if your device is stolen or you’ve somehow managed to become a target of some kind. It’s far from an impenetrable shield in terms of security, but as long as its not getting in your way there’s certainly no harm in having the protection, right?

Truth is, sometimes Full Disk Encryption can get in the way. Performance hits, especially when combined with the workload some power users (you know who you are) put on their devices, can be too much to deal with. The good news is it’s pretty easy to turn off encryption on most devices, even the new encryption offered in Android 5.0. In most cases all you really need is 20 minutes near an outlet and some know how. In other cases, most notably the Nexus 6, things get a little stickier.

Before you do anything else in this process, connect your phone to power. Make sure your phone is at least 80% charged, and leave it on the charger during this process. We can’t stress this enough. This process, whether it be encryption or decryption, must not be interrupted by anything.

While it’s more than a little unlikely that decrypting your phone is going to consume 80% of your battery, you really should just plug in and take no chances. There is no coming back from the alternative.

You’ll next need to take a look at the current state of your device encryption, which will tell you how simple or how complicated your next step will be. Head to Settings>Security and locate the encryption section of this menu. Depending on what fork of Android 5.0 you are running (TouchWiz, Sense, etc) your options here will be a little different. Samsung, for example, offers a button here to decrypt your device.

Tapping this button will cause the phone to reboot and perform the decryption, and 15-ish minutes later your phone will be just as it was, data intact and everything. For Samsung users, and for anyone else who has a friendly decrypt button in this menu, you’re all done and can stop reading here.

Everyone else, your journey has only just begun.

by Russell Holly

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