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Here's how you can give your Android device an extra layer of security

Although there are a few important caveats to keep in mind before you do.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

YOU CAN NEVER be too safe with your smartphone, and for some, they will want to take as many steps as possible to ensure it’s secure.

On top of the usual passwords and PINs, encrypting your information means all the data that’s saved onto your phone is now presented in an almost unreadable format.

It’s perfect for those with sensitive data as it will prevent anyone from deciphering your data and gaining access to it. However, it’s not for everyone and there are some caveats to keep in mind before going ahead with it.

What to keep in mind

The kind of price you pay depends on your smartphone and the type of user you are, but it boils down to three main factors.

Speed: Accessing encrypted information takes a little bit longer than normal so opening up apps or services will see a delay, but the older the phone, the longer it takes.
Accessibility: When you set up, you’re required to enter in a password or PIN any time you want to unlock it. You won’t be able to use pattern or face unlocking when it’s encrypted so keep that in mind.
No going back: The only way you can return it to normal after encryption is to perform a factory reset. This will wipe out all your data and bring you back to square one.

It’s very important that before going ahead with this, you should back up all your data on your computer first in case you have to perform a factory reset.

Encrypting your device

If that doesn’t deter you, then go into Settings -> Security -> Encrypt Phone. Again, it’s worth stressing that you have your data backed up first before you proceed (there’s a reason why we’re repeating this).

Your phone’s battery must be at 80% and be connected to the charger before you can begin.

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The process will take roughly an hour, meaning it’s better to perform this at night or during a quiet period as you won’t be able to use it while it’s reformatting.

Encrypt phone Source:

Again, we cannot stress enough that if you’re unsure about any of this, don’t do it. It’s a very handy security feature to have, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.

A strong password, activating Android Device Manager so you can wipe your data remotely, and turning off Bluetooth and NFC when not in use are some ways to keep your smartphone safe should you decide not to go ahead with it.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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