Confirmed: performance woes back Google off Android encryption

Over the past few days, news has surfaced that Google quietly stopped forcing full-disk encryption for Android devices. After loudly thumping their chest about security, Google silently removed the requirement. At the time of discovery, it wasn't clear why Google would do such a thing. A study found that Android handsets performed much worse when encrypted, so it was believed that was the reason Google had for yanking the encryption. Now, Google has responded, and performance is confirmed as the issue.

Here is Google's statement in full:

In September, we announced that all new Android Lollipop devices would be encrypted by default. Due to performance issues on some Android partner devices we are not yet at encryption by default on every new Lollipop device. That said, our new Nexus devices are encrypted by default and Android users (Jelly Bean and above) have the option to encrypt the data on their devices in Settings —> Security — >Encryption. We remain firmly committed to encryption because it helps keep users safe and secure on the web.

Makes sense, really. As encryption adds another hoop for phones to leap through, performance was bound to take a hit. A study by AnandTech showed just how serious the performance issues were with encryption. Though high-end devices likely won't suffer in any noticeable way, mid-range and other limited spec phones will feel the pinch in a big way.

It's not clear if Google is somehow working to revamp their encryption methods for those phones. For now, Android doesn't mandate encryption, but Google won't say that feature is on hold indefinitely. They make a point to say this is for Lollipop devices (where encryption was made standard), so a future iteration of Android could bring this back. Hopefully not with the performance issues, though.

Source: Google

Via: Engadget