Information Security

Encrypting smartphones and tablet devices

Encrypting smartphones and tablet devices

This page is about encryption of the whole device. It is NOT about any encryption "apps" that you might download and use.

If your smartphone or tablet is not encrypted, it is very easy to gain access to the data it contains by breaking it open, and plugging it's storage "disk" into another phone, or device reader.

If a targetted theft took place, for example for corporate espionage, the ability to remote wipe would not be of any effect if the thief decided to dismantle the device and take out its storage device part.

To protect against this, you need to encrypt the storage device itself. The most popular smartphones and tablets support whole device encryption. For Apple and Andriod devices, configuring this kind of encryption is very easy.

Apple iPhone or iPad

These are immediately encrypted when you set a PIN to lock the screen. That's all you have to do.

Android devices

For android devices, there is an option in the settings that enables you to encrypt the device. For more details, refer to the relevant manufacturer or network provider support pages for your device or contract.

For example, instructions for encrypting a Google Nexus device can be found here:

Encrypting a Google Nexus device

Windows phones

Windows phones have not been easy to encrypt. This situation may change in due course. The University will publish advice on how to encrypt Windows phones when this comes about.

Other devices: investigate "how to encrypt" before you buy

Tablets and smartphones are a fast-changing marketplace so it's not possible to list encryption for them all here.

Whatever type of device you choose, use ease-of-encryption as one of your selection criteria.

Other things you can  do to protect mobile phones and tablet devices

Security for mobile phones and tablets