It turns out there was something to the report that hardware performance was to blame for Google backing off its encryption requirement for new Lollipop devices.
Google issued a statement to Engadget, confirming that many phones won’t come with encryption turned on, a reversal of the company’s original plans:
“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.”
Such problems started showing up as early as November, when a test showed flipping on encryption tanked Nexus 6 storage performance. This issue has clearly hit enough Android devices to compel Google to back off from its original plan to require encryption in all new phones running Lollipop.
Fortunately, you can turn this security feature on yourself by following our encryption guide.
Why this matters: Encryption-by-default is long overdue for Android devices. When it’s upgrade time, you’re likely to sell off or trade in your phone, meaning someone else will be using your old device. If your data isn’t encrypted, someone with nefarious motives could possibly gain access to your old stuff.