Android llipop’s default encryption devastates storage performance, tests show

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 24 Nov 2014

If you feel your snazzy new Nexus 6 just isn’t performing as quickly smoothly as it should be, Android 5.0’s default full-disk encryption could be to blame. AnTech recently ran storage performance benchmark tests on two Nexus 6 devices: one with one without full-disk encryption (FDE) enabled. 

The Nexus 6 comes with FDE enabled by default, which you can’t turn disable, but the site was able to grab a non-encrypted phone from Motorola.

The results of the tests were staggering. th encryption enabled on the device, the site’s benchmark tests saw a 62.9 percent drop in rom read performance, a 50.5 percent drop in rom write, 80.7 percent in sequential read.

ng story short: there appears to be an issue with performance lag due to Android llipop’s FDE. And with the Nexus 6 you pay that performance hit whether you’ve got your lock screen enabled or not.

y this matters: Beefed up device encryption is a big deal with the latest generation of smartphones in the wake of ward Snowden’s revelations rampant security breaches throughout 2014. Apple closed the door on its final back door with the ione 6 iOS 8. , which has offered FDE since Android 3.0 Honeycomb, turned it on by default beginning with Android 5.0 (llipop) the Nexus 6.

The idea is to improve privacy by making it harder for general snoops ( law enforcement) to peer into your device without permission. But if FDE means poor device performance, not many people will be willing to pay the price required for extra privacy.

The problem with FDE on Android

The issue, says AnTech, is that many components commonly used in Android devices just aren’t up to the task of incorporating FDE without a performance hit. That will probably change over time, but for now it appears to be a big issue.

For Android encryption to be useful, you also must have the lock screen enabled. thout it, FDE is enabled but it doesn’t kick in—yet the cost penalty remains. In other words, you could be experiencing lag on your device even if you’re not effectively using FDE.

Older phones that receive llipop as an over the air update or flash it to their devices do not get FDE turned on automatically.

Bottom line

Does this mean you shouldn’t pick-up the Nexus 6? obably not. As we said in our review, the 2.7GHz SoC 3GB RAM makes for snappy performance, including with games. Other sites have also given the Nexus 6 top marks, although The Verge Droid-fe did notice moments of strange lag.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of down-graded performance the best remedy is to try out a Nexus 6 yourself before you buy.