Aug 06, 2015

Does encryption affect the performance of Android phones?

I have an option (on by default) for full disc encryption on my Nexus 6. I have it enabled, but I’m curious if it slows down my phone. I’ve never really used it in an unencrypted state since I got it, so I don’t really have a comparison and it takes too long to encrypt for me to want to try it unencrypted just for the hell of it. The phone is plenty fast, so it’s not a problem just something I’ve been wondering about.
Sveta has a good answer. Personally, I think a small performance hit is worth extra security. But your mileage may vary in that regard.
Encryption does decrease performance. The read time from the disk usually suffers the greatest visible impact. According to this article a number of tests were run on Nexus 5 with Lollipop and found that read time was 40% slower, but the rest of system performance only had a minor decrease.
They did note the following regarding Nexus 6 “There is one outlier to this particular performance demonstration that's worth talking about, which is the Nexus 6. Google's reliance on a CPU-based encryption for the Nexus 6 causes a greater discrepancy in performance than we'd see with most other devices, thanks to Qualcomm's crypto engine. Since we can't predict what every manufacturer is going to do with encryption in a post-Lollipop world there are no guarantees, but it seems more than a little likely that most OEMs will try to avoid performance deficits like what we see on the Nexus 6.”
According to another source thought Nexus 6 performance decreases over 60%.
However, with this sacrifice you do gain better security, so it’s a tradeoff you’ll have to consider.
Answer this