Google has a new form of encryption called Adiantum that’s designed to bring storage encryption to cheaper Android devices without impacting performance. Currently, devices such as low-powered Android Go smartphones, smart watches, and TVs fall below Google’s performance requirements for encryption. With Adiantum, Google says that every Android device can be encrypted, meaning privacy won’t just be for those who can afford it.
Encryption is a vital defense against anyone, whether it’s criminals or snooping authorities, who want to access your personal information without your consent. Adiantum is designed to encrypt your Android device’s storage, keeping any documents or files stored on your device private and secure.
The majority of Android hardware is currently encrypted using the AES standard, but cheaper phones, such as those equipped with low-end processors built around the ARM Cortex-A7, for example, lack AES hardware support. Google says that Adiantum is five times faster than Android’s typical AES encryption on low-power devices. Nerds can read all the gory details about the evolution of the new encryption mode in this blog post.
Adiantum is scheduled to be released with Android Q, the successor to Android Pie that’s due later this year. Don’t expect the new technology to speed up mid-range or flagship devices however; Google says AES is still the faster encryption standard when hardware support exists, and will continue to be a requirement for phones that support it.
“Our hope is that Adiantum will democratize encryption for all devices,” wrote Eugene Liderman, Director of Mobile Security Strategy at Google, “Just like you wouldn’t buy a phone without text messaging, there will be no excuse for compromising security for the sake of device performance. Everyone should have privacy and security, regardless of their phone’s price tag.”