Ars Technica reported on Google backtracking from compulsory encryption for Android Lollipop devices.
Last year, Google made headlines when it revealed that its next version of Android would require full-disk encryption on all new phones. Older versions of Android had supported optional disk encryption, but Android 5.0 Lollipop would make it a standard feature.
But we’re starting to see new Lollipop phones from Google’s partners, and they aren’t encrypted by default, contradicting Google’s previous statements. At some point between the original announcement in September of 2014 and the publication of the Android 5.0 hardware requirements in January of 2015, Google apparently decided to relax the requirement, pushing it off to some future version of Android. Here’s the timeline of events.
So why the change of heart after the fanfare in announcing the feature?
Here’s what we think is most likely. Lollipop’s encryption requirement made headlines again in November, this time because it had a huge impact on the new Nexus 6’s performance. Our review of the Nexus 6 showed that the new phone could be slower than the old Nexus 5 in certain tasks, and AnandTech supplied additional numbers that showed just how severe the performance impact was.
Meanwhile, iOS users continue enjoy encryption with no impact on their phone performance.