Feb 26, 2014

How To Remove Encryption on Your Android Device

Android ... 'Apple's nightmare' (7 September 2...
(Photo credit: marsmet474)
I wrote a while back how I had been using encryption on my Samsung Galaxy S3 (Sprint) Android device, but after a while it proved to be more trouble than it was worth. I am currently running CyanogenMOD 10.2.1 and I finally decided it was time to remove the encryption.

Before I go any further, it is important to note that I don't know of any way of doing this that won't wipe your device and remove any customizations. Therefore I STRONGLY recommend that you backup anything important before proceeding.

So first off, if you boot into recovery by holding the up volume + home + power when you start the device, you will notice that if you select the option to format data and cache it will error out with the encryption. That is fine for now, because we need it to error out so we can find the mount point in the log.

Second, you are going to need to have adb installed. You can find out how to do that here for Windows, or if you are using Ubuntu like me just run the folowing to install it:
# sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
# sudo apt-get update
# sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot
After that, do the following:
  • Boot into recovery
  • Select Wipe Data/Factory Reset
  • Let it error out, then select Advanced > Show Log
  • You should see something like failed to mount /dev/block/mmcblk0p12. Note: Your mount point may be different, use whatever the log says
  • Plug your phone into your computer with the USB data cable
  • From a terminal (or command prompt) run adb shell and you should get a prompt with a # symbol
  • Next run mke2fs -t ext4 /dev/block/mmcblk0p12. Note: Be sure to replace the path with the one you got from the log!
  • After that is complete you can now reboot your phone.
Encryption will now be gone, and your phone will be factory reset.

Do you know of a way to remove encryption without wiping your device? If so, let us know in the comments!

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