Encryption is great for privacy, right? With the Nexus 6 all of your data is automatically converted into indecipherable code for those who don’t possess the lock screen password key. At a point in time when I will probably have free credit monitoring for life because of all the compromised personal information companies have failed to protect—what’s not to love about this? What’s the problem?
Faster performance is being sacrificed by the method in which the Nexus 6 is encrypted. It’s not as though the hardware is capable—the SoC (stands for System on a Chip—think CPU, graphics card, memory card, and more rolled into one tiny chip) is impressive, the RAM is spacious enough, and it’s running on Lollipop. But the encryption slows the phone’s ability to read and/or write to storage to a crawl.
Since the release of Nexus 6, Google has quietly reversed its decision to require full-disk encryption (FDE) on new devices with Lollipop.
And what’s its reason?
According to benchmark testing performed by Andantech, there may be a 60-80% decrease in read/write performance in phones with FDE. While this may not always be the case, it does seem reasonable to assume that the encryption does penalize performance to some degree.
Google did make some strides in addressing the issue with the release of the 5.1 update, but it still doesn’t allow you to turn encryption completely off. Thankfully, you are now able to get around it with a slightly modified boot image you can flash onto your device. It does require an unlocked bootloader. You will still be able to encrypt when you want to, but now it will be your choice instead of Nexus and Google’s. Read the following methods to learn how to disable forced encryption on Nexus 6.
Method 1: Flash the Encryption-Disabled Boot Image to Your Nexus 6
Pay attention to the build number of your phone. The build of the download you install needs to match. Do not attempt this method on a low battery. This method utilizes ADB to disable Nexus 6 encryption.
Enable USB Debugging.
- Go to “Device Information” from the Settings menu.
- Tap “Build Number” several times (approximately seven times). A window should appear, verifying that the “Developer mode (is) enabled.” If you have already done this step previously, your phone will tell you it’s unnecessary.
- You can accomplish this by going to “Settings” and tapping on “Developer Options.”
Perform a backup of your Nexus.
This method will wipe your device completely.
- If you want to salvage any of your current data, create a backup first.
- If your Nexus already has a custom recovery, see the link below for advice on easy backups.
Reboot to the bootloader.
- Turn off your Nexus 6.
- Press and hold down the Volume Down and Power buttons simultaneously.
- When you see the Android Robot press Volume Up and Power to access Bootloader Mode.
Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable.
Download the appropriate boot.img.
- Go to “About Phone” to check your build and choose the corresponding download from the link below.
- Download the file to your PC.
Download:No Force Encrypt Image
Locate the ADB Tools Folder on your PC.
- If you aren’t certain you have an ADB Tools Folder, check out the link below.
Move the downloaded file to your ADB Tools Folder.
Open a command window.
- In an open area of your PC’s screen, hold the shift button and right-click with your mouse.
- Choose “Open Command Window Here.”
Flash the file.
- Type this command to flash the file, but use the name of the file you downloaded:
fastboot flash flash boot booting_noforceencrypt_lmy47d.img
Once you have flashed the new kernel, reboot your device back to the bootloader.
- Press and hold Power and Volume Down again.
- When you see the robot, hold Power and Volume Up.
Perform a Wipe.
- On your PC type this command:
fastboot format userdata
- This wipes your user data, but it’s necessary. Hopefully you did that backup.
Reboot your Nexus 6.
- Restore your data from the location where you stored it earlier.
Method 2: Disable Encryption Using Flashify (For Rooted Phones with TWRP Recovery)
This method does not require ADB or a connection to your PC. In fact, you don’t need your computer at all. You can do everything from your Nexus 6. Flashing a boot image can cause damage if done incorrectly, so be careful. Avoid any interruptions to the process. Charge your phone to at least 75%. Now for Nexus 6 encryption disable.
Take note of your device’s build number.
- Go to “Settings.”
- Select “About Phone.”
Download the boot image file that corresponds to your phone’s build number.
Download:No Force Encrypt Image
Download and run the Flashify app from Google Play.
- You will have to accept terms and conditions.
- Grant the app Superuser access.
Select “Boot Image.”
Tap on “Choose file.”
- Go to the SD card.
Locate the file you downloaded earlier.
- If you can’t find it, try looking in the “Download Folder.”
Select the file.
- Confirm by tapping on “Yup.”
Go to “Flash More.”
- In the upper right-hand corner, tap the three vertical dots that represent the options menu.
Select “Reboot Recovery.”
- You should find this in the options menu.
Go into Recovery Mode.
Choose “Format Data.”
- Type “Yes.”
- Select “Go.”
- Press the “Home” button.
- Choose the “Reboot” option.
- Specify “System”.
Method 3: How to Keep Root and Disable Encryption after an Update
Updates can overwrite the progress you make when you disable encryption. Take the power back with this method. Battery should be 80% or greater. Continue reading to learn how you can disable forced encryption on Nexus 6 and maintain your root.
Turn off your Nexus 6.
- We are going into Bootloader Mode.
Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time.
- This will turn your Nexus 6 back on.
When you see the Android Robot and Logo, press Volume Up and Power to access Bootloader Mode.
- Bootloader Mode enables your phone to accept Fastboot commands.
Download the appropriate boot.imgnoencrypt for your device’s build.
- Download it to your PC and place it in the ADB folder.
- Connect your phone to your PC.
- Hold the shift key and right-click on a blank area of the screen.
- Select “Open Command Window.”
Download: No Force Encrypt Image
Flash the boot.imgnoencrypt file you just downloaded.
Execute the following command but place the name of the file you downloaded in front of img.
fastboot flash boot boot_noforceencrypt.img
Example: fastboot flash flash boot booting_noforceencrypt_lmy47d.img]
Perform a Factory Reset.
- Type in the command: fastboot format userdata or
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on Backup and Reset.
Re-root your Nexus 6.
- Download CF-Auto-Root. There’s a link below.
- Extract the files to a folder on your PC.
- For another way to root the Nexus 6, see the article below.
Double-Click the file that corresponds to your PC’s OS.
Press any key on your keyboard.
- Ensure your phone is still in Fastboot Mode and connected to your computer.
Your phone should automatically reboot.
- For future updates, you will need to repeat this process.
Think you are off the hook because your device is post Google-mandated default encryption? Think again. Google is at it again. There are already plans for Android 6.0 to require default encryption. Many of you may find yourselves needing a solution like one of these methods. But you already know how to disable Nexus 6 encryption Marshmallow.
Which method worked the best for you or what advice do you have on how to disable encryption on the Nexus 6? Have you noticed an increase in performance? Did you experience any issues during or after the disablement? Send us your thoughts on all of these topics.