If I setup an email synchronization with our Exchange server, is the mail I store on my phone encrypted or readible if someone finds/steals my phone?

I have enabled the unlock password (although it's not easy to unlock), but it is very easy to remove the sd-card from the phone. Is the information on that SD-card readible for a "finder", or is it not stored on the sd-card anyway.

  • Honeycomb can do full-device encryption, hopefully that's in Ice Cream Sandwich as well. I'd think about seeing if you can find an email app that features encryption ... as The_Brink says I wouldn't trust the stock app. Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


By default email will be stored in the phone's internal memory, not on the SD card. (Though you can 'move' the app to SD storage, so it is possible that the SD card gets used). As others have said, once your mail is on the SD card, there is no protection as the SD card is removable (since the data is unencrypted).

For mail that is stored in the phone's built-in memory, an attacker would have to unlock the phone to get the data. Either directly through the mail app once unlocked, or to put the phone into "USB disk mode" to read the phone's state from a USB-attached computer. (A really sophisticated attacker could probably disassemble your phone and wire the flash to a custom reader, by passing the phone lock and read your unencrypted emails off of the flash.)

Note that the Exchange connection allows the Exchange server to send a command to wipe your device. (I believe this is contingent on some setup by the Exchange admin.) In the web UI for my Exchange email server, there is an option to list authorized devices and to wipe them remotely. Of course, the phone needs to be on a network to receive this command, so an attacker could delay this command by preventing the phone from using its networks.


Emails shouldn't be stored on the sd-card, but if they are then they can be easily extracted. I would say that your emails on the device are not safe. I would recommend an app like webroot mobile security. You can wipe all your data or locate your phone with this app. There are other apps just like it. This is the best bet to keeping your data safe unless you are a spy then the only way to get ride of your data is through burning the phone.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .