family of a close friend who died recently asked me (technically IT guy, but not even remotely my field of expertise) whether it is possible to retrieve data from the locked phone of him.

I d'ont know the exact model yet, but I guess the only option that comes to mind is to desolder the internal storage and read the data externally.

But I have no idea if android phones these days have disk encryption enabled by default? I've read stuff about File Based Encryption being the default now, which I guess would also prevent this approach?

My gut feeling at least tells me, it is not possible to retrieve the data like that, but I guess asking does no harm. Does anyone have experience with that, is it a feasible approach?

Thx for help!

1 Answer 1


Assuming its a recent Android phone, it is already encrypted

As for encryption, Android devices are already encrypted by default, so without your PIN the data on your phone is essentially unreadable. But in Android 11 the encryption is applied immediately after an over-the-air update, before you've even logged back in. It's a small change, but it closes another loophole that could have been used to get at your private information.

From The Android 11 Privacy and Security Features You Should Know

And so is Apple

Even if you don't think about it often — or at all — you benefit from encryption every day. It protects your identity, your family photos, your home Wi-Fi network and your finances. If you're one of the world's 700 million iPhone users, it's very likely that encryption protects everything on your smartphone, as 95 percent of Apple's phones are encrypted when their screens are locked.

That default protection ensures your phone keeps your data safe from intruders. This is especially important when you're traveling, but your phone could go missing at any time. It's vital to make use of the encryption when you aren't using your phone. Fortunately, it's easy to encrypt an iPhone with a few simple steps.

From iPhone Encryption

More Info at apple.com

You might have better luck trying to guess a pin, if one is being used

  • Thx for the quick answer, that's what I also assumed, but its good to hear the confirmation!
    – Marcel nA
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 14:24

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