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I recently enabled encryption on my Nexus S running Android 4.1.1. I'm aware of all the benefits and drawbacks, and device encryption is definitely something I want. It's currently working fine.

However, one small caveat I overlooked is that encryption requires a password or PIN lock screen. I assumed (somewhat foolishly) that I'd be able to change back to the lock screen of my choice once the encryption process was complete. I like using a pattern lock, because I can set it to not display any visual cues, which makes shoulder-surfing a lot more difficult. It's also quick and easy to enter a relatively complex code.

The password I used to encrypt the device was intentionally long and complex, making it something I certainly don't want to be entering every time I want to check my messages. I don't want to change it to something shorter, because increased security was the whole point of doing this in the first place.

Is there a way I can go back to using a pattern lock screen? I understand that encryption is irreversible, and I don't really want to remove it. I just want my old lock screen back.

EDIT: I notice that changing the code for my lock screen also changes the key used to decrypt the device, which I assume is why you're not allowed to use a different type of lock screen. I very specifically do not want to be using the same code to encrypt the storage as I'm using to unlock the screen. That seems like a terrible idea, and I can't believe it's really the way Android does it.

  • You're correctly pointing out that both passwords are connected – which was already pointed out being "bad" by several other places (including security companies). Have you checked with the XPosed framework? I know it provides modules to e.g. use the camera from the lockscreen without unlocking the device. There might be other related modules offering you some relief (I didn't check them all, so I cannot really tell – I'm just starting to play with the framework and its modules). – Izzy Sep 5 '13 at 18:40
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Maybe: lifehacker: Three Ways to Improve Your Android's Lock Screen Security recommending:

Unfortunately, native Android solution, like proposed here via "vdc cryptfs changepw newpass" seem to work only on rooted devices.

  • 2
    That native solution is a good find, and something I may end up adopting, but it still only solves half the problem. At least by my understanding, the OS will still restrict you to only allowing PIN/password authentication, so you still won't be able to use a different type of lockscreen. – Dan Feb 23 '14 at 22:34
  • It still doesn't bypass the password authentication. – Flimm Dec 18 '14 at 14:01
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I solved this issue by using the swype keyboard. This way I can choose an easy unlock pattern, translate it to a long and complex password on the keyboard (even with lowercase and uppercase letters) and train swype to recognize it.

Now I have to enter the complex password only once at boot time (swype is not available at boot time). To unlock the lock screen I can use my gesture and swype translates it to the complex passwort.

For the encryption process you should enter the password once letter by letter and once with your gesture. This way you can be sure that swype really produces your desired password when you use your gesture.

Works great so far on my Nexus 4 (with Android 4.4).

  • 1
    Interesting approach. The downside that I see though, is that Swype now has your password stored, so one has to ensure that this doesn't leak somewhere (eg, if Swype uploads your dictionaries; also, when you swype something similar to your password in say, a browser, and swype inserts your password, the browser history now potentially stores that word for a long time). But like I said, interesting idea anyway. – PonyEars Apr 28 '14 at 22:25
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It looks like related bug "Issue 29468: Different passwords for encryption and screen lock".

  • Lots of good suggestions being thrown around in those comments. It's a shame this was reported almost 2 years ago and still hasn't been fixed. – Dan Feb 23 '14 at 22:40
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I use the following settings:

  • Settings / Security / Automatically lock 30 minutes after sleep
  • Settings / Security / Power button instantly locks OFF

So I have to write in my encryption and lock screen password only after 30 minutes of not using the device.

"Screen off and lock" app can be used to lock the device immediately. I don't have any experience with "screen lock pro" app, but that should by useful based on its description.

0

A less than ideal solution is disabling the lock screen altogether using an app such as NoLock.

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