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I want to encrypt my phone(Xperia M). It has CyanogenMod 12 with cyanogenmod recovery. Wanted to know if I could update it the normal way, flashing through recovery, or some other way.

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As of 04-01-2015 custom recoveries don't support decryption CM12 yet. It will give you a wrong password notification when trying to decrypt.

But you can put the update.zip in /cache partition. Then in the recovery, skip entering the password. And flash from /cache partition. This works because you don't need your password to access /cache partition.

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In upgrading to CM13, I would do wipe both caches, system and data. It is enough demanding for the system to the upgrade also without system encryption. However, I have managed to several updates in encrypted systems as Sparta describes but after many of them something often breaks and fresh installation can be necessary.

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