Information Services Division


How to enable encryption on a smartphone or tablet

This guide gives tips how to enable encryption on your Apple, Android, Google or Windows device

This guide is aimed at:

  • All UCL staff and students


Apple iPhone or iPad

For Apple devices using iOS 12 or later, and any iPad, you can encrypt the contents of your device. This means that if someone gets physical access to your device, they will also need your passcode to decrypt (turning the scrambled data into readable, intelligible information) data stored on it, including contacts, instant messages or texts, call logs, and emails.

See Apple’s privacy features for more information.

Most modern Apple devices encrypt their contents by default. See below for instructions on how to protect your device with the PIN or password:

For devices running iOS 12 or later

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap Face ID & Passcode.

3. Tap Turn Passcode On.

4. Follow the prompts to create a 6 digit passcode or alternatively tap Passcode Options to switch to a custom numeric code or a custom alphanumeric code.

To customise your passcode, select Passcode Options and Custom Alphanumeric Code.

To customise an existing passcode, select Change Passcode and then Passcode Options.

We also recommend setting the Require passcode option to Immediately, which locks your device when not in use.

Once you’ve set a passcode, scroll down to the bottom of the Passcode settings page. You should see a message that says Data protection is enabled. This means that the device’s encryption is now tied to your passcode, and that most data on your phone will need that code to unlock it.

Android devices

For android devices, there is an option in the settings that enables you to encrypt the device. For more details, refer to the relevant manufacturer or network provider support pages for your device or contract.

Google Nexus devices

Please visit the Nexus support page for instructions.

Windows smartphone devices

We recommend contacting Microsoft for assistance if you use a Windows phone and following the manufacturer’s instruction on other smart devices.

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