Data Encryption on Your Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK

By Corey Sandler

Making someone enter a pattern, PIN, or password before they can use your Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is like locking the front door. But if you really want to secure your tablet’s contents, consider encrypting the device, or the external microSDHC card, or both.

Why would you want to do this? If you are merely storing books to read and a few photographs, videos, and music files, this might be a bit of overkill. But if you plan to store personal or business files that would be damaging or embarrassing if seen without your permission, you can encrypt them.

Now, it must be said that the level of encryption within an Android device isn’t government spy-agency level. (And, as you know, even Top Secret government files can leak like a sieve.)

An encrypted Tab 4 NOOK, though, is difficult (if not impossible) for an amateur to read. Your strongest defense is a complex, unobvious password.

You can encrypt accounts, settings, downloaded applications (along with associated data), media, and other files. You can also encrypt the data stored on an external microSDHC card.

Encryption can take as much as an hour the first time you do it. Before you start, make sure your Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is fully charged and leave it plugged into the wall adapter while the process is going on. If the encryption process is interrupted, you could lose some or all of your data.

Encrypting

Here’s how to encrypt your tablet:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to display the notification panel.

  2. Tap the Settings (gear) icon.

  3. Choose the General tab at the top of the screen.

  4. In the left panel, in the Device Manager section, tap Security.

  5. In the right panel, in the Encryption section, tap Encrypt Device or Encrypt External SD Card.

    You can encrypt only the data that’s internal by checking the Fast Encryption option. You can also encrypt audio and video files, but leaving those files unencrypted speeds up the process.

  6. Type your password once.

    The encryption password must be at least 6 characters and have at least 1 number. You’re asked to enter it a second time.

    Use a strong or complex password for encryption, and don’t forget it. Don’t use anything obvious, like your name or your pet’s name or “Password.” The best type of password is something that combines letters and numbers and isn’t directly associated with you. And don’t write the password on a sticky note on the back of your tablet.

  7. Type it again.

    When the encryption process begins, your tablet will restart several times as it goes through various steps. You can’t use the tablet while it’s encrypting the device or the memory card.

Decrypting

If you later decide that you don’t want encryption, you can reverse the process. You’ll need the correct password, of course.

Here’s how to undo the scrambling:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to display the notification panel.

  2. Tap the Settings (gear) icon.

  3. Choose the General tab at the top of the screen.

  4. In the left panel, in the Device Manager section, tap Security.

  5. In the right panel, in the Encryption section, tap Decrypt Device or Decrypt External SD Card.

    The decryption options only appear if you’ve encrypted the data. Follow the instructions that appear onscreen to remove the encryption.

Oh, and guess what? If it took your Tab 4 NOOK an hour or so to encrypt files, settings, and other items, it takes about the same amount of time to decrypt them. Make sure the tablet’s battery is fully charged, and plug it into the wall power adapter.