I created a tool - initially for the nexus 9 (flounder|flounder_lte) - that gets rid of the ForceEncrypt flag in a generic way (meaning it should work no matter what rom you are on). It does that by patching the currently installed boot.img.
I enhanced that tool to make it work for other devices too. (See the list below to see if your device is supported)
/* * Your warranty is now void. * * I am not responsible for bricked devices, dead SD cards, * thermonuclear war, or you getting fired because the alarm app failed. Please * do some research if you have any concerns about the features in this tool * before using it! YOU are choosing to make these modifications, and if * you point the finger at me for messing up your device, I will laugh at you. Hard. A lot. */
The Android CDD (Compatibility Definition Document)
There is an ongoing discussion about this topic in cyanogenmod's gerrit for the nexus 9. Although it's a fun read it is pretty clear that this exchange of views is not going anywhere near a useful outcome. Additionally, Google's stock ROMs always have forced encryption enabled on newer devices.
Because performance is important to me and at least my tablet does not need the extra security I created the FED-Patcher (ForceEncrypt Disable Patcher).
How does it work?
FED-Patcher is a simple flashable ZIP that is supposed to be run in a recovery that has busybox integrated (like TWRP or CWM). This is what it does:
- Checks if your device is compatible
- Dumps the currently installed boot.img.
- Unpacks the dump of your currently installed boot.img. The unpacking process is done via a self-compiled, statically linked version of unmkbootimg.
- It patches the filesystem tables which include the force-encrypt flags. This process will change "forceencrypt" to "encryptable".
- Then, if necessary, it patches the filesystem tables to not use dm-verity. This is done by removing the "verify" mount-parameter.
- Creates a new boot.img. The unpacking process is done via a self-compiled, statically linked version of mkbootimg.
- Flashes the modified boot.img
- HTC Nexus 9 WiFi (flounder)
- HTC Nexus 9 LTE (flounder_lte)
- Motorola Nexus 6 (shamu)
- LG Nexus 5X (bullhead)
- Huawei Nexus 6P (angler)
- v1 - Initial version with HTC Nexus 9 WiFi (flounder) support
- v2 - Added Motorola Nexus 6 (shamu) support
- v3 - Added support for HTC Nexus 9 LTE (flounder_lte)
- v4 - Added support for signed boot-images
- v5 - Changed error handling to compensate for missing fstab files. Some roms seem not to ship with the complete set of boot-files from AOSP.
- v6 - FED-Patcher will enforce the same structure for the patched boot.img that the original boot.img had. Additionally, the kernel commandline will also be taken over. This should fix pretty much every case where devices would not boot after patching.
- v7 - FED-Patcher will now disable dm-verity in fstab to get rid of the red error sign on marshmallow roms.
- v8 - Added support for LG Nexus 5X (bullhead) and Huawei Nexus 6P (angler)
What do I need to make this work?
- A supported device
- An unlocked bootloader
- An already installed ROM with forceencrypt flag. (like cyanogenmod CM12.1)
- A recovery that includes busybox (TWRP, CWM)
How do I use it?
- Make a thorough, conservative backup of your data if there is any on your device
- Go into your recovery (TWRP, CWM)
- Flash fed_patcher-signed.zip
- If your device is already encrypted (You booted your ROM at least once) you need to do a full wipe to get rid of the encryption. This full wipe will clear all your data on your data-partition (where your apps as well as their settings are stored) as well as on your internal storage so please, do a backup before. If you don't do a backup and want to restore your data... well... Call obama.
How do I know if it worked?
Go into your "Settings"-App. In "Security", if it offers you to encrypt your device it is unencrypted. If it says something like "Device is encrypted" it indeed is encrypted.
IMPORTANT: If you update your ROM you have to run FED-Patcher again because ROM-updates also update the boot-partition which effectively removes my patch. So, if you are on CM12.1 for example and you used my patch and do an update to a newer nightly you have to run FED-Patcher again. If you don't do so Android will encrypt your device at the first boot.
Is it dangerous?
Well, I implemented tons of checks that prevent pretty much anything bad from happening. But, of course, we're dealing with the boot-partition here. Even though I tested FED-Patcher quite a lot there is still room for crap hitting the fan.
Scroll down to the attached thumbnails.
* pbatard for making (un)mkbootimg (dunno if he is on xda)
* @rovo89 for his xposed framework - I used some of his ideas by reading the source of his xposed installer flashable ZIP for FED-Patcher.
FED-Patcher, Tool/Utility for all devices (see above for details)
Current Beta Version: v8
Beta Release Date: 2015-10-27
Last Updated 2016-10-23