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Old September 8th, 2012, 10:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default decrypt Galaxy S3

S3 has been encrypted in order to receive corporate emails from an Exchange server. I need to remove the encryption (un-encrypt) since I'm not able to update the OS because the phone is encrypted...

When I look in Settings -> Security, under "Encryption", it just says the phone is encrypted and the option is greyed out. I see no way to remove the encryption.

Am I missing something here? Is it not possible to unencrypt the device?

thanks in advance.

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Old September 8th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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From what I know, if you're to stand any chance at all you will have to factory reset your device at the very least.

Not to sound alarmist, but I did read of some folks who were unable to succeed with even that.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 10:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the response. I'm willing to do a factory reset, but I also read that it may not work and may even make the situation worse, so I'm hesitant.

I can't understand why the option to decrypt the device isn't there........
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Old September 9th, 2012, 12:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you use an Exchange account it imposed the encryption setting. delete theExchange account and you should be able to decrypt it.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 03:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Szadzik View Post
If you use an Exchange account it imposed the encryption setting. delete theExchange account and you should be able to decrypt it.
My understanding is that you can encrypt only. If you don't want the encryption any more than you have to reset the phone back to stock (or other ROM). There is no decryption process as such.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 10:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You MUST run the decrypt process in settings and then backup and factory reset.
And then you can restore all settings.
This works with the galaxy s3
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Old September 10th, 2012, 12:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rachel A View Post
My understanding is that you can encrypt only. If you don't want the encryption any more than you have to reset the phone back to stock (or other ROM). There is no decryption process as such.
I do not know where you got this idea, but if that is true, what would the point of encryption be? I think you are completely wrong and agree with the post right above mine. You have to decrypt first.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 05:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I do not know where you got this idea, but if that is true, what would the point of encryption be? I think you are completely wrong and agree with the post right above mine. You have to decrypt first.
You misunderstood me.

What I am referring to us the ability to take an encrypted device and decrypt it just by changing a setting.

Everything I've read on the subject so far indicates that the process is a one way street. Once turned on it can only be turned off by performing a factory reset and formatting the internal storage.

The point of encryption (and yes, I do know a thing or two about encryption having extensively used symmetric and asymmetric keys to protect credit card data for several years) is to protect the data on the device whilst in operation.

Once encrypted you have to type in a password or pin (no pattern lock) at (can't remember if this is either at boot time or unlock) on the phone to facilitate the decryption. Thus then enables the data to be decrypted for that session. I guess that this may use an asymmetric key possibly protected by a symmetric key, but I've not looked into this to say for certain.

However, unlike apps such as TrueCrypt on the PC, there is no device decryption option available on Honeycomb, ICS or Jelly Bean.

http://support.google.com/android/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1663755

If you'd like to dispute my answer, please provide references as to how it can be achieved.

There is a massive difference between symmetric and asymmetric keys. Knowing this is important before you make statements as you did above.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 12:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Trust me my answer above works I had the problem and solved it this way.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 01:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes entering a password will decrypt for the session. I have no experience with encryption on the s3.

However, as a desktop Support technician, I can confidently say that hdd encryption products such such as:

PGP WDE
Checkpoint FDE

Will definitely do a full decrypt (removing all trace, permanently) so the tech is there. Sure it can take days but it can be done so at least there is a precedant

Slightly off topic

I've asked Samsung some questions which they have yet only partially answered in regards to sd encryption. They state that if the s3 dies, there are desktop apps that will decrypt the sd, though they wouldn't tell me which.

What encryption is used, anyone know? I read somewhere it was AES
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Old September 11th, 2012, 04:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mr stroudy View Post
Trust me my answer above works I had the problem and solved it this way.
Where you rooted? Because that's the only way you can recover everything from a factory reset - you have to have had valid backups first to restore from later, and you can only backup the contents of the /data/data folder with a rooted app.

None of this disputes that there is no decryption option per say.

You turn encryption on and it stays on until you factory reset the device which will wipe out the local storage files in the process and give you a fresh new OS installation.

Granted this is for the Galaxy Nexus, but point still stands: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1396720
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Old September 11th, 2012, 04:30 AM   #12 (permalink)
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What encryption is used, anyone know? I read somewhere it was AES
Yes, it is AES-256
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Old September 14th, 2012, 07:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Where you rooted? Because that's the only way you can recover everything from a factory reset - you have to have had valid backups first to restore from later, and you can only backup the contents of the /data/data folder with a rooted app.

None of this disputes that there is no decryption option per say.

You turn encryption on and it stays on until you factory reset the device which will wipe out the local storage files in the process and give you a fresh new OS installation.

Granted this is for the Galaxy Nexus, but point still stands: Can't decrypt Galaxy Nexus after OTA - xda-developers
Ok I'll make it simple, I have a galaxy s3 (not rooted) and I encrypted my phone and the password overtime annoyed the hell out of me, so in settings I went to security scrolled down to Decrypt phone (not encrypt) done that then went straight to reset.
My phone is now working as it did before I encrypted it. I made sure everything was backed up first though.
Good luck

Oh and I backed up to computer not phone as that would just be silly lol
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Old September 17th, 2012, 01:25 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mr stroudy View Post
Ok I'll make it simple, I have a galaxy s3 (not rooted) and I encrypted my phone and the password overtime annoyed the hell out of me, so in settings I went to security scrolled down to Decrypt phone (not encrypt) done that then went straight to reset.
My phone is now working as it did before I encrypted it. I made sure everything was backed up first though.
Good luck

Oh and I backed up to computer not phone as that would just be silly lol
You are missing the point. Based on the particular exchange outlook settings that the OP as well as myself has, there IS NO DECRYPT OPTION as it is grayed out. In your situation, the encryption you had was not as deep and therefore you could decrypt and then reset. We CANNOT DO THAT, as due to the type of encryption we have, decrypt is not an option. When I chose to encrypt for this exchange server, it told me that I would not be able to decrypt (yes, I read the disclaimer it showed) and now would have to do a factory reset to hopefully have this phone decrypted.

So, your posts are of no help because you do not understand the situation
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Old September 25th, 2012, 06:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm having the exact same problem on a Toshiba Thrive after an OTA update to ICS.
I remember being able to decrypt before the update from Honeycomb. I can recall I even did it once just to test that it would work before loading a ton of apps. It seems that somepoint after the update, the option disappeared. Did you encrypt before an OTA update, or any update, to a new OS level?
I'll let you know if I find anything as searching for a decryption solution is by far easier than a factory reset with 100 installs with settings. :P
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Old October 5th, 2012, 11:47 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Solution for Decryption on Samsung Galaxy S3

I had the same problem. I solved it and posted it on my blog.

Essentially, you need to remove your exchange email account from your phone and your company's OWA site.

Then you can decrypt your phone. Your phone is only doing what it's told - since you have an active exchange account with a policy requiring encryption, that option to decrypt is greyed out until you remove the account.

My blog is here - I'm new so I can not post links, but if you want the play by play - here it is.... computer-hints-and-tricks.blogspot.com

Not sure if that will help you out, but it worked for me.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 12:21 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by portuguess View Post
You are missing the point. Based on the particular exchange outlook settings that the OP as well as myself has, there IS NO DECRYPT OPTION as it is grayed out. In your situation, the encryption you had was not as deep and therefore you could decrypt and then reset. We CANNOT DO THAT, as due to the type of encryption we have, decrypt is not an option. When I chose to encrypt for this exchange server, it told me that I would not be able to decrypt (yes, I read the disclaimer it showed) and now would have to do a factory reset to hopefully have this phone decrypted.

So, your posts are of no help because you do not understand the situation
I don't believe there is an difference in the encryption itself. The difference is that when you enable the Exchange Server sync you relinquish some control of your phone to the Exchange administrator. Since the Exchange administrator has stipulated that the mobile device must be encrypted the phone will not allow you to decrypt. I can't say for sure but I'd guess that removing the Exchange account (especially if that process removes all exchange data) would then allow you to decrypt since the phone no longer has to answer to the Exchange administrator.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 12:26 PM   #18 (permalink)
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You are correct. Please see post above - once the account, under settings...sync and accounts, is removed, the policy associated to the account is also removed, thereby making the decrypt option available.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I had no idea what encryption was until i tried doing so...
I've just decrypted my phone, but the SD card keeps encrypting...
There is no decrypt option for the SD card...

So, I'm not sure what to do.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 07:58 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I had no idea what encryption was until i tried doing so...
I've just decrypted my phone, but the SD card keeps encrypting...
There is no decrypt option for the SD card...

So, I'm not sure what to do.
You are probably going to have to reformat the card
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Old January 8th, 2014, 03:13 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Guys i found out how to decrypt the SD Card on galaxy SIII.

Go to security->Encrypt external SD card-> Uncheck all option and ->Continue.

Its done guys!
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Old January 9th, 2014, 07:33 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Smile yea! I can decrypt my sd card!!!

Thank you so much for your post on how to decrypt the device. I had to enter a secure password to get into the page where I could turn off decryption. It wasn't that intuitive to get but once I did that I saw the Turn Off button which turns off the encryption. It just finished decrypting my card! I'm so happy now! I went through this once when I got a replacement phone and it wasn't able to access the previously encrypted files. Boy did that make me mad! So now I removed that stupid Exchange client (I'll just use the web interface) and I can safely give my defective phone to BB to replace (screen is unresponsive at times).

THANKS!
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