How to Encrypt and Decrypt SD Card on Galaxy S20

The steps I’ve mapped out below will walk you through keeping your SD card files secured. Feel free to refer to this illustrative guide in case you need help on how to encrypt or decrypt the SD card on Galaxy S20.

For some reason, many people would still prefer to use an SD card to store important files despite the availability of cloud storage services. If you have the same file storage preferences, you’ll have to ensure that all SD card files you’ve got are totally secured. One way to make this happen is to encrypt your SD card files. Encrypting the data on your SD card will lock the information on your SD card as well as its current state. This therefore prevents anyone from reading your files even if they’re transferred to another device or a computer. 

While new flagship smartphones are already offering the highest level of security, it may not be enough to keep all your sensitive information safe from unauthorized access. This is usually the case when the files are stored on an external storage drive like an SD card. To address this concern, extra security layers are also added to safeguard all sensitive information stored on your SD card.

Easy steps to encrypt and decrypt SD card on Galaxy S20

Time Needed : 8 minutes

The following steps will walk you through the standard process of encrypting and decrypting the Galaxy S20 SD card. Before you begin, make sure that your phone is sufficiently charged. At least 50 percent of battery is recommended to ensure that the process won’t get interrupted. There’s a higher chance to end up with an encryption or decryption error, especially when the process isn’t completed. Here’s how it works.

  1. Navigate to the Apps screen then tap Settings.

    You can find the Settings icon among other app icons or shortcuts from the Apps drawer.

    encrypt-decrypt sd card on galaxy s20 - open settings

  2. From the Settings menu, scroll down and tap Biometrics and security.

    Doing so will open a new screen containing security features and settings to manage.

    encrypt-decrypt sd card on galaxy s20 - biometrics and security

  3. Scroll down and tap the option to Encrypt SD card.

    Make sure that the SD card is properly mounted so the device detects it.

    encrypt-decrypt sd card on galaxy s20 - encrypt

  4. Read and review the information on SD card encryption then tap the Encrypt SD card button to instigate the process.

    If prompted, enter your PIN, pattern or password to confirm action.
    The encryption process will then commence.  The progress bar of the encryption process will be displayed in the notification panel.
    The entire process may take a long time depending on the amount of data to encrypt on the SD card. A 60 gigabyte of data for instance, will usually take about 100 minutes to complete. There's no need to worry though because you would still be able to use your device during the encryption process. 

    encrypt-decrypt sd card on galaxy s20 - confirm encrypt

  5. To decrypt the SD card on your Galaxy S20, just head over to Settings-> Biometrics and security menu and then select the option to Decrypt SD card.

    This option is only available if the SD card inserted in your phone is encrypted.

    encrypt-decrypt sd card on galaxy s20 - decrypt menu

  6. Read and review the information then tap the Decrypt SD card button to instigate the decryption process.

    The SD card can only be decrypted on the device that's used to encrypt it.
    If prompted, enter your PIN, pattern, or password to unlock the screen.
    Then wait for the decryption process to finish. 
    Again, you can view the progress of the decryption process in the notification panel. 

    encrypt-decrypt sd card on galaxy s20 - confirm decrypt

Tools
  • Android 10, One UI 2.0 and up
Materials
  • Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, Galaxy S20 Ultra

Unlike SD card encryption, you won’t be able to use the SD card on your phone until the decryption process is complete.

Also note that your microSD card must be decrypted before performing a factory data reset or switching to a new phone. Failure to do so will prevent you from reading or decrypting the SD card in another device unless you wipe all files from the SD card completely.

In case you would bump into an error when attempting to encrypt or decrypt the SD card, verify and ensure that the SD card is properly mounted. Removing and reinserting the SD card can also help fix random issues when reading the SD card. Before you remove the SD card, be sure to unmount it to prevent corrupting any files inside the card.

Also ensure that the phone is turned off before removing the SD card.

And that covers everything in this tutorial. Please keep posted for more comprehensive tutorials, tips and tricks that will help you make the most of your new Samsung galaxy s20 smartphone. 

You can also check out our YouTube channel to view more smartphone video tutorials and troubleshooting guides.

ALSO READ: How to transfer files from old Samsung smartphone to Galaxy S20 (wired and wireless connection)