Google can remotely reset the password on 74% of Android devices if it needs to

Android devices running older versions of the software can be remotely accessed by Google if a court demands access to it, according to a document prepared by the New York District Attorney’s Office.

In other words, Google could technically reset user-generated passwords on many Android devices if it needed to.

First spotted by The Next Web‘s Ben Woods, the report concludes that any device running on Android 5.0 and up can’t be remotely reset by Google, since the latest updates use full disk encryption. Although users need to remember to turn on the disk encryption setting.

But most people — about 74% of Android users according to the
Android Developer Dashboard — have old versions of software running on their phones and could be at risk for these remote password changes.

iPhones are a little bit more secure. The NY District Attorney document found that devices running on iOS 8 or higher employ full disk encryption that cannot be penetrated by Apple, which the company turns on by default. And with the rapid adoption rate of updates among Apple fans, it’s safe to say this will be a headaches for any law enforcement that wants to see what’s on an iPhone or iPad.

For Android users who want to switch on their full disk encryption, it can typically be found in the “security” or “storage” options in settings. Though the location will vary by manufacturer and could slightly slow down your phone’s speed.

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