SD card encryption in Fairphone 5

Is it possible to encrypt the external SD card in Fairphone 5?

From my experience with FP3,

  • Formatting as internal didn’t go well. Resulted in data loss and an unstable device.
  • Formatting as external poses a significant threat to my privacy in case the device gets stolen.

So, while it has an external SD card slot, it is not really usable.
This is the reason for asking the question.

This does not directly answer your question, but what you can always do (independently of the device) is use something like EDS. It supports common encryption container formats such as TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt, LUKS or EncFS. This can also allow you to decrypt the container’s data on different devices (which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it), since you’re not dealing with a setup that requires the key to be generated and stored within the phone’s TPM.

There is a (free) light version, which is OpenSource, and a (paid) full version with added functionality but closed source parts.


For my use case it’s of very high usability. One core priority for my Fairphone purchase.
With my FP2 and FP4 it works to my fullest satisfaction holding a SD Card formatted as external/portable storage. To me it looks like it’s doing precisely what it’s meant for.
As much as I can say about the mechanism when formatted as internal storage extension is, the OS uses the extra space just the way as it uses the internal. So the installed SD Card needs to cope or come as close as possible to the internal storage specifications in terms of high compatibility, high data throughput to prevent noticeable read/write delay. These are the least core specs to be met.

If one installs a SD Card that does not closely comply with at least these two core specs, problems are to be expected and the filesystem will over time get corrupted resulting in overall system instability, lag and in worst case (due to data encryption) data loss should the device turn totally unusable.
Unfortunately it seems to be a form of trial and error issue finding a good match.

Which is a main reason for me why in the last decades I successfully could prevent having my mobile, (passport, car/house key etc.) lost or stolen.

I don’t think most people will have time to move media into a container after they have been recorded. They would rather have the camera app save media directly in the container. From the app’s description it seems it* will work the way it’s supposed to, but only with root access. However, this might introduce more risks.

*it = a practically usable encrypted storage

But it’s something. Thank you.

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I am concerned about situations like this, which may be more common in tourist attractions.
DPG Media Privacy Gate ( Slachtoffer van telefoondiefstal grijpt dader op scooter bij de hals in Eindhoven)
Prevention of having my phone stolen in an extreme situation may have unintentional consequences like causing someone a physical injury.

Which is one reason for asking for encrypted storage.

Everyone has their own use case. Information Security is based on Confidentiality, Availability and Integrity. In your case it seems your demand for Availability is high. But in my case, my demand for Confidentiality is high. And I might sacrifice Availability a little. That’s how Information Security works. Each person has their own expectations of these pillars.

It would have worked for both of us (or everyone) if SD card encryption was available as an option.

So, from the responses I received so far, it seems SD card encryption in FP5 might not be available. I’m not asking for a Samsung Knox alternative. Just ensuring proper functionality of SD + internal combined mode would be enough.

I would like to hear from FP5 users about their experience with formatting the SD card as “internal storage”. This would help me decide what to buy when my FP3 reaches end of life.

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I believe you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that, since as of now there are just a few FP5 prototypes in circulation and regular devices only start shipping tomorrow.