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Amazon U-turns on Fire OS device encryption

The option to encrypt the data on Amazon's Fire devices will return at some point this spring.

Following a furor over the removal of the device encryption option in the latest Fire OS 5 update, Amazon has backtracked from this position and said that the option will be making a return later this year.

"We will return the option for full disk encryption with a Fire OS update coming this spring," confirmed an Amazon spokesperson.

Fire OS is a customized version of Android that Amazon uses to power its Fire tablets and smartphone. However, the latest Fire OS 5 release has deprecated encryption support, leaving owners of Fire hardware with a tough choice; abandon encryption and put their data at risk, or run an outdated operating system.

Owners of Amazon tablets and smartphones began noticing that encryption had been removed late last month, and have been expressing their dismay and anger at the move on the company's support forum, as well as on blogs and social media.

So, what do Fire owners do in the interim? You have some options.

If you've already upgraded to Fire OS 5 then you've currently flying with device encryption then it might be prudent to remove any sensitive information off the device.

If you've not upgraded to Fire OS 5 then you have two choices:

  • Run an outdated version of Fire OS for a few weeks/months and wait for the update that contains device encryption to come through (after all, you're hardly alone in being an Android user that has to wait for updates)
  • Upgrade now to Fire OS 5, live without encryption for a few weeks/months, and then get it back later.

Personally, I'm going with the former over the latter.

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