Android Stuck at “Encrypting SD card: 0%”

So I got my Note 8 and started going the laborious, multi-day process of moving all of my apps, data and settings when I ran into an odd roadblock. I couldn’t get my Note 8 to encrypt my SD card.

I’ve got a 200gb microSD card that I unencrypted on my V20 and had been using without an issue in my Note 8. Since it can take hours to for Android to encrypt such a large microSD I waited until the end of the day and got the encryption process going.

Except rather than actually encrypt the microSD card, the process was stuck for about 20 minutes (way too long) with this message:

Encrypting SD card: 0%

It never advanced past that. A couple Google searches only turned up a single forum post about that specific problem, though there were other posts regarding Android getting stuck encrypting SD cards. One of the replies to the user who had the same problem I was experiencing set off a light bulb in my head:

Is your lockscreen locked with a password? If not, the SD card won’t encrypt. (You should be given that message as soon as you try to encrypt it.)

Okay, I’ve got a lockscreen password set, so it should start encry….hey, wait a minute, it couldn’t possibly be… oh, FFS, it is.

So, I own a Samsung Gear S3 watch. Typically I set my phone up so that it will unlock without having to enter my phone password as long as it is connected via Bluetooth to the watch.

And wouldn’t you know it, the second I disabled that feature on the phone, the encryption process actually started.

Okay, that’s ridiculous. If having something like that option turned on is going to prevent the OS from encrypting the microSD card, then the OS shouldn’t allow the users to choose “Encrypt SD card” until the unlock feature causing the problem is resolved.

The “Encrypt SD Card” button should be grayed out with a message like:

This device can be unlocked by the presence of a paired Bluetooth device. The SD card cannot be encrypted while the phone is configured this way.

A better option would be to allow the user to encrypt the microSD card in this state, since it applies only to the initial encrypting of the card rather than its ongoing use.

What’s the point of the system refusing to allow you to encrypt a microSD card if the device can be unlocked by the a Bluetooth device, when it’s going to allow the user to routinely access the data on the microSD card via this method once it is finally encrypted?

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