0.4.1 (Jul 10, 2020)
Mar 15, 2012
Sep 30, 2020 (Retired)
Guardian Project (guardianproject)
Hans-Christoph Steiner (eighthave)
Abel Luck (abeluck)
Nathan Freitas (n8fr8)
Casey Link (Ramblurr)
Christopher Ferris (cferris1000)
Joel Dice (dicej)
Source code

IOCipher: Encrypted Virtual Disk

IOCipher is a virtual encrypted disk for apps without requiring the device to be rooted. It uses a clone of the standard API for working with files. Just password handling & opening the virtual disk are what stand between developers and fully encrypted file storage. It is based on libsqlfs and SQLCipher.

If you are using this in your app, we'd love to hear about it! Please send us an email at

Adding to your project



This app relies on OpenSSL libcrypto, sqlcipher, and libsqlfs, which are all "native" C code that needs to be built before working with the Java. First, make sure you have the build prerequisites:

apt-get install tcl libtool automake autoconf gawk libssl-dev

Point the build to where your Android SDK and NDK are installed, either by setting sdk.dir and ndk.dir in your or setting the environment variables:

export ANDROID_HOME=/opt/android-sdk export ANDROID_NDK_HOME=/opt/android-ndk

With gradle, just run gradle build and it will run all the steps.

Using ant, build everything like this:

git clone git submodule update --init --recursive ./setup-ant make -C external/ $ANDROID_NDK_HOME/ndk-build ant clean debug

The official releases are built using ant using a script that fully resets the git repo, then runs the whole build:


Building Native Bits

If you are using Eclipse with this library, you can have the NDK parts built as part of the Eclipse build process. You just need to set ANDROID_NDK in the "String Substitution" section of your Eclipse's workspace preferences.

Otherwise, you can build the native bits from the Terminal using:

make -C external ndk-build


When taken as a whole, this project is under the the LGPLv3 license since it is the only license that is compatible with the licenses of all the components. The source code for this comes from a few different places, so there are a number of licenses for different chunks.

  • Apache 2.0 (Android Internals): Much of the code here is taken from the Android internals, so it has an Apache 2.0 license.

  • OpenSSL License: It is linked to the OpenSSL that is provided with Android, so it should be covered under Android's handling of the advertisement clause.

  • LGPL 2.1 (libsqlfs)

  • BSD-style (sqlcipher)

We believe the LGPLv3 is compatible with all reasonable uses, including proprietary software, but let us know if it provides difficulties for you. For more info on how that works with Java, see:

Included shared library files

In external/libs are some binary .so files, these are all binaries pulled from other sources so that the C code can have something link against. comes from Android emulators. They are included here so that the C code can link against openssl's libcrypto, which Android includes but does not expose in the NDK. If you want to build this library from source, then do this:

git clone
cd openssl-android
ndk-build -j4

These shared libraries must not be included in any real app. Android provides /system/lib/ and you should get SQLCipher directly from the source, listed above.