SQLCipher for Android Release—Android N Support

2016-06-23 08:15:00 -0400

We are happy to announce the release of SQLCipher for Android 3.5.1. This is an urgent and mandatory upgrade for applications wishing to support Android N when it is publicly released.

This release of SQLCipher for Android incorporates several major changes to facilitate operating on Android 2.1 through Android N, supporting armeabi, armeabi-v7a, and x86 platforms. The Google Android team contacted us directly, requesting many of the changes below. These changes were mandatory to make SQLCipher for Android compatible with Android N. Below is a highlight of the changes that are included with the latest release:

  1. All internal and third-party library dependencies except for OpenSSL (the crypto provider) have been removed. This includes libbinder, libandroid_runtime, libnativehelper, libcutils, libutils, and libicuc.
  2. Non-essential Google AOSP legacy provider code and supporting code has been removed
  3. The library has been converted to use native UTF-16 encoding internally instead of performing redundant on-the-fly translation
  4. Multiple related changes to the JNI layer
  5. Removal of collation sequences that are dependent on ICU or AOSP libraries

There have been some significant benefits to this effort:

  1. SQLCipher for Android is now compatible with the latest Android N Developer Preview 4 (i.e., build NPD56N)
  2. The build process has been drastically simplified and is now much easier to understand
  3. Issues with characters that fall outside of the basic multilingual plane (e.g. emoticons) have been resolved
  4. Less time is required to build the library from source
  5. Only a single native .so library is required for each platform
  6. The resulting libraries are much smaller that before (armeabi is only 1.6 MB), and no longer require a large supporting ICU database
  7. These architecture changes pave the way for future improvements like API modernization and improved x64 support


Instructions for installing the latest release of SQLCipher for Android can be found here.

If your previous usage of SQLCipher for Android was packaged as a zip archive that included 3 .so files per platform (i.e., libdatabase_sqlcipher.so, libsqlcipher_android.so, and libstlport_shared.so), you should remove all of those. Our new packaging will only include one .so file (i.e., libsqlcipher.so) for each native platform. In addition to the different native libraries, you should also remove the ICU zip file (i.e., icudt46l.zip) previously included within the assets directory of your application.

Important: This upgrade is required for all applications wishing to support Android N while using SQLCipher for Android. Without this upgrade, current installations of SQLCipher for Android will crash on Android N. We do not know the official release date of Android N, however Google is advising application developers to update their applications for imminent release in Q3. Therefore we strongly advise all applications to begin the upgrade and testing process immediately with this release.