SQLCipher for Android Application Integration

Note: This documentation covers integration of the new SQLCipher for Android API. If you are looking for documentation for the legacy SQLCipher for Android library, please see here. This new version of SQLCipher for Android provides major benefits including optimized support for concurrent database access, drastic performance improvements, API simplification, and codebase modernization.

The community edition of SQLCipher for Android is distributed via the AAR package format allowing usage in either Java or Kotlin-based Android projects. Integration within Gradle can be performed by adding the following entry to the dependencies section of the app/build.gradle file:

implementation 'net.zetetic:sqlcipher-android:4.5.3@aar'
implementation 'androidx.sqlite:sqlite:2.1.0'

This tutorial will cover integrating the binaries of SQLCipher for Android into an existing Android application. This tutorial assumes the developer has the latest SQLCipher for Android commercial

We need to copy the AAR library file over into the app libs directory of our application. Execute the following commands:

% cp sqlcipher-android-4.5.3-release.aar app/libs

Next, modify the project’s settings.gradle file, adding the following flatDir element

dependencyResolutionManagement {
    repositories {
        flatDir {
            dirs 'app/libs'

Within the app module build.gradle, add the following to the dependencies block:

implementation(name: 'sqlcipher-android-4.5.3-release', ext: 'aar')
implementation 'androidx.sqlite:sqlite:2.1.0'

For Commercial Edition only, the license code may be provided when opening a connection via SQLiteDatabaseHook. Below is an example:

SQLiteDatabaseHook hook = new SQLiteDatabaseHook() {
  public void preKey(SQLiteConnection connection) {
    connection.executeForString(String.format("PRAGMA cipher_license = '%s';", LICENSE_CODE), new Object[]{}, null);
  public void postKey(SQLiteConnection connection) {}
SQLiteDatabase database = SQLiteDatabase.openOrCreateDatabase(databasePath.getAbsolutePath(), password, null, null, hook);

Next we will modify the source of the activity to properly initialize the native libraries for SQLCipher and then create our database file inserting a record. The application should import the net.zetetic.database.sqlcipher classes. The call to System.loadLibrary("sqlcipher") must occur before any other database operation. Please note, if subclassing a SQLiteOpenHelper, specify the constructor argument with true to enable WAL journal mode and improve performance or call setWriteAheadLoggingEnabled(true) in your constructor. WAL journal mode may be enabled on a SQLiteDatabase instance using the method enableWriteAheadLogging().

package com.demo.sqlcipher

import android.os.Bundle
import androidx.appcompat.app.AppCompatActivity
import net.zetetic.database.sqlcipher.SQLiteDatabase;

public class HelloSQLCipherActivity extends Activity {
    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

    private void InitializeSQLCipher() {
        File databaseFile = getDatabasePath("demo.db");
        SQLiteDatabase database = SQLiteDatabase.openOrCreateDatabase(databaseFile, password, null, null, null);
        database.execSQL("create table t1(a, b)");
        database.execSQL("insert into t1(a, b) values(?, ?)", new Object[]{"one for the money",
                                                                           "two for the show"});

To perform operations on the database instance immediately before or after the keying operation is performed, provide a SQLiteDatabaseHook instance when creating your database connection:

SQLiteDatabaseHook hook = new SQLiteDatabaseHook() {
      public void preKey(SQLiteConnection connection) { }
      public void postKey(SQLiteConnection connection) { }

SQLCipher for Android can be seamlessly used with Kotlin as well:

package com.demo.sqlcipher

import android.os.Bundle
import androidx.appcompat.app.AppCompatActivity
import net.zetetic.database.sqlcipher.SQLiteDatabase

class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {

    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        binding = ActivityMainBinding.inflate(layoutInflater)
    private fun initializeSQLCipher() {
        val databaseFile = getDatabasePath("test.db")
        val database = SQLiteDatabase.openOrCreateDatabase(databaseFile, password, null, null)
        if (database != null) {
            database.execSQL("create table t1(a,b);")
                "insert into t1(a,b) values(?, ?);",
                arrayOf("one for the money", "two for the show")