Code Quality Rank: L2
Programming language: Java
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 or later
Tags: ORM    
Latest version: v4.4.0

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The latest AAR binary package information can be here, the source can be found here.


SQLCipher for Android runs on Android 4.1–Android 13, for armeabi-v7a, x86, x86_64, and arm64_v8a architectures.


We welcome contributions, to contribute to SQLCipher for Android, a contributor agreement needs to be submitted. All submissions should be based on the master branch.

An Illustrative Terminal Listing

A typical SQLite database in unencrypted, and visually parseable even as encoded text. The following example shows the difference between hexdumps of a standard SQLite database and one implementing SQLCipher.

~ sjlombardo$ hexdump -C sqlite.db
00000000 53 51 4c 69 74 65 20 66 6f 72 6d 61 74 20 33 00 |SQLite format 3.|
000003c0 65 74 32 74 32 03 43 52 45 41 54 45 20 54 41 42 |et2t2.CREATE TAB|
000003d0 4c 45 20 74 32 28 61 2c 62 29 24 01 06 17 11 11 |LE t2(a,b)$…..|
000007e0 20 74 68 65 20 73 68 6f 77 15 01 03 01 2f 01 6f | the show…./.o|
000007f0 6e 65 20 66 6f 72 20 74 68 65 20 6d 6f 6e 65 79 |ne for the money|

~ $ sqlite3 sqlcipher.db
sqlite> PRAGMA KEY=’test123′;
sqlite> CREATE TABLE t1(a,b);
sqlite> INSERT INTO t1(a,b) VALUES (‘one for the money’, ‘two for the show’);
sqlite> .quit

~ $ hexdump -C sqlcipher.db
00000000 84 d1 36 18 eb b5 82 90 c4 70 0d ee 43 cb 61 87 |.?6.?..?p.?C?a.|
00000010 91 42 3c cd 55 24 ab c6 c4 1d c6 67 b4 e3 96 bb |.B?..?|
00000bf0 8e 99 ee 28 23 43 ab a4 97 cd 63 42 8a 8e 7c c6 |..?(#C??.?cB..|?|

~ $ sqlite3 sqlcipher.db
sqlite> SELECT * FROM t1;
Error: file is encrypted or is not a database

(example courtesy of SQLCipher)

Application Integration

You have a two main options for using SQLCipher for Android in your app:

  • Using it with Room or other consumers of the androidx.sqlite API

  • Using the native SQLCipher for Android classes

In both cases, you will need to add a dependency on net.zetetic:android-database-sqlcipher, such as having the following line in your module's build.gradle dependencies closure:

implementation "net.zetetic:android-database-sqlcipher:4.5.2"
implementation "androidx.sqlite:sqlite:2.0.1"

(replacing 4.5.2 with the version you want)

Using SQLCipher for Android With Room

SQLCipher for Android has a SupportFactory class in the net.sqlcipher.database package that can be used to configure Room to use SQLCipher for Android.

There are three SupportFactory constructors:

  • SupportFactory(byte[] passphrase)
  • SupportFactory(byte[] passphrase, SQLiteDatabaseHook hook)
  • SupportFactory(byte[] passphrase, SQLiteDatabaseHook hook, boolean clearPassphrase)

All three take a byte[] to use as the passphrase (if you have a char[], use SQLiteDatabase.getBytes() to get a suitable byte[] to use).

Two offer a SQLiteDatabaseHook parameter that you can use for executing SQL statements before or after the passphrase is used to key the database.

The three-parameter constructor also offers clearPassphrase, which defaults to true in the other two constructors. If clearPassphrase is set to true, this will zero out the bytes of the byte[] after we open the database. This is safest from a security standpoint, but it does mean that the SupportFactory instance is a single-use object. Attempting to reuse the SupportFactory instance later will result in being unable to open the database, because the passphrase will be wrong. If you think that you might need to reuse the SupportFactory instance, pass false for clearPassphrase.

Then, pass your SupportFactory to openHelperFactory() on your RoomDatabase.Builder:

final byte[] passphrase = SQLiteDatabase.getBytes(userEnteredPassphrase);
final SupportFactory factory = new SupportFactory(passphrase);
final SomeDatabase room = Room.databaseBuilder(activity, SomeDatabase.class, DB_NAME)

Now, Room will make all of its database requests using SQLCipher for Android instead of the framework copy of SQLCipher.

Note that SupportFactory should work with other consumers of the androidx.sqlite API; Room is merely a prominent example.

Using SQLCipher for Android's Native API

If you have existing SQLite code using classes like SQLiteDatabase and SQLiteOpenHelper, converting your code to use SQLCipher for Android mostly is a three-step process:

  1. Replace all android.database.sqlite.* import statements with ones that use net.sqlcipher.database.* (e.g., convert android.database.sqlite.SQLiteDatabase to net.sqlcipher.database.SQLiteDatabase)

  2. Before attempting to open a database, call SQLiteDatabase.loadLibs(), passing in a Context (e.g., add this to onCreate() of your Application subclass, using the Application itself as the Context)

  3. When opening a database (e.g., SQLiteDatabase.openOrCreateDatabase()), pass in the passphrase as a char[] or byte[]

The rest of your code may not need any changes.

An article covering both integration of SQLCipher into an Android application as well as building the source can be found here.


For applications which utilize ProGuard, a few additional rules must be included when using SQLCipher for Android. These rules instruct ProGuard to omit the renaming of the internal SQLCipher classes which are used via lookup from the JNI layer. It is worth noting that since SQLCipher or Android is based on open source code there is little value in obfuscating the library anyway. The more important use of ProGuard is to protect your application code and business logic.

-keep,includedescriptorclasses class net.sqlcipher.** { *; }
-keep,includedescriptorclasses interface net.sqlcipher.** { *; }


In order to build android-database-sqlcipher from source you will need both the Android SDK, Gradle, Android NDK, SQLCipher core source directory, and an OpenSSL source directory. We currently recommend using Android NDK LTS version 23.0.7599858.

To complete the make command, the ANDROID_NDK_HOME environment variable must be defined which should point to your NDK root. Once you have cloned the repo, change directory into the root of the repository and run the following commands:

SQLCIPHER_ROOT=/some/path/to/sqlcipher-folder \
OPENSSL_ROOT=/some/path/to/openssl-folder \
make build-release

You may specify other build flags/features within SQLCIPHER_CFLAGS, however, specifying -DSQLITE_HAS_CODEC and -DSQLITE_TEMP_STORE is necessary in the list of flags.


The Android support libraries are licensed under Apache 2.0, in line with the Android OS code on which they are based. The SQLCipher code itself is licensed under a BSD-style license from Zetetic LLC. Finally, the original SQLite code itself is in the public domain.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the android-database-sqlcipher README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.