CWAC-SafeRoom: A Room<->SQLCipher for Android Bridge
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CWAC-SafeRoom: A Room<->SQLCipher for Android Bridge

This project implements the Support... series of classes and interfaces that Room can use for working with a particular edition of SQLite. Specficially, this project's classes connect Room with SQLCipher for Android, a version of SQLite that offers transparent encryption of its contents.

Right now, this project is for experimentation purposes and for helping to prove the practicality of the Support... class setup. Do not use this in production applications just yet.

See a separate README for information about the 1.0.0-beta1 release.


There are two versions of this library, for AndroidX and for the older Android Support Library.

If you cannot use SSL, use for the repository URL.


repositories {
    maven {
        url ""

dependencies {
    implementation "com.commonsware.cwac:saferoom.x:0.5.1"

Android Support Library

repositories {
    maven {
        url ""

dependencies {
    implementation "com.commonsware.cwac:saferoom:0.4.5"


When you use Room, you use Room.databaseBuilder() or Room.inMemoryDatabaseBuilder() to get a RoomDatabase.Builder. After configuring that object, you call build() to get an instance of your custom subclass of RoomDatabase, whichever one that you supplied as a Java class object to the Room.databaseBuilder() or Room.inMemoryDatabaseBuilder() method.

To use SafeRoom, on the RoomDatabase.Builder, before calling build():

  • Create an instance of com.commonsware.cwac.saferoom.SafeHelperFactory, passing in the passphrase to use

  • Pass that SafeHelperFactory to the RoomDatabase.Builder via the openHelperFactory() method

// EditText passphraseField;
SafeHelperFactory factory=SafeHelperFactory.fromUser(passphraseField.getText());

StuffDatabase db=Room.databaseBuilder(ctxt, StuffDatabase.class, DB_NAME)

Supplying a Passphrase

A cardinal rule of passphrases in Java is: do not hold them in String objects. You have no means of clearing those from memory, as a String is an immutable value.

The SafeHelperFactory constructor takes a char[] for the passphrase. If you are getting the passphrase from the user via an EditText widget, use the fromUser() factory method instead, supplying the Editable that you get from getText() on the EditText.

SafeRoom will zero out the char[] once the database is opened. If you use fromUser(), SafeRoom will also clear the contents of the Editable.

Encrypting Existing Databases

If you have an existing SQLite database — created with Room or otherwise — the SQLCipherUtils class has getDatabaseState() and encrypt() methods for you.

getDatabaseState() returns a State object indicating whether a database is ENCRYPTED, UNENCRYPTED, or DOES_NOT_EXIST. The determination of whether the database is unencrypted is based on whether we can open it without a passphrase. There are two versions of getDatabaseState():

  • getDatabaseState(Context, String) for a Context and database name

  • getDatabaseState(File), where the File points to the database

encrypt() will take an unencrypted database as input and encrypt it using the supplied passphrase. Technically, it will encrypt a copy of the database, then delete the unencrypted one and rename the copy to the original name. There are three versions of encrypt():

  • encrypt(Context, String, Editable) where the String is the database name and the Editable is the passphrase (e.g., from getText() on an EditText)

  • encrypt(Context, String, char[]) where the String is the database name and the char[] is the passphrase

  • encrypt(Context, File, char[]) where the File points to the database and the char[] is the passphrase

The passphrase is left untouched by encrypt(), so you can turn around and use it with SafeHelperFactory. If you are not planning on opening the database, please clear out the passphrase after encrypt() returns.

Only call encrypt() when the database is closed. Ideally, call encrypt() before opening the database in Room. At minimum, call close() on your RoomDatabase before calling encrypt().

Changing the Passphrase

If you want to change the passphrase for an existing database:

  • Open it in writeable mode

  • Call SafeHelperFactory.rekey(), supplying that database plus either a char[] or an Editable reflecting the new passphrase to use

Note that this does not encrypt an unencrypted database. Use the encrypt() option listed above for that.

The Editable will be cleared as part of this work, but the char[] will not be zero'd out. Please clear that array as soon as you are done with it.

Decrypting Existing Databases

You can call decrypt() on SQLCipherUtils to decrypt an existing SQLCipher-encrypted database. Supply the Context, the File pointing to the database, and a char[] with the passphrase. decrypt() will replace the encrypted database with a decrypted one, so that database can be opened using ordinary SQLite.


As one might expect, this project depends on SQLCipher for Android.

This project also depends upon android.arch.persistence:db (Android Support Library edition) or androidx.sqlite:sqlite-framework (AndroidX edition), which is the support database API that Room uses.

The Android Support Library edition of CWAC-SafeRoom is frozen at supporting 1.1.1 of android.arch.persistence:db.

The AndroidX edition of CWAC-SafeRoom supports 2.0.0 of androidx.sqlite:sqlite-framework and should be updated to support newer versions of AndroidX over time.


This project has two sources of tests. Some are local to the project. The rest come from the support-db-tests project. That project contains tests that exercise any support database API implementation.

TL;DR: to run the full set of CWAC-SafeRoom tests, use SafeRoomSuite. Either run that directly from your IDE, or set up a run configuration pointing to it, etc.


This is version v0.5.1 of this module.

See a separate README for information about the 1.0.0-beta1 release.


Right now, there is no demo project.

Additional Documentation

JavaDocs are available, though most of the library is not public, as it does not need to be.

Android's Architecture Components contains a chapter dedicated to SafeRoom.


The code in this project is licensed under the Apache Software License 2.0, per the terms of the included LICENSE file. The copyrights are owned by CommonsWare for things unique to this library and a combination of CommonsWare and the Android Open Source Project for code modified from the Architecture Components' Framework* set of classes.


If you have questions regarding the use of this code, please post a question on Stack Overflow tagged with commonsware-cwac and android after searching to see if there already is an answer. Be sure to indicate what CWAC module you are having issues with, and be sure to include source code and stack traces if you are encountering crashes.

If you have encountered what is clearly a bug, or if you have a feature request, please post an issue. Be certain to include complete steps for reproducing the issue. The contribution guidelines provide some suggestions for how to create a bug report that will get the problem fixed the fastest.

You are also welcome to join the CommonsWare Community and post questions and ideas to the CWAC category.

Do not ask for help via social media.

Also, if you plan on hacking on the code with an eye for contributing something back, please open an issue that we can use for discussing implementation details. Just lobbing a pull request over the fence may work, but it may not. Again, the contribution guidelines provide a bit of guidance here.

Release Notes

See a separate README for information about the 1.0.0-beta1 release.

Android X

  • v0.5.1: added more synchronization
  • v0.5.0: released AndroidX edition

Android Support Library

  • v0.4.5: added more synchronization
  • v0.4.4: addressed thread-safety issue
  • v0.4.3: bumped android.arch.persistence:db dependency to 1.1.1
  • v0.4.2: fixed edge case WAL issue
  • v0.4.1: added Room-specific tests, fixed WAL issue
  • v0.4.0: updated to 1.1.0 of the support database API
  • v0.3.4: changed non-WAL journal mode to TRUNCATE
  • v0.3.3: added WAL support, with an assist from plackemacher
  • v0.3.2: added decrypt() utility method
  • v0.3.1: changed rekey() to use the existing changePassword()
  • v0.3.0: added rekey(), upgraded to SQLCipher for Android 3.5.9, replaced tests
  • v0.2.1: added temporary implementation of getDatabaseName() to Helper
  • v0.2.0: added SQLCipherUtils to help encrypt existing databases
  • v0.1.3: upgraded to Android Gradle Plugin 3.0.0, set transitive dependencies to api
  • v0.1.2: fixed issue #3, related to closing statements
  • v0.1.1: updated support database dependency to 1.0.0
  • v0.1.0: eliminated Room dependency
  • v0.0.4: raised Room dependencies to 1.0.0-beta1 and SQLCipher for Android to 3.5.7
  • v0.0.3: raised Room dependencies to 1.0.0-alpha8
  • v0.0.2: raised Room dependencies to 1.0.0-alpha5
  • v0.0.1: initial release

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