Use drift on encrypted databases

There are two ways to use drift on encrypted databases. The encrypted_drift package is similar to drift_sqflite and uses a platform plugin written in Java. Alternatively, you can use the ffi-based implementation with the sqlcipher_flutter_libs package.

For new apps, we recommend using sqlcipher_flutter_libs with a NativeDatabase from drift. An example of a Flutter app using the new encryption package is available here.

Using encrypted_drift

The drift repository provides a version of drift that can work with encrypted databases by using the sqflite_sqlcipher library by @davidmartos96. To use it, you need to remove the dependency on drift_sqflite from your pubspec.yaml and replace it with this:

  drift: ^2.13.0
    url: https://github.com/simolus3/drift.git
    path: extras/encryption

Instead of importing package:drift_sqflite/drift_sqflite.dart (or package:drift/native.dart) in your apps, you would then import both package:drift/drift.dart and package:encrypted_drift/encrypted_drift.dart.

Finally, you can replace SqfliteQueryExecutor (or a NativeDatabase) with an EncryptedExecutor.

Extra setup on Android and iOS

Some extra steps may have to be taken in your project so that SQLCipher works correctly. For example, the ProGuard configuration on Android for apps built for release.

Read instructions (Usage and installation instructions of the package can be ignored, as that is handled internally by encrypted_drift)

Encrypted version of a NativeDatabase

You can also use the new drift/native library with an encrypted executor. This allows you to use an encrypted drift database on more platforms, which is particularly interesting for Desktop applications.


To use sqlcipher, add a dependency on sqlcipher_flutter_libs:

  sqlcipher_flutter_libs: ^0.5.0

If you already have a dependency on sqlite3_flutter_libs, drop that dependency. sqlite3_flutter_libs and sqlcipher_flutter_libs are not compatible as they both provide a (different) set of sqlite3 native apis.

On Android, you also need to adapt the opening behavior of the sqlite3 package to use the encrypted library instead of the regular libsqlite3.so:

import 'dart:ffi';
import 'package:sqlite3/open.dart';

// call this method before using drift
void setupSqlCipher() {
      OperatingSystem.android, () => DynamicLibrary.open('libsqlcipher.so'));

When using drift on a background database, you need to call setupSqlCipher on the background isolate as well. With NativeDatabase.createInBackground, which are using isolates internally, you can use the setupIsolate callback to do this - the examples on this page use this as well.

On iOS and macOS, no additional setup is necessary - simply depend on sqlcipher_flutter_libs.

On Windows and Linux, you currently have to include a version of SQLCipher manually when you distribute your app. For more information on this, you can use the documentation here. Instead of including sqlite3.dll or libsqlite3.so, you'd include the respective versions of SQLCipher.


SQLCipher implements sqlite3's C api, which means that you can continue to use the sqlite3 package or drift/ffi without changes. They're both fully compatible with sqlcipher_flutter_libs.

To actually encrypt a database, you must set an encryption key before using it. A good place to do that in drift is the setup parameter of NativeDatabase, which runs before drift is using the database in any way:

  isolateSetup: setupSqlCipher,
  setup: (rawDb) {
    rawDb.execute("PRAGMA key = 'passphrase';");

Important notice

On the native side, SQLCipher and sqlite3 stand in conflict with each other. If your package depends on both native libraries, the one you will actually get may be undefined on some platforms. In particular, if you depend on sqlcipher_flutter_libs and another package you use depends on say sqflite, you could still be getting the regular sqlite3 library without support for encryption!

For this reason, it is recommended that you check that the cipher_version pragma is available at runtime:

bool _debugCheckHasCipher(Database database) {
  return database.select('PRAGMA cipher_version;').isNotEmpty;

Next, add an assert(_debugCheckHasCipher(database)) before using the database. A suitable place is the setup parameter to a NativeDatabase:

  isolateSetup: setupSqlCipher,
  setup: (rawDb) {
    rawDb.execute("PRAGMA key = 'passphrase';");

If this check reveals that the encrypted variant is not available, please see the documentation here for advice.