Where to Decrypt Umbral Engrams in Destiny 2

Umbral engrams are a new kind of reward in Destiny 2. Introduced in the Season of Arrivals, these new engrams allow you to choose which items you’ll get in exchange for a small sum of resources. It’s a nice change of pace, and you’ll be getting a lot of them in the near future. However, the Cryptarch can’t decrypt them, and a lot of folks are left wondering how to decode them. This guide will show you where to decrypt umbral engrams in Destiny 2.

how to decrypt umbral engrams destiny 2
Where to Decrypt Umbral Engrams in Destiny 2

How to decode umbral engrams?

In order to decrypt umbral engrams, you’ll need access to an Umbral Decoder. It’s a device that decodes them, and you’ll find it next to the Drifter in the Annex at the Tower. You can only access it after you’ve completed the In the Face of Darkness quest, which also means completing a Contact public event on Io.

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Can’t get Umbral engram from Drifter glitch

If you’ve already collected 10 umbral engrams from activities before completing the quest and talking to the Drifter, you won’t be able to get the one from him and activate the machine. Dismantling the engrams doesn’t work for some reason. We’ve heard people say that completing the quest with another character will unlock it account-wide. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to contact Bungie’s support in order to fix it.

Cannot open umbral engram

You can’t just walk up to the machine and start decrypting, sadly. You’ll first have to complete the In the Face of Darkness quest, which means following the new story line. After you talk to the Drifter and he mentions the Decoder, you’ll be able to use it. You best do the quest early – if you get too many umbral engrams from activities, you might get stuck due to a bug.

If you need further help with Destiny 2 Shadowkeep, check out our guides on Dead Ghost Locations, Jade Rabbit Locations, and Eyes on the Moon - How to Start Vex Invasion. If it's Exotic Weapons that you're after, we've got you covered with our Pain And Gain Exotic Quest and Deathbringer Exotic Rocket Launcher - Symphony of Death guides. Going back in time for new players, we can offer you guides like Ikelos Weapons - How to Get SMG, Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, or, if you're playing Forsaken content, guides like Corsair Down & Badge - Dead Body Locations.

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Ketchua has been writing about games for far too long. As Señor Editor, he produces words (and stuff) for Gosunoob. There are a lot of words (and stuff) there, so he's terribly busy. Especially if you need something.



  1. P
    Philip Ferris

    Thank you for stating clearly that I need to do the quest. I have been frustrated as I keep getting umbral engrams but can’t get Drifter to help. I did a search on various phrases and none of the other sites that came up stated this clearly, at least that I could see. An oblique mention of the quest was not enough to get it into my skull, as I have only been gaming for 2 weeks. I am so glad I finally got the right Google search and found your post!

    I have just been honing my Warlock skills in public events and wandering and not looked at quests etc bar the adventure for the new season.

  2. N
    Nelson Ciuro

    I agree with Mr Ferris. I have search for an answer to this problem and this is the only site I found that mentioned this situation. Thank you Gosnoob, you have been BOOKMARKED!!!

  3. R

    ok so my game says i already completed it and i can get a umbral engram but i cant claim it because all of my spaces for it are used up. so i cant get his engram and finish the mission so i basically cant finish the quest and decode it. can someone HELP ME PLS

    1. J

      Just make a new character and run through the quick tutorial (takes 5 minutes), once done speak to drifter and bam, you can decode the engram he gives you and it allows your other character to skip the quest so to speak, just tried it now and it worked for me. If it doesn’t then support is your best option.

      1. J
        Jason B

        The In the Face of Darkness has a required/suggested power level of 990 to complete the public event “Contact”. Not sure what you mean about a quick 5 minute walk through.

        1. C
          Cole Simpson

          I did just that while I was below 800 power level. What I did was join the event, and then just lurk around the edge of the event waiting for randoms to finish it for me, then swooped in to collect the rewards.

  4. E

    i have 10 umbral engrams and I’ve completed the quest but when i go decode the engrams i says “Sorry, there are no items available here. Please check back during a future visit to see if there is any new inventory”

    1. J

      same thing here

    2. C

      Was anyone able to figure it out?

    3. P

      Have to complete a pyramid Public Event on Io or Titan after talking to the Drifter for the quest.

    4. T

      Just delete 1. It’s ok, you’ll get more

  5. L
    Lawrence Mason

    Holy Sweet Jesus I finally can unlock these engrams this was done so dumb by bungie, this is why so many of my friends wont play destiny 1 or 2. Thank you for making this clear I lost 3 engrams that I had to delete while trying to unlock this dumbazz quest and this ignorant machine. I watched two dozen videos and read countless articles to get to this point. So I like many others thank you for making this so clear finally.
    Later TC

  6. J
    James mayhew

    I’ve recently strted playing again and I’ve gone down to decrypt an engram to find that the Decrypter is no longer there. I’ve searched just about everywhere in the tower to no avail

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