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Supported Operations for Queryable Encryption

On this page

  • Operations Using BinData
  • Supported Read and Write Commands
  • Supported Query Operators
  • Supported Update Operators
  • Replacement-style Updates
  • Unsupported Insert Operations
  • Unsupported Aggregation Stages
  • Supported Aggregation Stages
  • $lookup and $graphLookup Behavior
  • Supported Aggregation Expressions
  • Unsupported Field Types

This page documents the specific commands, query operators, update operators, aggregation stages, and aggregation expressions supported for Queryable Encryption compatible drivers.


Enterprise Feature

Automatic encryption is available in MongoDB Enterprise and MongoDB Atlas

MongoDB stores Queryable Encryption encrypted fields as a BinData blob. Read and write operations issued against the encrypted BinData value may have unexpected or incorrect behavior as compared to issuing that same operation against the decrypted value. Certain operations have strict BSON type support where issuing them against a BinData value returns an error. Official drivers compatible with Queryable Encryption parse read and write operations for operators or expressions that do not support BinData values or that have abnormal behavior when issued against BinData values.

Applications using explicit encryption may use this page as guidance for issuing read and write operations against encrypted fields.

Queryable Encryption compatible drivers support automatic encryption with the following commands:

For any supported command, the drivers return an error if the command uses an unsupported operator, aggregation stage, or aggregation expression. For a complete list of the supported operators, stages, and expressions, see the following sections:

  • Supported Query Operators

  • Supported Update Operators

  • Supported Aggregation Stages

  • Supported Aggregation Expressions

The following commands do not require automatic encryption. Official drivers configured for Automatic Encryption pass these commands directly to the mongod:

Issuing any other command through a compatible driver configured for automatic encryption returns an error.

[1] While automatic encryption does not encrypt the getMore command, the response to the command may contain encrypted field values.
  • Applications configured with the correct Queryable Encryption options automatically decrypt those values.
  • Applications without the correct encryption options see the encrypted values.

For sharded cluster transactions that use Queryable Encryption, you must set readConcern to snapshot.

Drivers configured for automatic encryption support the following query operators when issued against an encrypted queryable field:


Comparison Support

Comparison of one encrypted field to another encrypted field will fail.

{$expr: {$eq: ["$encrypted1", "$encrypted2"]}}

Comparison of an encrypted field to a plaintext value is supported.

{$expr: {$eq: ["$encrypted1", "plaintext_value"]}}

Queries that compare an encrypted field to null or a regular expression always throw an error, even if using a supported query operator.

The $exists operator has normal behavior when issued against encrypted fields.

Queries specifying any other query operator against an encrypted field return an error. The following query operators throw an error even if not issued against an encrypted field when using a MongoClient configured for Queryable Encryption:

Drivers configured for automatic encryption support the following update operators when issued against encrypted fields:

Updates specifying any other update operator against an encrypted field return an error.

Update operations with the following behavior throw an error even if using a supported operator:

  • The update operation produces an array inside of an encrypted path.

  • The update operation uses aggregation expression syntax.

For update operations specifying a query filter on encrypted fields, the query filter must use only supported operators on those fields.

Replacement-style updates are supported, however, if the replacement document contains a Timestamp(0,0) inside a top-level encrypted field, Queryable Encryption will error. The (0,0) value indicates that the mongod should generate the Timestamp. mongod cannot generate encrypted fields.

Compatible drivers configured for automatic encryption do not support insert commands with the following behavior:

  • Inserting a document with Timestamp(0,0) associated to an encrypted field. The (0,0) value indicates that the mongod should generate the Timestamp. Since the mongod cannot generate encrypted fields, the resulting timestamp would be unencrypted.

  • Inserting a document without an encrypted _id if the configured automatic schema specifies an encrypted _id field. Since the mongod autogenerates an unencrypted ObjectId, omitting _id from documents results in documents that do not conform to the automatic encryption rules.

Automatic encryption will not support aggregation stages that read from or write to additional collections. These stages are:

Compatible drivers configured for automatic encryption support the following aggregation pipeline stages:

Aggregation pipelines operating on collections configured for automatic encryption that specify any other stage return an error.

For each supported pipeline stage, MongoDB tracks fields that must be encrypted as they pass through the supported pipelines and marks them for encryption.

Each supported stage must specify only supported query operators and aggregation expressions.

Automatic encryption supports the $lookup and $graphLookup only if the from collection matches the collection the aggregation runs against. $lookup and $graphLookup stages that reference a different from collection return an error.

Automatic encryption does not support “connectionless” aggregation metadata sources, which read metadata that doesn't pertain to a particular collection, such as:

Automatic Encryption does not support the $planCacheStats stage as the result may contain sensitive information.

You cannot perform a $lookup from a Queryable Encryption-enabled MongoClient on unencrypted collections.

Compatible drivers configured for automatic encryption support the following expressions against any equality query type encrypted fields:

All other aggregation expressions return an error if issued against encrypted fields.

Aggregation stages with the following behavior return an error even if using a supported aggregation expression:

Rejected Behavior



The expression specifies a field whose encryption properties cannot be known until runtime and a subsequent aggregation stage includes an expression referencing that field.
$addFields : {
"valueWithUnknownEncryption" : {
$cond : {
if : { "$encryptedField" : "value" },
then : "$encryptedField",
else: "unencryptedValue"
$match : {
"valueWithUnknownEncryption" : "someNewValue"
The expression creates a new field that references an encrypted field and operates on that new field in the same expression.
$eq : [
{"newField" : "$encryptedField"},
{"newField" : "value"
The expression references the prefix of an encrypted field within the comparison expression.
{ $eq : [ "$prefixOfEncryptedField" , "value"] }
The result of the expression is compared to an encrypted field.
$eq : [
"$encryptedField" ,
{ $ne : [ "field", "value" ] }
The expression binds a variable to an encrypted field or attempts to rebind $$CURRENT.
$let: {
"vars" : {
"newVariable" : "$encryptedField"

The first argument to the expression is an encrypted field, and

  • The second argument to the expression is not an array literal


  • The second argument to the expression is an encrypted field.

$in : [
"$encryptedField" ,

Drivers configured for automatic encryption do not support any read or write operation that requires encrypting the following value types:

Queryable Encryption does not adequately hide the type information for these values.

Queryable Encryption does not support read or write operations on an encrypted field where the operation compares the encrypted field to the following value types:

  • array

  • decimal128

  • double

  • object

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