October 22, 2021

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How To: Enable Hard Drive Encryption On Your Mac

2 min read

file-BZT96uGUYOEncryption is the leading hot topic in the news and the workplace recently. Whether you understand the technology behind it or not, you should understand that protecting your personal data is important. If you are Mac user it’s easier than ever to enable and encrypt your hard drive.

What is encryption? Why is everyone making a big deal of it?

Encryption is the process of making readable information unreadable to unauthorized users. Even though you encrypt it, as the proper user, you can still read it and use it like you would any other day. If anyone else tries to read it or if you lose your laptop the data on the hard drive is protected from prying eyes.

Encrypting your hard drive on a Mac is very simple. A few items to note before you proceed. On a Mac if you encrypt your hard drive you will be forced to always log into your computer with your password. In addition you will no longer be allowed to have accounts that login automatically.

On the Mac you will use FileVault to do the encryption.

Click on the Apple Menu (upper left) and choose System Preferences. In there you want to select Security & Privacy.

Click on the FileVault tab. In the bottom left, click the Lock and enter your system’s administration name and password.

Click Turn On FileVault.

osx-elcapitan-security-privacy-filevault

If you have multiple Admin accounts, each one will need to enter their password to proceed. This prevents one admin from locking out the computer on their own.

The next screen will as you how you want to be able to unlock your disk and reset your password, in case you ever forget your password. I would recommend using your iCloud account to store the backup, lessen the chance of you losing it if you store is locally in a safe or file cabinet.

osx-elcapitan-security-privacy-filevault-recovery-key-sheet

When FileVault setup is complete it will reboot your Mac and prompt you for your account password. This will unlock the disk and allow the encryption to complete.

osx-elcapitan-mac-login-screen

The encryption will happen in the background and depending on your hard drive will take several hours to complete. You can still use your computer normally while it’s encrypting. It will only encrypt while it’s plugged into power, so if you are doing this on a Macbook, keep it plugged in not on battery.

That’s it. Your are more secure than you were.

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