MacMost Q&A Forum • View All Forum QuestionsAsk a Question

Back Up Time Machine? Encrypted or Not?

What are encrypted files?
James O’Brien

Comments: One Response to “Back Up Time Machine? Encrypted or Not?”

    3 years ago

    So suppose you are backing up your Mac to a Time Machine drive. Then someone breaks into your home and steals the drive. They can then mount the drive on their computer and see your files, including things with private information, or valuable work, and so on.

    By encrypting the drive, you insure that if someone were to steal your Time Machine drive, that the contents were encrypted and could not be read by the person with the drive.

    An encrypted file is a file that is encoded so that it can only be read by someone with the key (password). When you encrypt your backup drive, your computer knows the key and so the backup will just seem normal to you. But someone else would need the key to get at the files.

    In some cases this is critical. If you work for a company with a security policy that states that all data needs to be protected, then you'll need to encrypt your Mac (FileVault) as well as your backup. For people who just use their computer for personal use, it is up to them. It does take a long time to encrypt the drive when you first turn this on, but you don't need to do anything, just ignore it and let it encrypt the files over hours (or days).

    For more information, Apple has a page on this:

Comments Closed.