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Should I Encrypt My Time Machine Back Up Drive?

My question is really a two part one. First, I noticed there is a option to have your data encrypted when you first set up time machine on an external drive. Is this something everyone should do?

And what happens to my data, if I’m using file vault on my computer and encrypting my backups as well?
Does disk encryption and file vault degrade the quality of files like music and photos, as these items are continually being encrypted and unencrypted as I access them?
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George Motherway

Comments: 6 Responses to “Should I Encrypt My Time Machine Back Up Drive?”

    2 weeks ago

    I think so. If you are encrypting the data on your Mac with File Vault, then you should encrypt the data on your backup too. Otherwise it is like having two doors to your house, one with a secure lock and the other with no lock at all.

    What if someone were to get a hold of your Time Machine drive? All of your data would be there, and all it would take to access it would be to connect the drive to a Mac.

    Encryption doesn’t degrade anything. You are thinking of compression. Encryption takes your data and saves it bit-for-bit but securing it so you need a key to decrypt it to get to those bits. But every bit of data is there. Compression is when a file is saved in a way to make it smaller.

    Encrypting your computer with File Vault and encrypting your backup are two different things. A file would be saved in each place and encrypted in each place. It isn’t double-encrypted, in other words.

    George Motherway
    2 weeks ago

    I had accidentally activated file vault when settings up my Mac book. I have a password that I use to login on my computer. I have this memorized and I’ve been using this login for years on my macs. That said, I’m not sure I’m not sure about the security key that goes with file vault. I don’t remember what was used, iCloud or a key Code? Since I still have my password ,what are my options at this point to keep my self safe from one day forgetting and not having access to my computer?

    2 weeks ago

    George : Accidentally? I’d say it is a good move. It is very easy to lose or have a MacBook stolen since you carry it in public. I wouldn’t think of not using File Vault on a portable computer. Perhaps your File Vault key is the same password? Otherwise, there was the option to be able to recover using your Apple ID/iCloud. Perhaps you used that as well? I’m not sure there is a way to tell, retroactively. Backing up your data is a good idea regardless anyway.

    George Motherway
    2 weeks ago

    I could turn it off, let it decrypt the drive, then turn file vault back on. It’s my hope that it would then give me a new key during the new set up process. Would this be advised or is this a situation were it’s best just to leave it alone? Another words, if it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it!

    2 weeks ago

    George: That sounds like inviting disaster to me. If you decide to do it, make sure you have a good backup, and maybe a second backup too.

    George Motherway
    2 weeks ago

    Leave it alone it is then! Thanks for your help! I’ve been watching your tutorials and Mac OS lessons,.They’re great! I’ve been learning a lot from them.

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