Understanding FileVault

FileVault is a feature of macOS that offers full-disk encryption for your Mac. This protects your files if someone were to steal your Mac. Without FileVault, someone with possession of your Mac's hard drive could view the data in your files. With FileVault, that data is encrypted and can't be read. It is unlikely that you will need FileVault, but it is still recommended if you are using a portable MacBook that could easily be stolen. Some companies also have policies that force employees to use disk encryption.



Links: Use FileVault to encrypt the startup disk on your Mac, Encrypt Mac data with FileVault

Comments: 9 Responses to “Understanding FileVault”

    SCERRI Emmanuel
    6 months ago

    Thanks. That was a nice summary. Have a good day. Emmanuel in FRIBOURG Switzerland

    Carl Hammel
    6 months ago

    I have FileVault activated on my 2013 MB Pro running Mojave and I have encrpypted my TM back up and the clone of my internal SSD. Question: Is it not possible to get around FileVault by booting in Recovery Mode and resetting the admin password?

    6 months ago

    Carl: No. That will not work if you have FileVault turned on. FileVault wouldn’t be worth anything if it did.

    Carl Hammel
    6 months ago

    Thanks for responding, Gary. I just booted in Recovery Mode for the first time since turning on FileVault and saw: Firmware password protection is off. Turn on firmware password… Is this something we should all do if we decide to turn on FileVault? Carl.

    6 months ago

    Carl: Setting a firmware password adds another layer of security, yes. Just make sure you save that password in a few places and ever lose it!

    John Stires
    6 months ago

    Hi Gary, Would not requiring a computer password after say, 15 minutes of non use, virtually accomplish the same thing(s)?

    John Stires
    6 months ago

    Ready, fire, aim! I get it; sorry for the hiccup between my ears; cheers.

    Lee Siegman
    6 months ago

    Hi Gary. I just bought a new MacBook Pro and have ascertained that FileVault is on. I don’t recall choosing the option to utilize my iCloud account to access my data, as opposed to a recovery key. How do I find out and how do I use the iCloud account to do it. Also, I set up Time Machine but did not select the encryption option. How should I proceed? Thanks for the great tips.

    6 months ago

    Lee: I think the only way to switch recovery methods is to go to the extreme of shutting off FileVault and then reinstating it with the different option. For Time Machine, you’d need to start your Time Machine backup from scratch.

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