How to Encrypt a Hard Drive in macOS

how to encrypt a hard drive in macos

So we know that encryption is important for the protection of your data. And we’ve covered how to encrypt your Windows 10 software but now we’re talking macOS.

Step One: Turn on and set up FileVault

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Security & Privacy.
  2. Click the FileVault tab.
  3. Click the lock, then enter an administrator name and password.
  4. Click Turn On FileVault.


When FileVault is turned on, your Mac always requires that you login with your account password.

If other users have accounts on your Mac, you might see a message that each user must type in their password before they will be able to unlock the disk. For each user, click the Enable User button and enter the user’s password. User accounts that you add after turning on FileVault are automatically enabled.

Step Two: Choose how you want to be able to unlock your disk and reset your password, in case you ever forget your password:  

  • If you’re using OS X Yosemite or later, you can choose to use your iCloud account to unlock your disk and reset your password.
  • If you’re using OS X Mavericks, you can choose to store a FileVault recovery key with Apple by providing the questions and answers to three security questions. Choose answers that you’re sure to remember.
  • If you don’t want to use iCloud FileVault recovery, you can create a local recovery key. Keep the letters and numbers of the key somewhere safe—other than on your encrypted startup disk.

Encryption occurs in the background as you use your Mac, and only while your Mac is awake and plugged in to AC power. You can check progress in the FileVault section of Security & Privacy preferences. Any new files that you create are automatically encrypted as they are saved to your startup disk.

Step Three: When FileVault setup is complete and you restart your Mac, you will use your account password to unlock your disk and allow your Mac to finish starting up. FileVault requires that you login every time your Mac starts up and no account is permitted to log in automatically.

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This blog is meant to provide a starting point to implementing cyber security practices within your company. Due to the rapid progression of technology this is an ongoing and ever-evolving subject!