How to use the FileVault encryption feature on macOS

FileVault backs up data on your Mac’s primary disk to help prevent unauthorized access. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Whether you have Mac Studio (2023) running MacOS Sonoma, or another version of Mac, Apple provides a number of privacy and security features to help protect your data. FileVault is a default feature baked into macOS, and we recommend that all users enable it on their systems. So what is FileVault, and how do you enable it? Let’s find out!

Apple says:

FileVault full-disk encryption (FileVault 2) uses XTS-AES-128 encryption and a 256-bit key to prevent unauthorized access to information on your primary disk.

So it adds another layer of security to ensure that no one can access your files, except you.

How to enable FileVault on macOS

  1. Go to System Settings.
  2. Click Privacy & Security.
  3. Scroll down, and click on FileVault.
  4. Click Turn it on, if it’s not already turned on.
  5. You will be asked to enter your Mac password.
  6. When you do, your Mac will start hiding in the background.
  7. If you forget the password in the end, you will be able to reset it through your iCloud account or the recovery key. Otherwise, you will be completely locked out of your Apple computer.

How to check if FileVault is working or not

  1. Launch the System Settings app.
  2. Go to the Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down, and click on FileVault.
  4. There you will see the Turn Off button. This ensures that FileVault is enabled.
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How to disable FileVault on your Mac

  1. Open the System Settings app.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security.
  3. Scroll down, and hit FileVault.
  4. Click on Turn Off.

FileVault recovery

As a backup plan, Apple allows you to restore your files through your iCloud account or a hard recovery key. If you are asked to choose between the two, we recommend that you go to the iCloud account. That’s because it prevents you from keeping a dedicated recovery key safe. Considering most users log into their iCloud account or Apple ID frequently, forgetting the password is easier than losing the recovery key.

That’s all you need to know about FileVault! You can add extra security for peace of mind by simply enabling this feature. FileVault makes it difficult for unsuspecting people to gain access to the information stored on your Mac without your permission. That’s because it depends on your password to change the files you have. So, if you forget the Mac password, then you will lose the data forever.

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