Gone are the days when you could set your user password to 12345 or completely skip the lock screen. Our devices now store a lot of information that we value, which means that setting up some measures to protect against unauthorized access is just common sense.
The built-in macOS FileVault tool is a great solution to protect your data — allowing it to encrypt your boot disk, protecting your files. If you want to know what FileVault disk encryption is, continue with this blog post as we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using it and guide you through the process of enabling (or disabling) FileVault encryption (if necessary).
Hopefully by the end of this article you will have the final answer to the question: “Should I use FileVault disk encryption on my device?” Let’s get started.
What is FileVault?
FileVault full disk encryption is a tool in your macOS that helps you protect the data on your boot disk. FileVault full disk encryption or FileVault 2 provides XTS-AES-128 full disk encryption with a 256-bit key.
It is easily installed on your device and protects your files from unwanted access. With FileVault turned on, you’ll need to log in to your device account each time before use – either with a password or Touch ID.
FileVault 2 is available for Macs running OS X Lion or later.
How does FileVault work?
Simply put, FileVault is Mac encryption. Helps prevent unauthorized access to the data you store on your device.
Once turned on, FileVault encrypts the files you store and create on your device. Existing files on your boot disk will be encrypted when you turn on this tool, and any new ones you create will be automatically encrypted as they are saved to disk – encryption on your Macintosh will take place in the background when your device is awake and on.
Should I use FileVault disk encryption?
FileVault is an amazing encryption solution that could benefit any Mac user. The tool helps increase the protection of your files from brute force attacks.
The only possible drawback is that you can’t remove the automatic device lock with FileVault turned on (meaning you’ll have to log in to your Mac account every time you load or fall asleep) and that the process could take a small CPU to run encryption in background (which could increase if you store very large files).
So, if you don’t have anything of value on your Mac or it’s always locked in a secure location where no one but you can access it, you can opt out of enabling FileVault. Otherwise, FileVault is a great way to better protect your files.
How to enable FileVault disk encryption
Let’s now look at how to enable FileVault disk encryption on your Mac. The process takes just a few simple steps:
- Click the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen and select System settings…
- Go Security and privacy… and open FileVault tab.
- Click the lock icon in the lower left corner of the window and enter your administrator credentials, or use Touch ID to change this setting.
- Click Turn on FileVault…
- Then select the recovery option. You can allow your iCloud to unlock your drive (if you have OS X Yosemite or later) or create a recovery key.
When turned on, FileVault encryption will run in the background when your Mac is turned on and awake.
How to turn off FileVault
Disabling FileVault is as easy as turning it on. Here are the steps to turn off encryption for your Mac using the tool:
- Open the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen and select System settings…
- Find Security and privacy… menu item, click on it, then proceed to FileVault tab.
- Click the lock icon in the lower left corner of the screen and unlock it using administrator credentials or Touch ID.
- Click Turn off FileVault …
As with encryption, your drive will be decrypted in the background when your Mac is turned on and awake. Note that you cannot turn off FileVault if your drive is still encrypted after you turn on FileVault.
Protect your data
When it comes to protecting your data, encryption is not the only tool you should use.
Cleaner apps like CleanMyMac X can help rid your device of malware and unwanted files that your device no longer needs.
Auxiliary applications such as the iStat menu help monitor your device’s memory load, internet speed, temperature in real time with a handy customizable set of menu bar indicators. This tool makes it easy to fix problems or overloads with your device earlier.
One of the most important things you can do is back up your most important files. You can use applications like Get Backup Pro to make copies of important documents and items.
ChronoSync Express is another tool for easy synchronization of your documents, files, folders and items that can help synchronize or back up items on your devices or file servers.
The Almighty app can help you implement powerful customizations in your Mac experience, helping you discover its full potential and fully customize it to your needs and workflow.
So what does FileVault do? This handy tool in your Mac’s built-in toolbox lets you encrypt your drive and increase data protection on your device. Easy to turn on, all you need to do is be the administrator of your device and include it in System Preferences.
While turning to FileVault means you’ll have to unlock your account with a password or Touch ID every time you log in, this encryption adds protection to the valuable data on your Mac.
As mentioned above, protecting your data is not just about protecting yourself from unauthorized access, it’s about backing up and syncing your files with useful tools like ChronoSync Express and Get Backup Pro, as well as ensuring your Mac runs smoothly. by removing junk and malware using CleanMyMac X and keeping an eye on all processes with the iStat menus. And while you’re at it, you can further customize your Mac experience with the powerful Almighty Advanced Customization app.
Although FileVault is a built-in tool, the other tools we mention in this article are part of the Setapp tool for better workflow and higher productivity on your device. At Setapp, we’ve put together a collection of tools to make your days easier, save time and automate routines – all under one subscription. Not a subscriber yet? No problem! Try Setapp with a 7-day free trial.
Frequently asked questions about fileVault
Q: How long does it take to encrypt a FileVault disk?
A: If your device is new or doesn’t have a lot of files on it, encryption will be fast – we barely noticed it happened when we turned it on. Some users report a longer time to encrypt files. This may be due to the large amount of data stored on the drive of the device. Many reports seem to set the encryption time between 20 minutes and 24 hours.
So if you’re wondering, ‘Should I encrypt my Mac?’ because you are worried about the time it takes, you have your answer.
Q: How do I undo FileVault disk encryption?
A: FileVault encryption will begin to clear as soon as you turn off FileVault as shown above. Like encryption, decryption will also occur in the background when your Mac is plugged in and awake. It will take some time for your device to decrypt everything and completely undo FileVault disk encryption.
Q: What if I forget my FileVault password?
A: When setting up FileVault, you are prompted to allow your iCloud account to unlock your drive or set a recovery key. Depending on the recovery option you choose, you’ll be able to regain disk access even if you forget your FileVault password – with your iCloud account or recovery key. While allowing iCloud to unlock your drive has certain limitations (more on Apple’s official support page), it’s a very convenient way.
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