FileVault keeps your data safe if your Mac is stolen or lost by encrypting the hard disk. What do you mean, though? Let’s demystify FileVault and learn more about how it works.

What is FileVault?

“FileVault” is the term associated with Apple disk encryption. Which has been in its current incorporation, since OS X 10.7 Lion designed in 2011. It protects the hard drive of your Mac using XTS-AES 128 block encryption technology. When it is enabled, you are required to enter a password every time your Mac starts. Without this password, the data on the hard disk is unrecognizable.

FileVault Encryption For Mac System

Encryption is linked to a recovery key and password that are generated when the disk is encrypted. Recent versions of OS X have also allowed you to use your iCloud account to unlock the disc. One way or another, without entering a password, neither you nor anyone can obtain meaningful data on that drive. This makes a great choice if you handle confidential data, or if you are worried about the safety of data on your Mac if lost or stolen. There is another good reason to use FileVault, too. Apple recommends use to delete data safely outside a Mac equipped with SSD, once you stop using it.

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When first established a new Mac, the initial setup process will ask whether to enable FileVault. By default, it will be activated. So you may already be using it even if you do not know. Here’s how to check.

  • Click on the menu.
  • Click System Preferences.

System Preferences.

  • Click Security and privacy.

Security & Privacy

  • Click the FileVault tab.

FileVault tab

  • Its status is displayed in this window.

Should You Take Help Of FileVault?

FileVault secures your data from prying eyes. If you are using your computer to access sensitive data, or simply do not want your information falling into the wrong hands, it gives you the reassurance that you will not have anything else. Having said this, its operations are complex at times because you have to remember the password to access the hard drive.

Finally, take a look at your computer. There are some reasons why Apple changed the maintenance of FileVault off turn it on by default. The hardware encryption features are baked in the CPU, making them faster. The new Macs mostly use flash memory solid state drive (SSD) instead of spinning hard drives and that makes a big difference in performance as well. If your Mac is older and still use a hard disk, FileVault may impose a reasonable impact performance. You have to just make sure that your Mac is able to detect before turning on.

Before using FileVault

Whether FileVault is active when you first set up your Mac, you can activate at any time. There are a couple of practical warnings that you should consider.

First, it was noted that the initial encryption process and the decryption process. It is still able to use your Mac as it happens, because the Mac will create FileVault in the background, but it is a process. So Mac laptop users must be prepared to leave their machines running and plugged into an electrical outlet until the job is done.

Second be prepared to store the encryption key and make a safe note that password, because without them, your data is lost. You lost, lost forever. If you are using OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or later, you can retrieve by putting information from your iCloud account, so it is an extra layer of comfort to fall back on if needed.

Finally, it will encrypt the entire disk. It is necessary for users individually so they can unlock the drive by entering your password.


Enabling FileVault

If you are not using FileVault and now you want to use it, here are step by step instructions to activate it.

  • Click on the menu.
  • Click System Preferences.
  • Click Security and privacy.
  • Click the FileVault tab.
  • Click the lock in the lower right corner.

Lower right hand corner.

  • Enter your administrator password.
  • Click the release button.

Unlock button

  • Click the Turn On FileVault button.
  • Apple can link your account to iCloud if you want to use it to unlock the drive and reset your password. Otherwise, It generate a recovery key that you will have to stay safe if something should go wrong with your password. Choose an option and then click the Continue button.

Continue button

  • Click the Restart button to restart Mac and start encryption procedure. This process will take time, as the team has to rewrite the contents of the drive. The Mac will continue to operate as it happens.

Restart button

FileVault and the rest of your Mac

Once FileVault encrypted Mac hard drive, you will notice that every time the Mac is started you have to enter the password to continue it. If you configured your Mac to automatically log on to a specific user or administrator account, you will not do that. It requires that you enter a password to decrypt the drive.

Once you’ve entered the password, the Mac works as normal, with one important exception: the recorded primary storage system Mac (its internal SSD or hard disk) data is encrypted and decrypted on the fly. Your Mac works just like it did before when network information is copied, uploading files on the Internet, or transfer files to external devices such as USB flash drives, external hard drives or NAS devices.

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