Mac FileVault: Ultimate Security for Your Data and Privacy

Mac FileVault
Mac FileVault

Intro to Mac FileVault

Mac FileVault is a built-in disk encryption feature in macOS. It uses 128-bit AES encryption with a 256-bit key to secure the disk and all its files. To access the computer, data and files, you need to enter a password during startup.

Once you enable it, the disk encryption process takes some time to activate. However, after that, FileVault continuously encrypts all new and modified data in real time. While there is a minor impact on performance, most modern Macs with SSD volumes won’t experience any noticeable slowdown (lag). Older Mac models with slower hardware might see some performance changes due to the ongoing data encryption process. For more info, check out the Apple Support page here.

Difference between FileVault and the macOS user login password

The key distinction between the Mac FileVault password and the macOS login password is that you use the FileVault password to unlock the encrypted disk when you start up your Mac, while the macOS login password is for accessing your user account after the disk is unlocked. The two passwords can be different from each other.

How to Turn On Mac FileVault

To activate FileVault, navigate to “System Preferences” > “Security & Privacy” > “FileVault,” unlock it using your macOS login password, and click “Turn On FileVault.”

Mac System Preferences
System Preferences . Security & Privacy
Turn on FileVault

What to Do If You Forgot Your Mac FileVault Password

If you forget your FileVault password, you have two options. First, if you’ve enabled FileVault recovery with your iCloud account, you can use it to reset the FileVault password. Second, if you have your FileVault recovery key, you can use it to unlock your encrypted disk and reset the FileVault password.

Pro Tip 1

Always remember your recovery key! If you enable FileVault and then forget your login password without the ability to reset it, along with forgetting your recovery key, you won’t be able to log in and you’ll permanently lose your files.

Pro Tip 2

Once you activate FileVault and encryption starts, you cannot disable FileVault until the initial encryption finishes. The duration of encryption varies based on the amount of data on your computer, but you can still use your computer normally during this time. Once the encryption is done, you can then turn off FileVault.

How to Turn Off Mac FileVault

Turning off FileVault follows the same process as turning it on; the only difference is that you click the “Turn Off” button this time.

Conclusion to Mac FileVault

If you prioritize privacy and the security of your user data and files, or if you’re concerned about the risk of unauthorized access in case your computer is lost, you should utilize FileVault. However, it’s important to note that there could be some drawbacks, including slower performance during startup, regular usage and backups.

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