Easily encrypt your Mac hard drive with FileVault

What is standard with the iPhone is not activated on many Macs: data encryption. Burglary statistics cry out to back up the Mac too. So that at least the data and account access do not fall into the wrong hands.

Access to mail accounts, automatic filling of passwords, maybe even account access data stored in plain text and then the completely “normal” data – the virtual content of a Mac can be a lot of nonsense.

If a Mac is stolen – be it the MacBook Air out of your pocket in the full subway or the iMac at home – you have to immediately a variety of accounts are changed. Soothing feeling when the drive is encrypted. As is well known, this is standard for iOS devices. Of course, a proper code must be set.

You also benefit from encryption if you sell the Mac: Your data cannot be restored by the next owner after the reset.

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FileVault on Mac: encryption of macOS

macOS comes with a tool that makes encryption easy for us: FileVault 2. In principle, we just have to turn it on. (As with any update or system change, of course, perform a backup with Time Machine or similar beforehand.) Since OS X Yosemite, the operating system has been asking for these security settings when the Mac was first configured. Subsequently, it works as follows:


  • Go to Mac’s System Preferences.
  • Choose safety -> FileVault.
  • Click on the lock below and enter the administrator password.
  • Click on Activate FileVault. It may be necessary to set a main password or to activate it for other user accounts.
  • In the event of a forgotten password, the connected iCloud account or a recovery key (24 characters) can be used. The latter can be saved at Apple – or on a piece of paper … Now select the desired settings.
  • When logging on to the Mac, the password for logging in must now always be entered.
  • Click Continue, then Restart.

The Mac can be used while the existing data is encrypted. The duration depends on the size of the data and the system used. A few hours can be expected – during this time the system is quite busy and therefore sluggish in other applications.


Is FileVault slowing down the Mac?

Apple uses XTS-AES 128 encryption to encrypt the Mac with FileVault 2.

For devices of recent years in combination with an SSD, speed losses should not be noticeable through FileVault at all (apart from during the setup, see above). The delay for other Macs in recent years is only slight, or at least reasonable.

Our recommendation is: Use FileVault! If the system really does not run satisfactorily, there is still a solution: FileVault in the system settings -> Security -> switch off FileVault again …

  • Don’t forget passwords!
  • Create backup!

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