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Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Mac OS X Encryption with FileVault 2

The following instructions will walk you through how to encrypt your Mac computer's hard drive using FileVault 2 (included in current Mac OS X.)

Note: Your system must meet the minimum system requirements.


  1. Launch System Preferences.
    • Click the Apple logo at the top-left of the screen,
    • then choose System Preferences.

    screenshot illustrating above step

  2. The System Preferences screen will open
    • select  Security & Privacy.

    screenshot illustrating above step

  3. The Security & Privacy screen will open
    • In the bottom left corner click the padlock to unlock FileVault.
    • A popup will open indicating that the System Preferences is trying to unlock the Security & Privacy preferences.
    • Enter your Mac password, and click the  Unlock button.

    screenshot illustrating above step

  4. You will now be able to edit the Security & Privacy screen,
    • Select the FileVault tab (if it is not already selected)
    • click the Turn On FileVault... button.

    screenshot illustrating above step

  5. Select which User Accounts you want...
    • to have access to the encrypted files (a password is required for each account),
    • click Continue.
    • Note:  All files will be encrypted.  In this step you are identifying which user accounts will be able to unlock the encrypted drive.  If there is more than one account, your will need to enter the password for each account.

    screenshot illustrating above step

  6. Your Recovery Key will be displayed
    • write this down and keep it safe,
    • click Continue.

    screenshot illustrating above step

  7. Alternatively: You can store your Recovery Key with Apple on their servers in the cloud (Apple ID required).
    • Choose an option and
    • click Continue.

    screenshot illustrating above step

  8. Restart the computer when prompted
    • by clicking Restart.

    screenshot illustrating above step

  9. After the reboot, the computer will start to encrypt the hard drive.
    • This will take 1-2 hours. You may use the computer but will find it slower than normal until the encrypting completes.

Congratulations, you have encrypted your Mac's hard drive!

OS X - About FileVault 2: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4790