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Queen's University

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.)

  2. On the System Preferences screen, click on Security & Privacy.

  3. On the Security & Privacy screen, click the padlock to unlock FileVault. Enter your Mac password, and click Unlock.


  4. On the Security & Privacy screen, click Turn On FileVault.

  5. Select which User Accounts will 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.
  6. Your Recovery Key will be displayed (write this down and keep it safe), click Continue.

  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.

  8. Restart the computer when prompted by clicking Restart.

  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:

Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6 613.533.2000