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What is the FileVault feature on my Mac? Should I use it?



Apple has always taken privacy and security seriously – and back in MacOS 10.3, Apple created a unique encryption system designed to protect the data on your hard drive. In MacOS X Lion (10.7), Apple upgraded its encryption system to FileVault 2, adding even more security features to protect your data. Continue reading to learn more.

What is FileVault?

FileVault is an extra layer of protection, called encryption, for your data. It uses a 256-bit key to encrypt the data. In layman mode, FileVault uses a key that is impossible to duplicate.

  • When you first turn on FileVault, it will take some time to encrypt the drive and make it ready for normal use.
  • If you ever decide to reverse encryption, keep in mind that it will take a long time to return to normal use.
  • You can also select which users can unlock the disk when FileVault is configured.
  • All the work happens in the background, and there is no extra step to take when set up.

After FileVault is turned on, you may experience a slight performance difference because drive encryption works as it reads and writes data on the drive.

Any Mac that uses an SSD will probably not see any difference in performance, but any computer using a hard drive with spinning style may see a slight difference, especially if it is an older model Mac.

Should I use FileVault? [1
9659003] If you work in an industry that possesses or uses sensitive client data and information that needs to be highly protected, I recommend using FileVault.

The same is true if you have a lot of personal information on your computer that you are worried that people can access (especially if it is a laptop).

But if you only have a laptop for basic web surfing or Netflix watching, etc. and don't have any personal information about it, you may not need to use FileVault. To turn on FileVault:

  1. Click on  in the menu bar.
  2. Then click on System Preferences .
  3. Click Security and Privacy .
  4. Click ] FileVault.
  5. Press the padlock button to enter your password, then click Turn on.

Remember that it will take some time to encrypt your hard drive completely and it will also require a restart when it is finished.


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