Enhanced macOS Data Security: Enabling FileVault 2 Step-by-Step Guide

This comprehensive guide is specifically tailored for securing your personal home PC or Mac. It's essential to note that Seattle University's managed devices come equipped with state-of-the-art security measures pre-configured, ensuring an elevated level of protection by default.

FileVault 2 is a built-in disk encryption feature available on macOS, designed to secure the data on your Mac's startup disk. When enabled, it encrypts the entire disk, including the operating system and user data, protecting your information from unauthorized access. To enable FileVault 2 on your Mac, follow these steps:

Note: Before proceeding, make sure you have a backup of your important data. Enabling FileVault 2 without a backup can lead to data loss if something goes wrong during the encryption process.

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen.

  2. Select "System Preferences" from the drop-down menu.

  3. In the System Preferences window, click on "Security & Privacy."

  4. Go to the "FileVault" tab at the top of the Security & Privacy window.

  5. Click on the lock icon in the bottom-left corner of the window to make changes. You'll need to enter your administrator password.

  6. Once the lock is open, click on the "Turn On FileVault" button.

  7. You will be presented with two options to unlock your disk. Choose one of the following:

    a. Use your iCloud account: If you have an iCloud account set up on your Mac, you can use your iCloud password to unlock the disk. This is a convenient option, especially if you forget your login password. Make sure your Mac is connected to the internet during the encryption process.

    b. Use a recovery key: If you prefer not to use your iCloud account, you can create a recovery key. This key is a long alphanumeric code that you should keep in a safe place or store with Apple. It will be used to unlock your disk if you forget your login password.

  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to proceed with the encryption process.

  9. Depending on the size of your disk and the amount of data, the encryption process may take some time. Your Mac will be usable during this process, but the performance may be slightly affected.

  10. Once the encryption process is complete, restart your Mac to ensure FileVault 2 is fully enabled.

That's it! Your Mac's startup disk is now encrypted with FileVault 2. Every time you start or restart your Mac, you'll need to enter your login password or use your recovery key (if you chose that option) to unlock the disk and access your data. This adds an extra layer of security to your Mac, protecting your information even if your Mac falls into the wrong hands.