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FileVault is the native data encryption tool for OS X Mavericks (10.9) and later. FileVault uses a whole disk encryption schema similar to BitLocker (the native Windows encryption client). It is the recommended solution for enabling encryption on a Mac computer.

Before enabling FileVault
  • PGP and Mac OS X users: IS&T recommends that users who handle sensitive data on Macs and use PGP for encryption switch to FileVault, the native encryption system on Macs. To make the switch from PGP to FileVault, first uninstall PGP.
  • Make sure your user account password is strong (tips on strong passwords). With FileVault, your user account password unlocks the encrypted disk.
  • Backup your data before you encrypt your computer with BitLocker, using a backup tool such as CrashPlan.
  • Recommended for machines not in Casper: Save your recovery password using LastPass.

How to Enable

Once you are ready to activate FileVault, follow these instructions in The Knowledge Base:

Managed machines

Stand alone machines

How to Use

See Also

The following Knowledge Base and Apple articles provide additional guidance for FileVault use and support:


IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

February 03, 2016

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