Updated January 13, 2015
Protect your Mac's data in the event of theft with Apple's FileVault!
If your Mac were stolen, would you worry about the thief seeing your email, photos, financial data, and other sensitive information? OS X’s built-in FileVault encryption technology ensures that your Mac’s contents are safe from prying eyes, but if you’re hesitant to entrust your data to an algorithm before you understand how FileVault works, this book will dispel any misconceptions, answer your questions, and get you running FileVault with confidence.
Security expert Joe Kissell begins by demystifying FileVault in a quick FAQ that explains, among other things, how it is that you can work with your startup drive normally even though all the data on it is encrypted. After the FAQ, Joe provides detailed steps for activating and using FileVault on both your startup volume and external drives. He also explains how FileVault interacts with your backups and how to use Find My Mac (because, remember, the point of FileVault is to protect your data in the event of theft) once you’ve turned on FileVault.
Additional topics include making and using encrypted disk images, third-party software that can encrypt just a single file or folder, and accessing special FileVault features from the command line.
FileVault facts and features that you'll master include:
- Essential tips for protecting external drives with FileVault
- Pros and cons of encrypting the backup of a FileVault-encrypted drive
- Important steps for safeguarding encrypted drives from motivated thieves
- Whether your data is safe when your Mac is sleeping
- Whether your data is safe from other logged-in users on the same Mac
- Pros and cons of letting Apple store your recovery key
- How to avoid panicking if you forget your FileVault password
- FileVault and Disk Utility features found only on the command line
This book covers FileVault 2, which was introduced in 10.7 Lion and is far better than, and completely different from, the original version of FileVault (now called Legacy FileVault). Everything in this book works with 10.10 Yosemite and 10.9 Mavericks. A few minor things have changed over the years, but anyone with 10.7 Lion or 10.8 Mountain Lion should also find the book useful.