Enable FileVault on Mac OS X 10.8 or later

Warning: UUHSC, University of Utah and the College of Nursing take no responsibility for damages, data loss or performance issues from enabling encryption. If you choose to enable encryption yourself, back up your laptop files before proceeding. If you do not feel comfortable following these steps consider taking your laptop to a third party Tech support for help.


These instructions are intended for computers running Mac OS X 10.8 and above.

To encrypt your hard drive with FileVault, open the Security &
Privacy preference to turn on FileVault. A recovery key is generated and
displayed. You should make a copy of this and keep it in a safe place.
If you forget your computer password, the recovery key is used to unlock
your encrypted hard drive.

After turning FileVault on, you need to restart your computer to
start the whole disk encryption. You can use your computer while it is
being encrypted.

After your computer has been encrypted, log in to your computer as
usual with your computer name and password.. The whole disk encryption
is invisible and seamless while you use your computer.

Turning on FileVault

  1. Open the System Preferences.
  2. In the Personal section, click Security and Privacy.
  3. In the Security & Privacy pane, click the FileVault tab.fv_01
  4. Click the lock in the bottom-left corner of the Security & Privacy pane.
  5. Enter your administrator name and password for the computer and then click Unlock..fv_02
  6. Click Turn on FileVault.fv_03
  7. Your recovery key is displayed. You will need this to unlock your
    encrypted hard drive if you forget your computer password. Make a copy
    of the recovery key and store it in a safe place. Then, click Continue.fv_04(Important: Save your recovery key somewhere safe that is not on the computer you are encrypting. If you lose your recovery key all the data on your computer will be lost should you need to recover your computer operating system.)
  8. If you are prompted to let Apple store your recovery key, select Do not store the recovery key with Apple and then click Continue.store_key
  9. At the prompt, click Restart. After you restart your computer and log in, the encryption process will start.fv_05
  10. After your laptop restarts return to system preferences>Security and Privacy>Filevault
  11. When it finished encrypting it should look similar to this: Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 1.48.44 PM