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Why you should encrypt your Mac

I mentioned in an earlier blog post the benefits of encrypting your laptop. On Mac, Apple has built-in a tool called FileVault that allows you to encrypt all of your computer’s data.

What is full disk encryption? I like to think of “full disk encryption” is a fancy word for organized scrambling. All data on your computer is scrambled to the point where it becomes useless to anyone without your master password. When you log in as usual, your password not only grants you access to the computer, but also allows the computer to mathematically make sense of the scrambled mess.

Why should I care? Many businesses automatically encrypt every computer that can leave the company’s office. The reason for that being in the event of a lost or stolen laptop computer, any sensitive data will be protected and safe from any unauthorized individuals.

If you have a Mac, you don’t need any special software to encrypt your Mac. The best part is, it is free, doesn’t affect your productivity, and it takes less than 5 minutes to set up.

Official instructions are on apple’s website, but I am going to make my own with many images to help “visual learners” like myself:

Go to the Apple Menu (1), select “System Preferences” (2), then select “Security & Privacy” (3).

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Choose the FileVault tab (4), click on the lock icon in the corner to unlock it (5), enter your username and password (6), and finally click “Turn On FileVault” (7).

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You will be presented with an option to use your iCloud account or a Recovery Key for Unlocking the disk.

WARNING: If you chose a Recovery Key, do not forget to write it down. If you turn on FileVault and then forget your login password and cannot reset it, and you also forget your recovery key, you won’t be able to log in and your files and settings will be lost forever.

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Continue and click “Restart” to reboot your computer and start the encryption process.

When the reboot has finished and the encryption processes has started, you can continue to use your computer as you normally would. Encrypting should not affect your productivity and will keep your data safe in the event of a lost or stolen laptop.

Happy encrypting!