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OS X Mavericks: About FileVault disk encryption

About FileVault disk encryption

You can use FileVault to protect the files on your disk from being seen or copied. FileVault disk encryption encodes the information stored on your disk so it can’t be read unless the login password is entered.

If you store sensitive information on your Mac, you should consider using FileVault disk encryption. For example, if you carry all your company’s financial data on your portable computer, losing it could allow someone to access sensitive data that might hurt your business. If you are logged out when your Mac is lost but the data is encrypted, your information is protected.

The disk encryption in OS X uses the government-approved encryption standard, the Advanced Encryption Standard with 256-bit keys (AES-256).

To ensure security when you turn on FileVault, other security features are also turned on. or example, when you turn FileVault on, you need a password to log in when your Mac is in sleep, or after leaving the screen saver. After the initial startup, only users enabled in FileVault can log in; other users need an administrator to log in first.

Warning: Don’t forget your administrator password. If you turn on disk encryption and then forget your login password and your recovery key, you won’t be able to log in, and your files and settings are lost forever.

FileVault disk encryption cannot be used with some highly partitioned disk configurations, such as RAID disk sets.

Last Modified: May 8, 2014
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