If you have been using a Mac for quite a while now, then you’ve probably encountered the term FileVault. For casual users, this is just a background application you can make do, while for hardcore users, their life and privacy highly depended on it. That being said, if you haven’t encrypted your computer’s using this in-house software, then you should start doing so now.
Long-time Mac users know how bad the first FileVault was – quite frankly, it was horrendously made and had certain functional problems. We would not blame you if you haven’t used the application yet or totally ignored it. However, it all changed with the coming of the OS X 10.7 Lion: FileVault 2 became a better and almost unrecognizable product, thanks to the slew of improvements Apple implemented.
Anyway, if you haven’t used it or are too lazy to work on the settings, then here are the reasons why you need to start encrypting your files right away:
It uses military-grade encryption
Apart from product design and intuitiveness, Apple has always put a premium on security. This is one of the reasons why viruses and malware rarely infect Apple computers and systems. If such situations arise though, they are overhyped and always take the Internet by storm.
Regardless, you could sleep well at night even if you’re Mac’s security measures have been breached. Everything byte of file from your startup disk, from videos, passwords, documents, and most importantly, your browser and search history, will be encrypted if it’s enabled. You see, FileVault 2 uses XTS-AES 128 encryption, the same type being used in secure databases.
In a nutshell, if a file is encrypted, it means that it’s protected from unwanted access. Remember, files are written in codes. If they are encrypted, the codes will be turned into jumbled pieces of text, making it unreadable to software and the human eye. People will only be able to access it if they know your password.
It protects your startup disk
FileVault 2 protects your startup disk from individuals who wish to access your files. Basically, if your Mac is powered off, it’s impossible to retrieve files from it if the person who has it does not have your password. Another nifty feature is that it allows users to use the Find My Mac feature to erase all your files if it was stolen or if it somehow landed on the wrong hands.
This feature is important for Mac users in charge of trade secrets and future business plans. This is also a must if you somehow keep personal information, like bank accounts and credit card numbers, in the Notes app.
However, there have been concerns about this feature somehow protecting criminals, but remember, only a minute percentage of Mac users are criminals and the chances of you being one of them is highly unlikely. Anyway, law enforcement is concerned mainly because they won’t be able to examine computers with FileVault 2.
How to enable FileVault 2
We can safely say that FileVault 2 protects your constitutional rights. So if you’re looking to enforce or protect it, you will need to enable the software. Here’s a rundown of how to do it:
Turning it on
It’s likely that your FileVault settings are off. In order to turn it on, here’s what you need to do:
- Proceed to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
- Click on the Security & Privacy icon in the System Preferences window.
- After that, you will find the FileVault 2 tab. Click it and you’ll be led to the settings window.
- To change the settings, click on the lock at the bottom of the window. You will then be required to enter your password.
- After which, click on the “Turn On FileVault” button.
However, you won’t be set yet: if there are two or more accounts logged on your computer, you will need to identify which account can unlock your startup disk. Simply Click Enable next to your username to let that user log in to your startup disk. After doing so, you will be required to type in the password for that account.
Overall, using FileVault 2 will definitely help secure your computer! Remember though, be sure to keep tabs on your passwords, and keep it under a lock and safe if need be!