CLA IT

Encrypting External Storage Devices on a Mac

Encrypting External Storage Devices on a Mac

Warning:  Encrypting your external storage devices following these instructions will only allow you to read these devices on Macs.

  1. To encrypt an external storage device on a Mac computer right click on the desktop icon and choose Encrypt Device.
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  2. You will then be prompted for a password and hint. The hint is required. Keep the drive plugged in until the process is complete. There is not a progress bar. Right click on the drive an make certain the Encrypting message is not grayed out. When it is done when you right click on the drive there is an option to decrypt the drive, turning back into a non-protected drive.
  3. Plugging the device into a Mac will prompt you for the password. If you forget the password for the device all data is lost on the drive.
  4. IMPORTANT: The external device must be formatted as HFS+  If encryption fails the device is not properly formatted. Copy all files to another device and Open Disk Utility and erase the device choosing OS X Extended (Journaled) as the format type.  This device is not longer readable by Windows computers. Only other Macs can read the device. If you require the portable storage device to work on Macs and PCs then it cannot be encrypted at this time.
  5. To check the status of the external drive encryption right click on the drive. When it is actively encrypting the drive Encryption option will be greyed out.
  6. When the drive encryption is complete right clicking on the drive will show the Decrypt Name of Drive option. The encryption process will pause if the drive being encrypted is ejected or the computer goes to sleep.
Content release date: Thursday, October 22, 2015