Easy methods to encrypt your Mac backups

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How do you be sure that the backups you are taking are as safe as your Mac itself? By encrypting the drives!

Encrypting backups is a controversial topic. For some folks, it is the one method to verify their information is safe and nobody else can get to it. For others, it defeats the very objective of backup, permitting any error or defect to render the info unrecoverable.

If saving your images is extra necessary to you then securing your monetary information, skip encryption. When you have extra invaluable info in your desk than in your backups, skip encryption. If you happen to fear that another person will get entry to your backups and your information then, by all means, encrypt away. This is how.

Read more: Fail safe vs. fail secure: Backing up in the age of encryption

Easy methods to encrypt a Time Machine backup

Time Machine is Apple’s built-in set-it-and-mostly-forget-it backup system for the Mac. Flip it on and it will make a backup of your Mac after which hold it incrementally updated over the hours, days, and weeks that comply with. Whereas it is not encrypted by default, you possibly can allow encryption whenever you set it up.

If you happen to’re attaching a brand new drive, Time Machine would possibly detect it and ask to make use of it. In that case:

  1. Verify the Encrypt backups field on the backside left.
  2. Click on on Use as Backup Disk.

If it is not detected otherwise you need to use an already linked drive:

  1. Click on on the  (Apple) icon within the Menu bar.
  2. Click on on System Preferences.
  3. Click on on Time Machine close to the underside.
  4. Click on on Choose Disk….
  5. Click on on the Disk you need to use to your backup.
  6. Verify the Backup Mechanically field so you do not have to recollect to do it manually.
  7. Verify the Encrypt backups field on the backside left.
  8. Enter a password to encrypt the disk.

When you have an current, non-encrypted Time Machine backup on the identical quantity, you will should take away the disk first after which re-add it as an encrypted quantity.

Ensure you copy off any outdated recordsdata or variations of recordsdata you would possibly want earlier than hand, although, since you’ll lose it when the drive is reset for encryption.

(You may get a brand new drive however that would go away your outdated drive unencrypted and weak.)

Easy methods to encrypt a clone backup

If you happen to’re utilizing a clone backup like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy as a substitute of or along with Time Machine, you possibly can encrypt the drive you are cloning to. It is a two-step course of to arrange however, as soon as you’ve got gotten it up and operating, it is simply as straightforward to keep up as another cloning system.

  1. Boot out of your cloned backup drive.
  2. Re-install macOS Sierra (or no matter model you are presently utilizing) to create a restoration quantity on that drive.
  3. Activate FileVault in System Preferences.

Until you’ve a restoration quantity, you will not be capable to boot reliably from the clone or activate FileVault. As soon as that is carried out, you possibly can boot again to your main drive as soon as FileVault will get began; you do not have to attend for it. And as soon as the clone backup is encrypted, you’ll resume your common, iterative backup course of.

Easy methods to regionally encrypt on-line backups

On-line backup companies like Backblaze and Carbonite are a unique beast: You are not backing as much as a drive below your bodily management, the place you possibly can encrypt it your self earlier than transferring any information. You are backing as much as another person’s servers within the cloud, sometimes utilizing the encryption constructed into their consumer apps.

Some on-line backup companies do allow you to set your personal encryption password, although, as a method of including further privateness and safety. Although it carries the identical restoration value as native encryption.


You will have the choice with Backblaze so as to add an extra layer of privateness through a user-selected passphrase. This passphrase shall be used to encrypt your personal key. This passphrase is your accountability to recollect and safeguard. That is necessary: if you happen to overlook or lose this passphrase there isn’t a method that anybody, together with Backblaze, can decrypt, and thus restore, your information. If you select so as to add your personal passphrase there isn’t a “forgot passphrase” mechanism as Backblaze doesn’t know your passphrase.


Carbonite offers you the choice to handle your personal encryption key whenever you set up this system onto your laptop. If you happen to select to handle your personal encryption key your self, you can be unable to make use of Carbonite’s Anytime Wherever Entry to retrieve your recordsdata from any Web-enabled laptop or use the Fast Restoration service. At the moment, solely PC (Home windows) computer systems are allowed to handle their very own encryption key.

If you happen to use a unique on-line backup service examine with them about encryption passwords or encryption keys and it is best to discover the choices you want.

Do you even encrypt?

If you happen to encrypt your backups let me know your technique — what merchandise do you utilize and the way do you’ve your system arrange?

Up to date February 2019: Up to date details about Carbonite.



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