How To Stop Filevault Encryption?
Apple’s Mac OS X operating system has a security tool called FileVault, which encrypts all the data stored on your Mac. It is basically a disk encryption technology that provides quite good protection for your data against unauthorized access. Administrators can also choose to require a password on wakeup before letting you into the system, apart from configuring the necessary parameters during installation of Mac OS X. If by chance you forget or lose the login password and/or account password of your system, how will you decrypt or gain access to your encrypted user home folder? How do you stop Filevault encryption? Let us find out…
Features of Filevault Encryption
1. FileVault encryption is a transparent disk encryption technology that encrypts entire data on your MacOS X computer, unlike other encryption technologies where you have to explicitly define which folders and files should be encrypted. In this case, the system automatically encrypts all user home directories while installing Mac OS X for the first time or if an administrator chooses to enable it during installation. In addition, Apple also provides the option of enabling Filevault encryption for subsequent reboots during post-installation using command line parameters /System/Library/CoreServices/FilevaultMaster.app/Contents/MacOS/FilevaultMaster. When enabled, each user’s home directory gets decrypted in memory only while he is logged in and his account is active. Consequently, the encryption/decryption process has negligible effect on system performance.
2. Filevault provides two-factor authentication for accessing an encrypted volume. This means that users are required to provide not only the correct login password but also enter a separate decryption key before gaining access to their accounts and home folders contents. Thus, even if somebody were to get hold of your login password, he cannot decrypt your encrypted user folder unless he also acquires the second decryption key or ‘Filevault Password’. The most sensitive data stored on your Mac gets doubly protected with this method!
3. Apple’s latest version of Mac OS X i.eMac OS X Lion comes with an auto-unlock feature that ensures automatic decryption of user home folders while he is logged in. This means that once a user unlocks his login account, the system automatically decrypts his home folder for access, thus eliminating the need to enter a separate decryption key to gain access.
4. Filevault encryption also makes it easier to migrate your data from one Mac OS X computer to another by automatically decrypting users’ home folders during the copy process. In certain cases, it may even be necessary to encrypt your hard drive or external drives if you need them to get physically moved from one computer to another which again can be done by enabling FileVault during installation of Mac OS X.
Stop Filevault Encryption
If you want to stop Filevault encryption, follow these steps:
1. Restart your computer and hold down the Command (Apple) + R keys simultaneously. You will be required to enter an administrator password to access the recovery mode.
2. The screen will display a ‘Utilities’ menu with several options listed at the bottom, including one called ‘Terminal’. Click it and wait for the Terminal window to open up on top of the Utility window. It may take a few seconds depending upon your system performance.
3. In the Terminal window, type in “csrutil disable” without quotes and hit return/enter based on your keyboard layout.
4. This should disable the Filevault encryption and now you can restart your machine as usual. It is, however, recommended that you re-enable Filevault once you finish using those files or folders that were encrypted by it earlier. If you fail to do so, you won’t be able to access those files until they are decrypted!
5. To enable Filevault again, type in “csrutil enable” without quotes and hit return/enter based on your keyboard layout.
6. Restart your machine and FileVault will automatically start encrypting data stored on your Mac hard drive…welcome back to virtual security!
Note: You can also similar command line parameter /System/Library/CoreServices/FilevaultMaster.app/Contents/MacOS/FilevaultMaster to the above procedure if you want to access FileVault via command line interface, but it will require a bootable disc or USB external drive with Mac OS X installed. Note that while booting from another internal hard disk or partition on your current system won’t work since all are encrypted, you can use an external second hard disk formatted with HFS+ file system which should function just fine for this purpose!
Filevault is an effective solution for protecting your data stored on Mac OS X computers. It’s highly recommended that you enable the Filevault Encryption process whenever you buy a new Mac, or at least ensure to encrypt your external backups prior to giving away or disposing of your old computer! If you choose not to create an encrypted backup of your existing data (which contains all important user files/folders including email accounts, browser bookmarks, etc.), then it might be wise to save any necessary files offsite via secure cloud storage solutions like DropBox before disposing of the system otherwise they will remain forever unrecoverable if anything ever happens to your working Mac.
Filevault will only protect users against unauthorized access by third parties or snoopers who gain physical access to their devices, but not against legal authorities who can demand for decryption keys from Apple Inc.
Following the above procedure you can easily disable the Filevault Encryption on Mac.