FileVault: Worth It or Too Much Trouble?

If you’re losing sleep over the fact that your files and user data on your Mac aren’t particularly secure, perhaps it’s time to enable FileVault on your Mac.

What’s FileVault you ask? Well, FileVault is Mac’s built-in disk encryption feature, and when enabled, it password protects all your data. It’s been part of Mac OS X since shortly after the beginning. And what does it do? Without getting into too much geekspeak, it makes your data unreadable to anybody who doesn’t have the password to access it. In short, it secures your data from those who have no business sticking their noses into it.

Like any other functionality on the computer, there are a strong set of pros and cons for users to consider before enabling it. How do you enable it? And what are these pros and cons?


  • Easy to enable – doesn’t take a tech genius to set up.
  • Encrypts all your data – keeps your information private if your computer falls into the wrong hands.
  • You can store your recovery key in iCloud if you want.


  • If you lose your password, you’re hosed; even I can’t help you there!
  • Can slow things to a crawl when encrypting.
  • One thing that can make it less secure: You can store your recovery key in iCloud if you want.

So it’s six of one, half a dozen of another. It’s easy enough to do if you have the time and you’re conceited enough to think your private data is worth anything to anybody anyway, but I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes if you forget the password. Plus, I’ve seen some pretty nasty stuff happen to people who DIDN’T forget their password. Me, I’ll pass, but I have more tech common sense than most!