How to Encrypt Time Machine Backup on Mac with 3 Methods

Do you want to learn how to encrypt time machine backup on Mac with 3 methods? Discover the most effective methods for securing your data and boosting privacy!

Table of Contents

Encrypting your Time Machine backup on Mac provides additional security for your valuable data. This protects your files against illegal access while maintaining your privacy and confidentiality. It is a simple but critical step in safeguarding your digital data against potential attackers.

This detailed guide will explain how to encrypt Time Machine Backup on Mac via FileVault. Even if your backup slips into the wrong hands, the data is inaccessible without the encryption key.

How to Encrypt Time Machine Backup on Mac with FileVault

FileVault is macOS's built-in encryption tool, protecting your data from being decrypted or having unauthorized access. The tool uses an AES-XTS data encryption algorithm to protect internal and external storage devices. Let's explore the complete process for securing your Time Machine Backups with FileVault full-volume encryption. 

Step 1. Access System Settings on your Mac, head to "Privacy and Security," and finally the "FileVault" settings. 

Step 2. Once in the FileVault settings, press the "Turn On" button. 

Step 3. On the dialog box that appears, select the option "Create a recovery key and do not use my iCloud account," and press "Continue." 

create filevault recovery key

🖊️Note: People who prefer to use iCloud to unlock their Mac's disk can select the "Allow my iCloud account to unlock my disk" option. However, this option is comparatively less secure because the data will be vulnerable if the account gets compromised. 

Step 4. The following dialog box displays the recovery keys you will need to unlock your disk drive if the hard disk is removed from the machine and needs to recover data or the user passwords don't work. 

filevault recovery keys

Step 5. FileVault will start encrypting the entire volume. It may take some time, depending on the size of your volumes and the information stored on your Mac. 

filevault encryption in process

Encrypt Time Machine Backup on a New Backup Drive

Want to protect your crucial files in backup? Encrypting Time Machine Backup is the only solution! By following these steps, you can ensure that your data remains protected against unauthorized access.

Step 1. Go to "System Settings" from the Apple menu, then to "General," and finally, tap the "Time Machine" settings. 

Step 2. Select the disk you just encrypted using FileVault by pressing the "Add Backup Disk" button to add a Time Machine Backup destination. 

add backup disk

Step 3. From the dialog box list, choose the drive you want Time Machine to use for backups and press "Set Up Disk."

set up disk

Step 4. Enable the "Encrypt Backup" toggle and enter a strong password and hint. Enable "Disk Usage Limit" to save space for another purpose.

encrypt backup settings

Step 5. When you're ready, press "Done," and the Mac will begin automatically encrypting your Time Machine Backup. 

time machine backup in progress

If you find this information helpful, please share it with others on social media to assist them in overcoming this common challenge.


Use Terminal to Encrypt Time Machine Backup on Mac

If you're into hands-on methods, we'll demonstrate using Terminal on Mac to encrypt Time Machine Backup. These steps give you more control over encryption, securing your backup data effectively.

Step 1. Open Terminal from the Utilities folder in Applications.

Step 2. Type diskutil apfs list and press Return to view APFS volume and container details. Remember the volume ID.

volume and container details

Step 3. Encrypt the volume by typing diskutil apfs encryptVolume /dev/apfs_volume_id and pressing Return. Follow the prompts to enter and confirm the encryption password.

Step 4. Enter diskutil apfs list and press Return to check the encryption progress.

Recover Data from Time Machine Backup on Mac with Software

Have you lost data during or before the encryption process? Worry no more! EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is here to help rescue your valuable data from Time Machine backups. This software is reliable for recovering lost data from Time Machine backups, whether you're dealing with decryption issues or accidental deletions. It recovers data from failed drives, unintentional formatting, system crashes, or virus attacks.

  • With an advanced scanning algorithm, regaining data from Time Machine backups on your Mac has become simpler with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.
  • Moreover, It ensures that your valuable documents, photos, and videos are not lost forever. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the ideal solution for recovering lost data on Mac, regardless of the underlying cause.

Step 1. Search for lost files

Select the disk location to search for lost files (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or an external hard drive) where you lost data and files. Click the "Search for lost files" button.

Note: Before data recovery, you'd better click "Disk Backup" from the left sidebar to create a backup of your HDD/SSD to avoid further data loss. After backing up, the software can recover data from your disk backup, and you can use the HDD or SSD again.

Recover Data Step1

Step 2. Go through the scanning results

This software will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display pictures, documents, audio, videos, and emails on the left pane.

Recover Data Step2

Step 3. Select the file(s) and recover

Click the data to preview, and click the "Recover" button to have them back.

Recover Data Step3

Why Need to Encrypt Time Machine Backup on Mac

Encrypting Time Machine backups on a Mac is important to keep your private stuff safe from strangers. Moving from regular backups to encrypted ones is smart for many reasons. Here's why you need to encrypt Time Machine backup on Mac:

  • When you password-protect the hard drive Mac, it keeps your private stuff private by making it unreadable without the right decryption key.
  • It helps fulfill legal obligations regarding data protection, ensure compliance with privacy laws, and reduce the risk of penalties.
  • Encrypting and protecting a storage device provides confidence and peace of mind, securing important data from breaches or loss.
  • It stops unauthorized access to sensitive data, enhancing overall security and reducing the risk of breaches.


In conclusion, safeguarding your Time Machine backups on Mac is critical for protecting your important information. Exploring these three ways gives you useful insights on improving your data security. Examine and update your encryption methods regularly to avoid risks and protect your information from unauthorized access. With these easy approaches, you can reliably safeguard your data and keep control of your digital assets on macOS.

Encrypt Time Machine Backup FAQs

Now, let's have a look at some common queries that users have regarding encrypting time machine backup:

1. Should I encrypt my Mac Time Machine backup?

Data backup and its recoverability must always be secure. Encrypting your Mac Time Machine backup adds more security to your sensitive data.

2. How do I encrypt a backup on my Mac?

You can encrypt a backup on your Mac using three methods:

  • Enabling FileVault
  • Using a new backup drive with encryption support
  • Utilizing Terminal commands for advanced encryption options

3. Is it possible to encrypt backups?

Indeed, you can encrypt backups on your Mac to safeguard your data from unauthorized access.

4. Is it better to encrypt backups?

Encrypting backups is generally considered better as it enhances privacy and protects your data from potential breaches.

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Updated by Jaden

Jaden is one of the editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on topics concerning PCs and Mac data recovery. Jaden is committed to enhancing professional IT knowledge and writing abilities. She is always keen on new and intelligent products.

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