Does FileVault Slow Down Mac?

Jack Paul
Apple Certified Macintosh Technician at - TechNab

After completing my graduation as a computer science engineer, I have also started my professional career in this sector. I have always loved to discover...Read more

The term FileVault is nothing new for Mac users, but FileVault is a built-in feature in the macOS for those who don’t know. The primary function of this is to encrypt and protect the data on your hard disk. But, many Mac users often suffer from confusion regarding does FileVault slows down Mac?

If you use the cloud frequently or use encryption software frequently, FileVault is useful for safeguarding your files. However, if you’re not cautious, it might cause your Mac to slow down.

If FileVault is activated, you may be certain that no one can see your personal data without your consent. So, if you are a new Mac user and want to know everything about FileVault, our guide will get you covered.

What Is FileVault, And How Does It Work?

FileVault is a macOS feature that encrypts the startup drive completely. It encrypts all of the data on your Mac. Your data on your drive will be left unencrypted if you don’t have it, which means anyone with entry to the disk can access them. It works as a software based encryption system

Because FileVault employs software-based encryption rather than hardware-based encryption, even though software-based encryption is not as secure as a hardware-based one, it still works as a great alternative. The most prevalent type of encryption is software-based encryption, which is simpler since it does not need any extra hardware.

What Is FileVault And How Does It Work

All of us often set a password on our devices, but passwords don’t ensure the files are encrypted, and hackers are adept at stealing password-protected information. This is where FileVault comes in handy since it encrypts the data so that no one can access it even if they know your password.

Does FileVault Slow Down Mac?

FileVault slightly slows Mac. It might not be a good idea to enable it in some instances. To begin with, it takes up a lot of room. It will reduce the amount of free space on your PC. Data encryption takes up space.

Does FileVault Slow Down Mac

If your hard drive is full, the encryption procedure will have to cover a lot more terrain, which will slow down your machine. The sort of storage disk you have has a big impact on performance. Macs typically employ three types of storage, which we’ll go over in detail below.

NVMe

NVMe drives are the latest type of hard drives that new Macs uses, and it is much faster than SSD and HDD.

Encryption is significantly quicker with an NVMe SSD. As a result, even if the disk is already rather full, current Mac users seldom experience any performance concerns when they enable FileVault. Hence, it will not be a problem if you are using any of the latest models of Mac.

SSD

FileVault was improved, and the newest version took use of speedier storage devices when Apple moved Macs to SSDs. As a consequence, the procedure became quicker, and many users said that they couldn’t tell the difference between when FileVault was turned on and when it wasn’t

You might not notice any troubles if you’re utilizing an SSD. The procedure may be slow at first, and you may notice lag on your Mac, but the speed will naturally improve as time passes.

HDD

If your Mac has an HDD, it’s undoubtedly outdated and sluggish, regardless of whether you utilize FileVault. FileVault may be sluggish even on a recent Mac when encrypting an HDD. And this won’t be restricted to the first encryption; it may run slowly throughout the duration of the encryption.

T2 Security Chip

By standard, the T2 chip encrypts the whole storage disk. When you enable FileVault, you’re just putting another layer of security into your security system. You’re only altering the procedure for gaining access to the information. There is no effect in speed if you enable FileVault because it is not constantly protecting anything with these PCs.

To find whether your Mac has a T2 chip or not, you will need to follow these steps.

Apple Logo > About this Mac > System Report.

T2 chip

You will find the chip under the controller section in the system report.

Related ReadingWhy Is My Flash Drive So Slow on Mac?

Impact Of FileVault On Mac Performance

FileVault has little to no influence on speed on a contemporary Mac. Newer technology is faster at handling encryption than previous systems, and Macs now encode by the standard. FileVault can eat up more resources on older Macs to the point that overall performance suffers.

The programs Disk Utility and Disk First Aid are used to manage the hard disk. You may use both of these programs to repair or recover your hard disk. They both serve the same purpose. Unfortunately, the encryption procedure slows down your machine’s startup and shutdown times.

If you have FileVault turned on and have used your Mac for a long time, it may cause your Mac to run slower than usual. It may also reduce the responsiveness of your Mac.

Down below, we will look into a few of the pros and cons of FileVault

Pros

  • Securely encrypts and protects all your data
  • It doesn’t require any additional hardware for encryption
  • Even if your Mac is stolen and unlocked with a password, your data stays protected.
  • Similar security compared to hardware-based encryption.

Cons

  • It takes a long time to encrypt data
  • Can make your system slower
  • If you lose the recovery key, recovering your data is nearly impossible.

How Long Does It Take To Enable/Disable FileVault?

Enabling and disabling FileVault can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 5-6 hours or more. It all depends on your version, model of your Mac and the configuration it comes with.

If you want to know how long it takes to enable and disable Firevault, it is important to run tests on different models of Mac to analyze the whole starting time clearly. So, the chart below shows enabling and disabling time on the most popular models of Mac.

Our tests show that it takes nearly the same amount of time to turn off FileVault as it does to set it on.

How Long Does It Take To Enable Disable FileVault

The procedure is immediate on MacBooks with the T2 security chip. If the drive is virtually empty, it takes less than 10 minutes to activate on earlier MacBooks. If FileVault is activated afterward, the time it takes to secure the disk varies depending on its size, ranging from anywhere between 15 minutes to more than 7 hours.

Another noteworthy finding is the encryption time difference between MBA with Yosemite and MBA with Mojave. Because MBP is meant to be quicker, MBA is significantly faster. In Mojave, however, the encryption time increases dramatically, approximately three times.

You would normally expect enabling and disabling MBP 15 inches to be faster than any other model since it is one of the fastest Mac on the market. But, to our surprise, the speed was nearly the same as that of the Mac Mini.

The latest Mac OS is Big Sur, and when you upgrade the operating system, anything over High Sierra. The disk format automatically upgrades to APFS. The main problem with APFS is that it takes much more time to encrypt or decrypt than older disk formats. You will understand this more by seeing the chart below.

How Long Does It Take To Enable Disable FileVaults

How To Turn On FileVault On Mac

Now, if you wish to turn on FileVault on Mac, you will need to follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Finding the FileVault

From the System Preferences menu, choose Security & Privacy. Click the Turn On FileVault button after selecting the FileVault tab.

Finding the FileVault

Step 2: Setting Username and Password

On the left bottom area of the screen, select the padlock symbol. You will be asked to enter your name and password in a separate window.

Setting Username and Password

Step 3: Recovery Key

You’ll be prompted to produce a recovery key as well. A recovery key is really important as it can be used to access the encrypted data when you forget about your password; without this, you can’t access data.

Recovery key

Step 4: Restarting the system

Click the Restart button once you’ve established a password and recovery key. Your computer will reboot, and encryption of your hard disk will commence. This procedure might take many hours.

Restarting the system

Step 5: Final Check

If the encryption is successful, you will have a lock icon right at the top left corner of your screen.

How To Turn Off FileVault On Mac

If you want, you can also disable FileVault on Mac. Follow these steps to turn off FileVault safely.

Step 1: Searching FileVault

Choose System Preferences from the menu at the top by tapping the Apple symbol. A drop-down menu will appear; select Security & Privacy from there. The FileVault tab will appear right away in the Security & Privacy box. Select it by clicking on it.

Searching File vault

Step 2: Turning Off

Turn off FileVault by clicking the Turn Off FileVault button. You’ll be required to enter your password as well as your recovery key. This will disable the FileVault and decrypt your hard drive.

Turning Off

Key Takeaways

  • FileVault can slow down Mac, especially older versions
  • The performance of FileVault is highly dependent on the type of hard disk the Mac comes with.
  • FileVault uses software-based encryption but provides the nearly same performance as hardware-based encryption.
  • You should always safely keep your recovery key, or else it will be impossible to access FileVault.

Conclusion

When we are talking about enabling or disabling FileVault, you will need to consider many things, like does FileVault slow down Mac or does it has a negative impact on the performance of your Mac OS.

Today our guide discussed everything you need to know regarding FileVault, and now it depends on you whether you need this or not. If you ask us, FileVault is important to protect your data.

Jack PaulApple Certified Macintosh Technician at - TechNab

After completing my graduation as a computer science engineer, I have also started my professional career in this sector. I have always loved to discover new branches of technology, research them, and understand their science from my childhood till now. In this Place, you’ll find information on computerized devices software and hardware-related tips, tricks, tutorials, problems, solutions in the field of the IT sector ...

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