Protect the data on your MacBook against theft and loss.

Protect the data on your MacBook against theft and loss.

I am sure you do everything to keep your precious Macbook safe, but there is always the possibility that it gets lost or stolen. If that happens, you have three problems: the loss of the device, the loss of data, and someone may access your data. If you made backups, as I suggested in a previous post, the loss of data is taken care of. In this post, I discuss how to defend yourself against the other two. First, we make sure no one but you can access your data. I assume you already have a strong password to unlock your Mac, as described in my previous post.


The best way to protect your boot drive against unwanted access is to encrypt it with FileVault. FileVault provides military-grade AES-256 full disk encryption. With FileVault enabled, your drive has a secure shell around it that can only be opened by giving the password.

If you bought your Mac with macOS 11 or later already installed, FileVault is likely already enabled.

  • Open  > System Preferences > Security and privacy
  • Select the FileVault tab If you see a Turn Off FileVault button, FileVault is already enabled. You are done.

filevault.png If FileVault is not yet enabled, you need to enable it.

  • Click on the lock icon and authenticate
  • Click on the Turn On FileVault button
  • A dialog box appears. Select Allow my iCloud account... and press continue
  • Select the Restart button to restart the mac. The encryption process begins
  • Sigh in relief; the data on your disk is save

encrypt external drives

You can also encrypt external disks. Only external disks with the APFS file system can be encrypted. Putting this filesystem on the disk will delete everything on it, so you need to start with an empty disk.

  • Connect the external disk
  • Type command space to start spotlight
  • Type disk
  • Select Disk Utility from the list
  • Select the external disk
  • Click on Erase


  • In the format box, select APFS (encrypted)


  • Add a password and repeat the password in the verify box
  • Click on Choose
  • Click erase
  • When the process is complete, click on done
  • Close disk utility You now have an encrypted disk that is unreadable without a password.

Find My Mac

Ok, you no longer need to worry about the thief accessing your data. But it would be nice to get de Mac back. That is why Apple created the Find My Mac utility. To activate the Find My Mac utility take the following steps.

  • Open  > System Preferences > Apple ID If you have not created an iCloud account yet, do so using the sign-in button.
  • Enable Find My Mac. (you may need to scroll down to find it)
  • Click on options
  • Make sure both options are On and click on done


Location services must be activated for Find My Mac to work.

  •  > System Preferences > Security & Privacy
  • Select Location Services
  • Click on the lock icon and authenticate
  • Enable Find My Mac

If you don’t see Find My, go to System Services in the list of apps, click Details, then select Find My Mac.

find2.png Allow your mac to perform network updates while sleeping.

  •  > System Preferences > Energy Saver
  • Enable wake for access