Fix your Mac stuck on encrypting with FileVault

SecurityIconXApple’s FileVault disk encryption option in OS X is a security feature that is highly recommended, especially for portable systems that can be easily stolen. The feature is easy to set up in the Security system preferences, after which the system should take up to a few hours to encrypt the drive, depending on the size and type of drive being used. This should be relatively straightforward; however, in some cases the encryption may get stuck and show a progress bar that will not advance, even after days of waiting.

Generally if FileVault takes a few hours longer than expected to encrypt a drive, then it is recommended to simply wait it out, and be sure your Mac is connected to a reliable power source. However, even when connected and seemingly working properly, FileVault may be stalled.

This problem likely is happening because of errors in your hard drive’s partitioning and formatting, so to fix this problem, you will need to use Disk Utility in Recovery Mode:

  1. Reboot your Mac and hold Command-R at the startup sound to get to Recovery Mode.
  2. Open Disk Utility in the OS X Tools panel.
  3. Select your boot drive in the sidebar.
  4. Click the Unlock button, and then supply your FileVault password to unlock the drive.
  5. Hold the Command key and click the unlocked volume and the drive device in the sidebar to select them both.
  6. Go to the First Aid tab and click the “Repair Disk” button.

After doing this, you might as well run a permissions repair routine by selecting your boot volume and clicking the Repair Disk Permissions button. Then reboot your Mac, and log in as you normally would, and then check the progress of FileVault’s encryption. In most cases, the stall should pick up immediately and be done within a few minutes.

63 thoughts on “Fix your Mac stuck on encrypting with FileVault

  1. Doug

    Tried the fix for file vault stuck on encrypting just as the site suggested. Unfortunately it did not work for me. Any other suggestions?

  2. Bluecapitalist

    This didnt work. My mac is still stuck in “encryption paused” mode. I’ve done it twice & nothing changed.

  3. Warren

    Same here. Thanks for the advice but unfortunately it did not work for me also.

    Very frustrating. Literally just received the laptop this afternoon.

  4. Marisa Lahm

    I have not tried this fix but–based on the above responses–it will not work. I contacted Apple regarding this problem today and it has been sent up to their engineering team. I feel that the best advice for anybody having this issue would be to wait for Apple to fix it. If a senior apple care worker could not fix it for me after an hour, clearly this bug is very serious and will require professional help. Be patient. Update the OS whenever an update is available. Otherwise, a full reset will be necessary, and this, to me, seems like more work when you might as well just wait for a fix.

    1. joe b.

      Update will not help, since it won’t let you update as long as file vault is running – i tried it

  5. Elizabeth w

    Same thing for me, received new MacPro 15″ Christmas Eve and during setup, the FileVault program froze and has been paused for three days. I’m not good at this stuff so I’m stuck with a paused application having no idea what that will do to my new laptop

        1. Hugh

          Hi Elizabeth – Luckily for me I was closer so went back. They couldn’t do anything else so they just reset and reloaded the machine. That didn’t really matter as I hadn’t put anything on it by then. You will need them to do it I think as they need to reload the software. Only takes half an hour. Cheers, Hugh

    1. Bluecapitalist

      Yes, I bought myself a new MacBook pro 15 inch & this happened during set up. I was frustrated. I tried the trick mentioned above & it changed nothing. I had to ‘force quit’ system preferences because it wouldn’t close due to the encriptiin snag. This has been a couple of weeks ago. It hasn’t effected the performance of the computer so I’m just leaving it be. I hope apple will fix this but I’ve nitice many “chinks in their armor” of “it just works” over the last few years. Also, the remote app won’t recognize my Apple TV anymore (I just got an iPhone 6 plus that replaced a 5). It worked fine with the five but now it doesn’t (just work).

      1. Elizabeth w

        Hi, I hear you and I’m glad you said that it hadn’t affected your computer by letting it be so that’s exactly what I’m going to do and wait for Apple to send a fix. I just don’t have the patience anymore to talk to Tech Support and I’m disappointed that the QC is deteriorating.

  6. Marisa

    Bad news for everybody with this problem: the only way to fix this issue at the moment is to do a clean wipe and reinstall of the computer (this is what I found from working with the apple care geniuses). Here’s what you do:

    1.) restart your mac holding down “command” and “r”
    2.) after selecting “english” as your language, go to the bar at the top of your screen and open up terminal
    3.) type “diskutil cs list” and then hit enter
    4.) copy the … … group number (I cant remember the exact name, but it should be the first of the sets of letters and numbers listed)
    5.) type “diskutil cs delete…” and then paste the number you copied and hit enter
    6.) Exit the terminal and go to disk utility
    7.) Your macintosh hd start up should be “untitled”. To fix this, click the one above it and go to the “partition” tab
    8.) In the partition tab, change the default to “1 partition” and retitled it “Macintosh HD” and then hit “apply”
    9.) Once you’ve done this, exit disk utility and select “reinstall OS X”

    This should allow you to do a clean wipe of your computer and reinstall Yosemite 10.10. This time, DO NOT enable FileVault. DO NOT!

    P.S.-I wrote these directions by memory. If you want a perfect description, just call the apple store and speak with an apple care genius. They’re very nice and very helpful. 🙂

    1. Jason

      Is there any downside to leaving it as is? I’ve been using my computer for a few weeks now with no issues and do not want to go through this trouble or wipe my computer clean now that it’s set up.

      1. cyberMac

        I follow your question, I have the same issue. If it is fine, I would leave my Mac like that and just wait until the next update from Apple if not I would go for a reinstallation of the Mac… very hard to get information about it.

    2. Natalie R.

      This post worked for me!! 🙂 Thank you so much! I’m on El Capitan and the instructions still worked perfectly.

      Thanks again!

  7. Neddy

    The steps worked for me 🙂

    The one thing I might note, I repaired the Logical Volume and the Partition (Both the first disk listed in disk utility and the one indented below it). First I repaired only the partition and that did not work.

    Might help someone…

  8. Vijay

    above solution worked like a charm for me, please follow all the steps carefully and it works (New Macbook pro 13.3″)

  9. James

    This fix did work for me – so thanks.

    Gotta say, FileVault must be some of the most useless software on the market. The number of issues you see encountered by people with new out of the box macs like myself is staggering – Apple have really dropped the ball with this part of their otherwise very user-friendly systems.

  10. Geja (from the Netherlands)

    It worked. I follow the steps and then the Filefault continued to optimize and after a few minutes it was ready! Thank you very much!

  11. Mutlu

    I selected to use my iCloud password with the FileVault, got into the recovery mode, tried to unlock the drive with my iCloud password but it didn’t accept it….

    1. Robbie

      This is my issue…Apple ID won’t work…was advised to find a Mac programmer not a tech to get past the firewall!! That was from an apple CS…
      I’m new to Macs & received my MBP 13″ Christmas Day…only got 1 month out of it & I’ve spent the next 8-9weeks trialling every possible password I would use!! So frustrating! I explained to Apple Support I did NOT turn my key chain or firevault on or choose to encrypt it but this is what has happened & after weeks of various techs & supports trying to help I’m still trying to log in!!

      Regretting my Mac purchase!

      1. Selma

        Robbie, this is exactly what I am dealing with now, a year later. Did you manage to save your files? Apple support people can’t help and I have no way of telling if it’s lack of expertise at the Genius Bar or if it really is hopeless. Please let me know what happened in your case. Grateful!

  12. Anton

    Tried the fix recommended above. It didn’t work. Fortunately the problem was with a new Mac so got Apple to talk me through it. This is what they recommended – and it worked! [Macbook Pro. OS 10.10.2]

    1. Restart in recovery mode [command R]
    2. Go to Terminal using drop down window
    3. Type [in Terminal]: diskutil cs list
    4. Copy the group number 1st long number
    5. Type diskutil cs delete [long number as above]
    6. Exit Terminal
    7. Reinstall OS X

    Note: After stage 3 check how many groups were found. If one group then do as above. If two groups are found then you probably need to do the above twice.

    Warning: This will delete all your files so make sure you are 100% backed up before doing this.

    1. Alaa

      I did what u said exactly and it removed is completely and even recovery, I had to recover Mac throught internet.

  13. john

    Same issue I have Encryption is paused and will not resume. I forced quit the FileVault and updated iOS then restarted. Clicked around and plug/unplug power AC and got RAINBOW VOLLEYBALL to spin again. Now I’ll wait to see if it finishes tomorrow, in 12 hours.

    God why is this not fixed it’s 2015 for God’s sakes. Where’s the QA at Apple?

    1. jy

      Waited whole night, still rotating rainbow volleball.

      Deleted and Reinstalled OSX clean.

      Works for now…

  14. Cor

    I experienced this same issue with a brand new out of the box MB Pro 15″. None of the above “soft” solutions worked, including unlocking and repairing the drive within recovery mode. I ended up completely wiping the drive and reinstalling OSX as mentioned before. This was the final recommendation of the engineering supervisor I was eventually escalated to within Apple phone support. He recommended simply not using FileVault until Apple releases a fix for this issue.

  15. swanky

    Why does it say encryption paused. Outta the box 13 inch pro. Today. Froze while waiting. Left it for like five hours..still spinning. Turned machine off. Rebooted. Not frozen but still says paused. WTF. Any ideas. Nothing on this machine but what it is sent with. Whaz up??

  16. Petter omland

    Hey guys. I got the same problem. Seems like it’s starting to work for some of you. I get to repair the logical volume, but the “repair disk permissions”-option is greyed out and unavailable. I tried to reboot after only repairing the virtual whole disk/logical volume, but the encryption bar still stops halfway as before.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. kshitij dhage

      Select both drives by holding command .. Then repair option will b available.. Then run repair permissions option .. It should work

  17. JC

    Couldn’t get this fix to work at first – it kept giving me a “Couldn’t unmount disk” error for the old partition (when I tried to do Marisa’s step #8 of creating the new partition).

    The solution was to restart in Internet Recovery Mode – Command+Option+R and then try again.

    Maybe I was using the partition to run recovery mode so couldn’t unmount it?

    Anyway – SOLVED! Thanks Marisa for your help. You are a lifesaver.

  18. Rostic

    I’ve gone through many different recovery procedures for several days, including burning a custom WinRE recovery disk, going back to restore points, etc, etc — nothing seemed to help. This trick got me right out! Thanks a million!

  19. Step

    The strangest thing happenend as I was attempting this…I tried 3 times to “enter password” by entering the FileVault password. FAIL.

    Then, on a whim,I entered my LOGIN password. SUCCESS ! WTF ?

  20. Peter McPherson

    Lot of criticism thrown Microsoft’s way in the past because their “answer” to a lot of issues is reinstall Windows. Looks like Apple deserves some now too. A good friend of mine is stuck with this issue, except his MacBook is so slow as to be unusable. He didn’t even know that it was encrypting. Seems like there should be a better way to warn people before it starts? I’m going to have to try and backup all his stuff and reinstall OSX. Hopefully won’t take too long but I am thinking it may since everything is painfully slow.

  21. Rick Moskovitz

    The only fix that worked for me was to turn off encryption in Recovery (or Internet Recovery) mode.
    1. Restart computer in Recovery mode by holding down Command and R keys at the startup sound.
    2. Select Disk Utility and click button in the lower right to continue.
    3. From the left panel, select the icon for the startup volume (usually Macintosh HD indented under Macintosh HD)
    4. Click Unlock button if there is one. Otherwise, find Unlock in the File dropdown menu and click it. Then enter your computer password at the prompt.
    5. Go back to File dropdown menu and click Turn off Encryption. Then enter your password again.
    6. Restart the computer in normal mode and you’re done.
    7. The volume will decrypt in the background. For my computer, it took around an hour. Then in the Preferences>Security>Filevault panel, it will say Filevault is turned off.

    A few observations:
    1. iTunes was generating an error message about Firewalls while the disk was stuck encrypting. That resolved after the fix.
    2. Could not upgrade from Yosemite to El Capitan while the disk was encrypting. Haven’t tried again, but expect it will work.
    3. In Disk Utility, a second subvolume of Macintosh HD appears in the left panel, labeled “unmounted disk.” I suspect we can just ignore this.
    4. I would not, under any circumstances attempt to activate Filevault again. Apple needs to come up with a more user friendly layer of extra security. With “Find My Mac,” the computer can be remotely locked or wiped if lost or stolen. That may be enough for most of us.

    1. martin

      Hello Rick, is any file going to be affected by stopping the encryption this way? I have been four days with encryption at 98% according to terminal. But as I momentarily don’t have a second drive for a back up I am still not sure if I should try this.

      1. Rick Moskovitz

        I’m not an expert. I’ve just tried the various fixes recommended by others on the various message boards. Of course, it’s always a good idea to back up your computer before trying anything systemic. That said, I haven’t noticed any corrupted files or other glitches on my Mac after turning off encryption. A number of things have improved, most notably battery life. The background encryption process seems to have sucked up a lot of energy. And as previously stated, iTunes now works, while it didn’t before.

    2. F.M.

      ^^ This worked! Not only for this problem, but horribly slow load times on ALL my programs and start up.

      Boot up with COMMAND + R
      Disk Utility
      Unlock Drive
      Repaid Disk
      Drop Down Menu > Turn off encryption

  22. Alex

    Hi my encryption has paused and will not restart its making my Mac slow as hell and pretty useless iv tried this but there is no option to turn the encryption off in recovery mode any other suggestions on what to try.

  23. nick cox

    This is a serious issue caused by the new El Capitan operating system.When I restarted my computer recently I couldn’t access it because as well as my “user” to sign in on there was also a “guest user” on the screen.I thought I’d been hacked by a worm virus but in fact it is okay if I restarted and turned off file vault on re-start.Now I have to live file vault turned off the whole time though.

  24. Naveed ul Islam

    The only solution worked for me was a complete system restore from Time Machine to erased volume that was formally being encrypted. Thanks Apple, you just wasted 5 hours of my life.

    1. nick cox

      I have had to leave my File Vault permanently disabled for my Mac Pro to operate.Otherwise it is simply non-operational.So that is annoying.
      Leaving File Vault in this state does not have any negative impact on my computer,except I guess it makes it more vulnerable to hacking/spying attacks from outsiders.I just have to hope that my spyware software serves this purpose for me.

  25. Laura M

    So how long until I know I’m stuck encrypting? In other words: how long is it supposed to take, assuming all is well? How long is too long?

    1. Laura M

      I should mention the “Estimated Time Remaining” has fluctuated from anywhere between 28 minutes to 1,246 days…and it keep changing.

  26. Stephen Talugende

    I’ve followed the steps, however, it keeps trying to recover from the internet. After entering the wifi login, it stops at “

  27. Alkhandro

    1- reset you’re mac book with command+R
    2- create image of volume macintosh hd on other storage
    3- format macintosh hd without encryption option
    4- restore image too macintosh hd
    After reboot in ‘security’ filevault turned off…

Comments are closed.