How to encrypt Mac, iPhone and iPad backups

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Philippe Gloaguen
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Users are increasingly aware of the need to maintain their privacy and this includes increased use of encryption.

Here's how to set up Apple's backup systems for Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices to encrypt copies of your data.

User privacy is a priority for Apple, which has made every effort to enable encryption and minimize the use of personal data in its products and services.

This focus on security means that Apple customers can be reasonably confident that their personal data is generally well protected.

A little-known area where there may be a weakness in data security is in backups. These copies of user data and other associated files can be stored unencrypted to protect the data.

For backups stored on an external drive, this creates a portable and easily accessible (for anyone) repository of a user's data.

If you use Apple's backup tools, such as Time Machine, this is the case if you set it up correctly.

Since Apple's services and tools are relatively easy to install and run, with Time Machine being a particularly easy system to set up and forget it works, it's also relatively easy to change the settings to enable encryption.

By following these steps, you will ensure that your personal data is encrypted and more protected from prying eyes than those that are not.

macOS and Time Machine

Apple's Time Machine for macOS has relatively few things a user can change within its menu system. This makes it very easy to use, but as a result it isn't very customizable.

Existing backups cannot be configured in Time Machine to be encrypted.

Since the settings are only displayed when you set up your backup, you will need to start from scratch with your backups.

In other words, on the disk you are already using for backup copies, the “Encrypt backup copies” box will appear disabled if you have not checked it at that time.

As you can see, the same disk you are using for backups appears in the list again. If you select it, the option to encrypt copies will be available.

The difference is that you will start making a complete new copy, independent of the existing copies.

Selecting the same disk to start making encrypted copies will erase existing backups from the disk. If you want to keep the backups you already have, we recommend that you use a different drive as the backup destination (or manually copy them to another disk).

Remember that you will also have backups of the last 24 hours of hourly snapshots stored locally, so there is still a level of Time Machine available in these cases.

How to enable encrypted Mac backups on Time Machine.

  • Open the Pref Renze  di  time Machine. You can do this from the Time Machine icon in the menu bar or from System Preferences.
  • Do click su  Select backup disk
  • Select the  unit  you want to use for Time Machine backups.
  • Make sure the  check box  next to Encrypt Backup is selected.
  • click on  Disco driver.
  • Enter the  Password  per i backup.
  • Check the  Password.
  • Enter a  password hint. click on Encrypt disk.
  • Wait for macOS to prepare the drive, followed by its first full encrypted backup.

iPhone and iPad

While you may have already set up iPhone backups on your Mac, it's possible that now that we tell you, you think it's a good idea to encrypt backups of the iOS devices you own.

Encrypted iPhone and iPad backups also include storage of saved passwords, Wi-Fi settings, web history, health data, and call history.

Of course, this all applies if you're backing up locally on a Mac. If you're backing up to iCloud, your data is automatically encrypted.

You need to check the corresponding box to enable encrypted iPhone backups on Mac.

How to enable encrypted iPhone and iPad backups in Finder on macOS

  • Connect the  your iPhone or iPad to your Mac using a Lightning or USB-C cable.
  • Open the  Finder (remember that in the latest versions of macOS this is no longer done in the music application but in the Finder).
  • In Positions,  select the device.
  • In the tab  Generalin   Backup, check the box next to  Encrypt local backup.
  • Enter and verify one  Password  to protect the backup. You can optionally check the box next to  Save this password in my keychain.
  • click on  Set password.

After the first backup is complete, click Manage Backups to see a list of device backups on that Mac.

If it is present a padlock next to the last device backup, it means that the encrypted backup was successful.

Remember: if you're using an older Mac that uses iTunes to sync with your devices, the process is basically the same, except it's done within the iTunes application rather than the Finder.

Remember your passwords

We want to point out that you really need to take the password you use for backups seriously. It may seem obvious to some to remember, but it is an essential part of the process.

If you need to access encrypted backups, you will be prompted for the password associated with the backup. If you don't remember your password, you won't be able to access the data (neither you nor anyone else, that's why it's a safe option).

Since the password for the backup is set regardless of the one you use to log in to the user account, this password, which you will rarely use, may be more difficult to remember.

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