I am sure this has been answered before, but wanted to know what apps people are using to encrypt external hard drives and USB drives. I have several that I use for local backups and carry with me when I travel with that I need to encrypt. Is the native Mac tool the best?
That’s what I use and recommend. Other tools, such as TrueCrypt have been exposed as having security flaws.
If you only need to get to it from a Mac just use the built in Disk Utility. Anything else use VeraCrypt.
I’ve got a Mac mini server with 3 external data drives and 6 external backup drives half at any time kept offsite. I’ve got an additional two drives for clone (image) backups. All of these drives are encrypted using Disk Utility. No muss, no fuss. Also FileVault on all internal drives but the server which requires being able to remotely login after boot.
I made really good experiences with Cryptomator which I also use for synced cloud storage like Dropbox.
So I took some of the advice and used the Mac Disk Utility, or to be more clear, I am using the Disk Utility. I started the encryption process yesterday on a 2TB that has a bit less than 1TB of data on it. It has been running for more than 17 hours at this point and still says encrypting, but there is no status bar (why?). Running this on Mid 2015 MacBook Pro with 2.5 GHz i7 with 16Gb of Ram. Any ideas how long the process takes? Once encrypted and I need something will it take long to access and will I have to go through this long process to close the drive?
It has always been practically instant for me but I have always started by creating a blank encrypted image in Disk Utility then writing to it. Subsequent i/o isn’t noticeably different from any other drive.
On drives with existing data the encryption goes on in the background and the drive is fully functional during the encryption. You can even dismount and remount the drive. It takes a long time so it can always be accessible. An encrypted drive isn’t slower by any human observable amount (might be a couple percent slower).
Thank you for the responses. Learning some new tricks here.
The whole drive is being encrypted, even areas that currently don’t have active data on them. This process is to ensure that any sensitive data that was written there in the past is encrypted, and not accessible from, say, a file recovery utility.