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How to open a BitLocker-encrypted USB drive on macOS?

Updated on Friday, June 14, 2024

iBoysoft author Vain Rowe

Written by

Vain Rowe
Professional tech editor

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Jessica Shee

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Summary: This article discusses how to open, read and write a BitLocker-encrypted USB drive on Mac (M1, M2 & M3). All you need is a reliable BitLocker for Mac tool, such as iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac.

Open BitLocker encrypted drive on Mac

I am a cross-platform user, I am sometimes required to use Windows but my choice is Mac. To secure the data on my USB, I have enabled BitLocker encryption on my USB drive. However, I need to open a BitLocker USB drive on my Mac. How to do it? 
-- from Apple Community Forum

When you inserted a BitLocker-encrypted drive on Mac, an error message "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer" will pop up. Instead of initializing or ejecting it, just ignore the message and we will tell you how to open a BitLocker-encrypted USB drive on a Mac so that you can read and edit your files.

The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer

Is there a BitLocker Mac for version?

BitLocker Drive Encryption is a full-disk encryption method developed by Microsoft, but Microsoft has not implemented BitLocker for the Mac version.

Does it mean that you can't use BitLocker-encrypted USB drives on Mac?

Of course not. With the right BitLocker for Mac tool, like iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac, you can easily unlock and open your BitLocker encrypted USB drive and external hard drive on macOS Sonoma 15 Beta/14/13/12/11/10.15/10.14/10.13.


How to open a BitLocker-encrypted USB drive on Mac

Follow the detailed step-by-step tutorial below to read and write a BitLocker encrypted drive on your Mac:

Step 1: Download iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac.

The first step is to click the "Free Download" button to download the dmg file from our official site.

Note that iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac setup requires macOS High Sierra 10.13 and later version. If you are using macOS Sierra 10.12 and older Mac OS X, please contact [email protected].

Step 2: Install iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac.

After downloading, double-click the dmg file in your Downloads folder and then follow the wizard to install it.

Step 3: Enable system extensions.

If your Mac is running macOS High Sierra 10.13 and later version, click "Open Security Preferences" to allow system extensions when prompted. You are also required to restart your Mac to finish installing.

Step 4: Launch iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac.

Once installed, go to the Applications folder or Launchpad and launch iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac.

Step 5: Insert a BitLocker-encrypted USB drive into your Mac.

Launch iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac

iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac requires a healthy BitLocker-encrypted USB drive. But if your BitLocker-encrypted USB drive did get corrupted somehow, don't stress out! You can use our iBoysoft BitLocker Recovery software to recover your important data.

Step 6: Click the "Open" icon under that BitLocker-encrypted USB drive.

Select BitLocker encrypted drive on Mac

Step 7: Choose the "Volume mounter" option at this step.

Mount BitLocker encrypted drive on Mac

On the unlock window, there are two options to unlock the BitLocker-encrypted drive.

  • File manager: Trial users can click on "File Manager" to browse and preview all files on the BitLocker-encrypted drive. Here, you can get a test of how iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac works.
  • Volume mounter: To mount your BitLocker-encrypted drive into read-write mode, tick "Volume Mounter". This function is only available for paid users.

View files in BitLocker encrypted drive on Mac

Step 8: Enter the password.

This step is mandatory for iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac to unlock your drive. It is as much of a policy issue as it is a technological limitation. Check "Remember this password in my keychain" to save the password for the next entry.

Step 9: Click Unlock to mount a BitLocker-encrypted drive on your Mac.

Open BitLocker encrypted drive on Mac

After mounting the BitLocker-encrypted drive in read-write mode, you can see it in Finder and work with it just like your Mac's native drive. For example, you can copy, delete, edit, rename, and transfer files from the BitLocker-encrypted drive to your Mac.

Your computer needs time to write data into the USB, so ejecting before the process is completed may result in data loss. Therefore, to ensure secure data, you need to disconnect your USB drive from the Mac safely. Here is the two-step formula:

  1. Lock the encrypted drive: Click the Lock button to lock the drive. This step reinforces the encryption on the drive.Eject BitLocker encrypted drive in iBoysoft BitLocker for Mac
  2. Safely eject drive: Click on the Eject button to disconnect your USB drive safely and then unplug it from your Mac. Doing so can eliminate your files or drive from being damaged.


BitLocker Alternatives for Mac

If you want to protect your confidential files from unwanted access by encryption, there are plenty of Windows BitLocker alternatives supported by macOS that can do the same thing.

Apple FileVault 2, a BitLocker Mac equivalent, is used to encrypt internal hard drives on Mac, while many third-party open-source apps can be installed to encrypt external storage media including HDDs, SSDs, SD cards, and USB flash drives.

Find some popular BitLocker equivalents for Mac:

  1. VeraCrypt
  2. TrueCrypt
  3. AES Crypt
  4. File Lock PEA
  5. Encrypto
  6. Axcrypt
  7. Ciphershed

Are Macs Encrypted by Default?

It is a question without a simple yes or no answer. It all depends on what Mac model you are talking about.

For older Mac models before 2018, they are not encrypted by default. You need to turn on FileVault manually and then it starts to encrypt and decrypt your Mac hard drive.

However, for newer Macs with a T2 Security Chip and an Apple Silicon Chip, the built-in on-the-fly encryption encrypts Mac's SSD without user setup. In other words, those Macs are encrypted by default and the encryption cannot be turned on or off by an end user.

Also, on the T2 or M3, M2, and M1 Macs, you can turn on FileVault to add another layer of protection.

How to make a USB drive BitLocker encrypted on Mac?

You can't encrypt a USB drive on Mac via BitLocker unless you employ a reliable third-party BitLocker for Mac tool. It uses the same BitLocker Drive Encryption algorithm as Windows to encrypt hard drives and other portable disks.

After the encryption process is finished, you can use the BitLocker-encrypted USB drive on Windows that supports BitLocker (Windows 10 Pro, Education, and Enterprise Edition).

How to turn off BitLocker encryption from a USB drive on Mac?

When you decided that BitLocker encryption is no longer needed for your USB drive, you can disable it and decrypt your data easily with a Windows PC.

But if you want to remove BitLocker encryption on a Mac, the only way is to format the disk using Disk Utility. But this method will erase all your files and make them unrecoverable. Read below to see how to format a BitLocker-encrypted drive on Mac.

How to format a BitLocker-encrypted USB drive on Mac?

Formatting a Bitlocker-enabled USB drive on Mac will return you a blank disk. Before doing so, you should use a BitLocker for Mac app or a Windows computer to back up your important files first.

Just like formatting any other Mac-friendly drive, you open Disk Utility and erase the BitLocker-encrypted drive. Or click "Initialize" when the error message pops up, and you will be led to the Disk Utility window to wipe the disk and give it a workable file system as well.

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