How to change APFS encryption password without data loss?

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery on December 20th, 2018 |

Summary: Disk Utility change password greyed out? Cannot change APFS encryption passphrase in Terminal? Here is how to change APFS encryption password and how to recover lost data from APFS encrypted volumes.

I have a clean install of macOS High Sierra with APFS encrypted file partition. During install I checked the "decrypt at login" option, but each has a different password. I now want to change my APFS password but I haven't been able to:
"change password" is greyed out in the Disk Utility for my APFS volume. diskutil apfs changePassphrase ... returned an error saying it can't do it.
Any idea how I can do that?

APFS encryption is designed with native encryption which offers a higher level of security. Unlike HFS+, APFS has implemented single-key and multi-key for system-level, file level, and specific data and metadata. However, some Mac users report that APFS encrypted volume won't accept the password and they are unable to change APFS encryption password. This passage will show you how to change APFS encryption password and recover your data from this encrypted APFS volume.

Why you cannot change APFS encryption password?

Normally, the password of an APFS encrypted volume can be changed as your willing. But if the APFS encrypted volume is corrupted, some errors will occur when you try to decrypt it or change its password. APFS encrypted volume corruption can be caused by virus attack, APFS encryption interruption, sudden power failure and invalid catalog file, etc.

How to change APFS encryption password?

Solution 1: Change APFS encryption password with Disk Utility

Usually, you will be able to change the APFS password with Disk Utility if your disk is healthy.

1. Run Disk Utility and choose "Show all devices" in View Option.

2. Click the encrypted APFS volume and click File in the left top of your desktop.

3. Choose "Change Password" and type the information it asked, then click "Change" to finish.

Solution 2: Recover lost data from encrypted APFS volume and reformatting

However, if your disk is suffering from file system corruption, reformatting will be the best way to solve this issue. But this operation will remove all data on the APFS encrypted volume. Thus, if you have important files on the volume, please recover lost data from APFS encrypted volume with iBoysoft Mac Data Recoveryfirstly.

Step 1: Recover lost data from APFS encrypted volume

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can recover all lost data from APFS encrypted volume, recover lost data from unbootable APFS encrypted volume, and recover lost data from unmountable APFS encrypted volume, etc.

Moreover, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can also support HFS+, HFSX, HFS, exFAT, FAT32 hard drives, external hard drives, USB flash drives, memory cards, SD cards, etc. It's fully compatible with macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

1. Download and install iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on your Mac.

2. Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery and click "Find Lost APFS Partition" on the top right corner. Then you will see all connected hard drives.

Recover lost data from APFS encrypted volume

3. Select the drive which contains your APFS encrypted volume and click "Next" button. The software will list all APFS volumes on the selected drive.

Recover lost data from APFS encrypted volume

4. Choose the APFS encrypted volume that you want to recover lost data from and click "Next".

Recover lost data from APFS encrypted volume

5. Enter the correct password and click "OK" to start searching for lost files on the volume.

Recover lost data from APFS encrypted volume

6. Preview the listed searching results, choose files you need, then click "Recover" to get lost files back.

Recover lost data from APFS encrypted volume

Step 2: Change APFS encryption password by reformatting

1. Launch Disk Utility.

2. Select the APFS encrypted volume from the left sidebar of the window.

3. Click the Erase button on the top of the Disk Utility window.

4. Complete the name, choose the APFS(Encrypted), input a new password, and then click Erase.


Juno is a technical expert @iBoysoft. She has over 5-year experience in data recovery/repair technology. She loves to write data recovery tips and tutorials.