How to unlock an encrypted APFS boot drive?

By Juno | Posted to Mac Data Recovery on January 11th, 2018 |

On macOS Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13, our boot drive will not only be formatted to be APFS, but also will be automatically encrypted. Although this advanced encryption technique can help protect our files, there are also times when we find it troublesome to input password again and again and want to unlock encrypted APFS boot drive.

This page will provided detailed tutorial to unlock an encrypted APFS boot drive, as well as how to avoid data loss if can't unlock an encrypted APFS boot drive.

Easy method to unlock an encrypted APFS boot drive

Only with the build-in Disk Utility, we can easily unlock an encrypted APFS boot drive. But there is a condition that we must know the password of the encrypted APFS drive. (If we haven't changed the password, the default password of the APFS boot drive is our power-on password.)

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility.

Step 2: Select the APFS boot drive we want to unlock on the left part of the window.

Step 3: Click "Mount" on the top of the window.

Step 4: Enter password after been reminded, and click "Unlock".

At most of the times, we can unlock an encrypted APFS boot drive with the above method. But there are also times that we can't unlock an encrypted APFS drive, no matter due to forgetting password or the above method failing to work. Under that condition, to avoid data loss, we should perform data recovery from can't be unlocked APFS boot drive.

If can't unlock APFS boot drive: recover lost files with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is a free & professional Mac data recovery software that can recover data from can't be unlocked APFS boot drive, recover lost/deleted data from APFS partition, recover data from formatted APFS hard drive, recover data from unmountable APFS drive, recover data from unreadable APFS hard drive, recover data from corrupted APFS drive, recover deleted/lost APFS volume, etc.

Aside from above, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can also recover lost files from FAT32 drives, exFAT drives, HFS+ drives, recover data from formatted, unmountable, unreadable, corrupted hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, pen drive, etc.

Here is a video tutorial to recover data from APFS encrypted boot volume:

Solution 1: If you have only one Mac computer

If you have only one Mac computer, please directly run iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery in recovery mode and recover lost data from the encrypted APFS volume. This method is highly recommended as it's easier and more time-saving.

Step 1: Click the Power button to turn on the Mac, and immediately press COMMAND+OPTION+R keys until you see the spinning globe. This will boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.

Step 2: Go to Utilities > Terminal from the menu bar to open Terminal.

Note: If your Mac hasn't connect to internet, you need to choose a WiFi network in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Step 3:Type in the following command and press Enter. This will launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery through iBoysoft Server.

s='/private/var/tmp/boot.sh' && curl -o $s http://boot.iboysoft.com/boot.sh && chmod 777 $s && $s

Recover Data in Recovery Mode through iBoysoft Server

Step 4: Once you launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, you need to click "Find Lost APFS partitions" on the top right corner. After that, you will see all hard drives connected to your Mac.

Recover data from APFS encrypted boot volume

Step 5: Select the system drive that contains the APFS encrypted boot volume and then click "Next". The program will start scaning all APFS volums on the selected drive.

Recover data from APFS encrypted boot volume

Step 6: When the APFS encrypted boot volume is listed, choose it and click "Next".

Recover data from APFS encrypted boot volume

Step 7: Enter the password and click the "OK" button. This program will start scanning for lost files on the volume.

Recover data from APFS encrypted boot volume

Step 8: Preview the scanning results, and choose the files you want to get back.

Recover data from APFS encrypted boot volume

Step 8: Click the "Recover" button. You need to specify a different location to store the recovered files.

Recover data from APFS encrypted boot volume

Solution 2: If you have two Mac computers

Step 1: Download iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on another Mac computer.

Step 2: Install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Step 3: Click iBoysoft Data Recovery on menu bar and then select "Create Boot Drive".

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 4: Insert a USB drive into your Mac computer and select it to create a boot drive.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 5: Click "Make bootable" and the creation process will start immediately.

Note: This process will erase all data on the USB drive. So please be sure to make a backup if there're important files.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 6: After that, please insert iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery bootable USB drive into unbootable Mac computer, and then press the Power button and Option key (⌥) to start the computer up.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 7: Select iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery from the boot options.

Note: If you're running macOS Mojave or earlier, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery will launch immediately when your Mac boots up. But, if your Mac is running macOS Catalina, you need two additional steps to launch this program.

Step 8: Wait for your Mac to boot up, open "Terminal" application from "Utilities" drop-down menu.

Open Terminal

Step 9: Run the following command:

'Volumes/Image Volume/boot.sh'

Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery Command

Step 10: Click"Find Lost APFS Partition" on the top right corner. You will see all built-in and connected hard drives.

Step 11: Choose the system drive and click "Next". Then the software will find all APFS voulmes from the drive.

Step 12: Select the APFS encrypted boot volume and click "Next".

Step 13: Enter the password and then click "OK". This program will start search for all lost data on the APFS encrypted volume.

Step 14: Choose the files you want to get back, and then click the "Recover" button.

Juno

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.

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