APFS is more advanced than the previous HFS+, which not only supports whole disk encryption but also encrypts individual files and metadata with single or multi-key support. However, many people complained in Apple Support Community that they were unable to unlock an APFS encrypted volume and all data stored on the volume became inaccessible.
When trying to decrypt the APFS volume in Terminal, they got the error message: "The crypto user was not found on the APFS volume (-69594)" or "No crypto user for encrypted APFS volume". What does this error mean? Why does this error pop out? How to unlock the APFS encrypted volume? This passage will tell you the right answer.
What is a crypto user and why it is lost?
A crypto user refers to an encryption account. APFS encrypts volumes with ciphertext and then encrypt the ciphertext with the user's personal key. That is to say, decryption requires two separate keys. However, the ciphertext can be encrypted multiple times for different users, so that each user can access an encrypted APFS volume with the copy of ciphertext and his or her own key. This encryption process will generate different accounts called crypto users. If one of crypto users is lost, even with the correct key, you are still unable to decrypt the APFS encrypted volume.
Reasons for 'the crypto user was not found on the APFS volume' error
"The crypto user was not found on the APFS volume" error results from the loss of encryption metadata or unrecognized ciphertext, which is possibly caused by bad sector, virus attack, power failure, file system corruptions, etc.
Data Recovery when the crypto user was not found on the APFS volume
When you received "the crypto user was not found on the APFS volume" error, the encrypted APFS volume is corrupted and inaccessible. All data on the volume is so fragile that any operation will overwrite the original data. The first and foremost thing is to make sure you have backed up important files. If you didn't back up, a professional APFS data recovery software is required.
iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is one of a few data recovery software which supports data recovery from encrypted APFS volume. Even when the ciphertext can’t be recognized by the operating system, it has the ability to access all saved data in encrypted APFS volumes. Besides, it offers reliable solutions to various APFS data loss problems. For example, it's able to repair APFS volumes, recover unbootable APFS partition, recover lost data from formatted, damaged, corrupted, unmountable, inaccessible, unreadable APFS partitions, and recover lost data from encrypted APFS external drives, etc.
In addition to APFS volume recovery, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is also capable of recovering data from HFS+, HFS, exFAT, FAT32 formatted partitions and external hard drives, USB drives, SD cards, memory cards, CF cards and so on.
How to recover lost data from encrypted APFS volume with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery?
Step 1: Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery and click "Find Lost APFS Partition" on the top right corner. Then you will see all connected hard drives.
Step 2: Select the drive which contains your APFS encrypted volume and click "Next" button. The software will list all APFS volumes on the selected drive.
Step 3: Choose the APFS encrypted volume that you want to recover lost data from and click "Next".
Step 4: Enter the correct password and click "OK" to start searching for lost files on the volume.
Step 5: Preview the listed searching results, choose files you need, then click "Recover" to get lost files back.
Step 5: Go through to make sure you have all the lost files back.
How to fix if APFS encrypted volume doesn't work?
Method 1: Find another crypto user. If the APFS volume is encrypted by multiple users, you can find another crypto user and input his/her key to decrypt it.
Method 2: Try your system password if it is the system drive. If the encrypted APFS volume is one of volumes on the system drive, you can try inputting the system password.
Method 3: Try domain password if you are using a domain user account.