How to fix 'the crypto user was not found on the APFS volume' error?

Posted by Katrina to Mac Data Recovery on November 28th, 2018

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 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 data from encrypted APFS volume with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery?

Step 1: Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Step 2: Click "Find Lost APFS Partitions" on the top right, then the program will start searching for the APFS encrypted volume.

Recover data from encrypted APFS volume

Step 3: When all APFS volumes found, select the APFS volume that you lost data and click "Next".

Step 4: Enter password. The program will start scanning for lost data from the encrypted APFS volume.

Step 5: Preview the results, choose files you expected and click "Recover" to get them 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.

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