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Can't unlock & mount external encrypted APFS disk on Mac

I have an APFS-encrypted external disk that was incorrectly disconnected from USB at some point. Ever since then, I have been unable to mount the disk. I have tried mounting through Disk Utility and the diskutil mountDisk command, but with no success. When I connect the disk, Finder asks for the password. After typing it in, it waits a very long time and then does nothing. The disk shows up in diskutil list. When I try to do a disk copy with Disk Utility, it gives an error 16: Resource Busy. diskutil RepairVolume disk3 gives: Error starting file system repair for disk3: Invalid request (-69886) What can I do to figure out what the problem is and how I can solve it?

Best Answered by

iBoysoft author Jenny Zeng

Jenny Zeng

Answered on Friday, April 12, 2024

Try unlocking the APFS drive with the following commands:

First, list all external partitions connected to your Mac:

diskutil list external

Note down the disk identifier of the unmounted APFS partition and replace disk3s2 in the command below with it to unlock the encrypted APFS volume and mount it on Mac.

diskutil apfs unlockVolume disk3s2

If you still can't unlock the APFS external drive, recover its data, and reformat it is your last resort.

To retrieve data from the encrypted APFS external disk, you can use iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac. It's a reliable data recovery app that allows you to retrieve images, videos, audio, documents, and other types of data from encrypted APFS drives and drives with other formats.

It's compatible with various storage devices, such as external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, SSDs, etc, supporting all macOS versions after OS X Yosemite. It also works perfectly with Intel-based, T2, M1 and M2 Macs.

Download it to preview files on the encrypted APFS drive for free!

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