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Old 04-03-2021, 08:29 AM
jmsgwd jmsgwd is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 38
Simple way to make encrypted backup of data volume only

Hi, is there a simple way to make encrypted backup of my data on macOS 10.15 Catalina, that does not involve booting from the target disk and enabling FileVault?

As you know the old method of erasing the target disk, formatting as APFS (encrypted), and writing to the empty target disk using Smart Update no longer works in Catalina.

I tried using the recommended solution of making an unencrypted backup, booting from the backup, and enabling FileVault - but it didn't work. I was able to boot from the backup successfully, but the computer was so slow that it was virtually impossible to use... sometimes taking over a minute to respond. Dialogs popped up with a FileVault icon saying that various apps were being verified, for example:
Verifying ""...
I tried enabling FileVault and eventually got the following error - possibly due to timeouts and the like:
FileVault Failed
An internal error has occurred.
I Force Quit System and started it again but got this error:
Preferences Error
Could not load Security & Privacy preference pane.
By the end of this process my blood pressure was in the danger zone and I was ready to throw my laptop out of the window!

Now I've reached the point where I don't care if my backups are bootable or not[*]. I also don't care if my backups only include user data, and not system data (if I had to do a restore, I'd be fine with spending a weekend re-installing everything, since I could do with making a fresh start anyway).

So I'm looking for a quick and easy way to back up MY DATA ONLY that is ENCRYPTED. Preferably something that is forwards-compatible with Big Sur so I don't have to revise my backup procedure yet again in the near future. If it includes both system and data volume, that would also be fine - as long as I don't need to boot from the backup and enable FileVault.

[*] I understand bootable backups won't be available in Big Sur on Apple Silicon anyway, so I might as well get used to it now.

P.S. Your website seems to be available in two domains ( and and neither redirects to the other, so it's not clear which one is canonical. When I log in to I get the following error:
Invalid Redirect URL (

Last edited by jmsgwd; 04-03-2021 at 08:42 AM.
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