How to minimize the harm from the theft of your Mac

If you own a Mac, this is well worth reading.

My residence was recently broken into (the alarm malfunctioned on entry and only went off as the thieves left) and two Mac laptops were taken. Luckily, I have good insurance and had an up to date Time Machine backup.

Over the past week, I’ve learned some additional things I could have done to prepare for this eventuality. My house had also been broken into ten years ago.

Here’s a summary of what you should do to prepare your Macs right now for the possibility of theft. It won’t eliminate theft but it will greatly reduce the damage from such events and make it more likely that your device will return to you.

One thing that I did not know was how easy Apple has made it to encrypt your external backup drive. Here’s a link to show you how to do that.

Good stuff.



  • Link doesn’t work for me, because my backup disk doesn’t mount itself visibly.

    • Has to be on the desktop to right click encrypt.

      • Doesn’t show up on the desktop, either. I wonder how I managed this. 🙂

        • Go to Finder -> Preferences -> General and make sure “Hard disks” and “External disks” are both checked.

          • Done already, believe me. Only affects the backup disk.

  • Ferdinand Leinbach

    I would not recommend encrypting your backup drive. Two reasons: * if you loose your encryption key, all your files (including your backups) are gone for good. * encyrpted drives suffer from higher risks of data failure because of wrong bits screwing up the decryption. Therefore, even if it feels saver, your data is actually stored worse. And if NSA wants to get at your data, I’m pretty sure they would still be able if you encrypt it.