I chose a 1T external drive for time machine and checked the "encrypt backups" option. I thought it will only encrypt the backups, but as it seems it is now encrypting the whole drive which has quite some data on it and is not SSD ;). Is there a way to cancel the encryption process? I turned off Time Machine and chose another drive for it.

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    Whatever you do, let the process finish, backup everything, then tinker with the settings. If you mess up while your files are encrypted, you are royally screwed.
    – Thomas
    Aug 15, 2012 at 0:22
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    This is my only real complaint with OSX. Once the process is started some machines basically become unusable. It shouldn't be this easy to render my workstation unusable for the next 3 days: This is OSX and it's not Linux, they are supposed to be protecting me from myself. Until now I've never thought twice about clicking a dialog in OSX. Thanks Apple. Sep 30, 2012 at 23:56

2 Answers 2


Yes, in 10.9+ you can roll it back while its busy encrypting

diskutil cs revert /Volumes/title_drive -passphrase

You will then be promted with the OS X password unlock/decrypt dialog. After that it starts decrypting. The title_drive you can look up with diskutil list or ls -al /Volumes

Check the status with

diskutil cs list

Look for "Conversion Progress" and check if "Conversion Direction:" is set to "backward"

  • What if I forgot my passphrase? :-/ Guess I will have to unplug the drive and wipe the GPT on a Linux box... :) May 19, 2015 at 12:24
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    If you have a bootable usb key you could run disk utility and delete the disk partition there and repartition it. But of course you lose all data. I don't know if the rescue partition is accessible without unlocking the drive, I thought FF2 was full disk encryption instead of only individual partitions.
    – Sanne
    May 19, 2015 at 16:00
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    @William Too late for you, I know, but I had the same problem and managed a fix: open Disk Utility; first aid the partition; open a new System Preferences window; navigate to FileVault; disconnect and reconnect power cable. The panel should now say 'Decrypting...' Jul 1, 2016 at 23:20
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    It no longer works for macOS High Sierra. Jan 5, 2018 at 19:51
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    My status was Pending and progress was Paused. Rebooting got things going again.
    – Ryan H.
    Mar 31, 2018 at 17:50
  • Restart.

  • Then reset pram with option+cmd+p+r.

  • Booting with cmd+r the utility disc (I have a macintosh HD and one partition encrypted (the one with encoding paused)) >select the partition encrypted>click file and unlock>repair the partition disk>repair permission on partition>repair Macintosh HD. Restart.

  • The encryption will be resumed.

  • This answers a different question.
    – Chris Page
    Dec 2, 2017 at 2:24

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