Benefits to turning off Filevault on Macbook 12"

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by pjny, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. pjny macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010

    I was thinking of turning off Filevault 2 on Macbook 12 with El Cap. Is it true that the only way to access the data on Macbook 12 with filevault 2 turned off is to remove the soldered on flash drive? Or can you attached an external bootable drive and access the unencrypted data that way.

    I have the 1.3ghz version of the laptop and asking if there are any noticeable speed differences for those who have used it with filevault 2 turned on and off. I use it to edit raw 36 megapixel images and any speed increases are welcome.
  2. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Mine is off because I am not worried about the data on the device. There is no flash drive per se. The flash memory chips are soldered to the motherboard. An engineer could probably figure out how to get to the data but would they?
  3. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
    I have it tured on my late 2008 aluminum MacBook and it's fine. A few seconds booting up and that's all.
  4. CatBookPro macrumors member


    Jan 24, 2008
    Salem, MA
    I have it turned on with my Macbook - I use Carbon Copy Cloner to create a bootable image (onto an encrypted external USB3 drive). I really don't know about performance differences, because I turned it on Day-1. Whether or not you use it, just make sure you have decent backups to protect your data (in response to the whole soldered chips vs. hard drive post/thingy).
  5. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i doubt there'd be a noticeable difference, but i suspect there would be something, so if you have data you don't care about folks stealing, then you might as well turn it off.
  6. pjny thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    Reason I was asking is that in older laptops you can remove the hard drive whereas a thief would have to remove the soldered flash chips and somehow connect them to a device that can read the data.

    I am not working for a corporation so no sensitive data is on my laptop. only thing is password manager but i can shut that off if laptop stolen.

    Stuff will mostly be stolen for resale.

  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I am afraid I don't have the knowledge or confidence in my computer skills to say what a thief might do with my laptop. People are pretty ingenious. I figure its safest just to encrypt it all to give myself peace of mind. If someone walked off with my laptop, I wouldn't be pleased about it, but I could at least rest easy knowing that nothing is at risk. I have it all backed up on Time Machine and the cloud (encrypted) as well, so I could walk into an Apple store and be back to work in a few minutes. Unencrypted and stolen could result in some terrible headaches for me.
  8. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Even is someone were able to remove the flash blade and get it to mount in another system, you data would be unreadable since the entire disk is encrypted.

    I don't think you would notice much speed difference my turning it off. Here are some speed tests on Macs less powerful than yours.

    If you want you could just turn it off and after it unencrypts do some timed tests and see for yourself. It is just a button click to turn it off then on again later.
  9. pjny thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 18, 2010
    This was the reason I wanted to turn off encryption.

    I have it on on my Macbook Pro but trying to squeeze as much performance from slower Macbook 12 processor. I have to process 36 megapixel files using Capture One Pro 9 on deadline and any speed increase is welcome.

  10. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    Speed increase, perhaps. It made a noticeable difference on my fathers 2009 13" MBP (Core 2 Duo/4GB/120GB SSD), it was slower with it on and once the laptop was retired from mainstream business use to personal use and as such decrypted it was quite a bit faster. But I'd say it's darn near unnoticeable on any modern Mac with a newer CPU and flash storage like the new MacBook.

    And no you can't really remove the drive like you could with a standard SATA or PCIe drive, but you can boot it externally and access it that way. However if you enable the EFI firmware password you won't be able to boot it externally without a password. This is the method I use on my MBA and rMBP and it works fine. I don't really have sensitive info but if it's stolen they won't be able to easily reinstall OS X or login to anything.

    If it's for work and has sensitive info, I'd just leave it on. If you must eek out every last MB/s, it could be disabled. Though your bottleneck is probably going to be related to the Core-M more than the SSD.
  11. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I think this is really the issue. If speed is your priority, then a 15" MBP with 16+ RAM and a processor with higher performance parameters is probably going to be the most productive option.

    If portability is your priority, then you are probably better off accepting the limits of the MB and avoiding any intensive processor work on a deadline. My guess is that turning off FV, tweaking settings, etc. is going to be more trouble than it is worth, because this processor simply isn't optimized for that kind of work.
  12. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    Without FV2 or the firmware password, anyone can boot up your computer and log into your account (cnet link) using the password reset utility.
  13. SteveJUAE macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2015
    Land of Smiles
    Whilst your data maybe safe with FV for around $60 you can buy a firmware key as we found out in a recent thread, so little satisfaction in thinking a thief has to fork out for a new logic board :(

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