Encrypting Time Machine is Taking Forever!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by insimbi, May 14, 2019.

  1. insimbi macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2008
    Just got my new 2019 27-inch iMac and attached a new 4TB external drive for Time Machine. I selected the option to encrypt the hard drive and it's been going for 24 hours now and it's only at 6%. Is this normal? Holy smokes, this seems crazy. At this rate it's going to take two weeks!
  2. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    That’s normal. It takes a long time to encrypt 4TB.
  3. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    If your external drive is HDD, it is going to take a long time.
  4. insimbi thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2008
    Yep, it's not SSD - traditional HDD. Ok, just wanted to know if this was normal or not. Thank you!
  5. niji, May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019

    niji Contributor


    Feb 9, 2003
    it will absolutely take forever (almost...at least it will seem like it...meaning over 6 or 10 or 15 hours...) if you decide to start encryption on a drive that already was set up for Time Machine (even if it was just only set up a moment ago, without any backup so far to it).
    as opposed to, however: if you remove a hard disk that has been set up for Time Machine, remove it from being asscociated as a Time Machine drive, making sure to zero it all out, and then, during the process of setting it up as a new Time Machine disk (remembering to pre-select encryption), then it will only take a very few seconds or minutes.
    its always been this way.
    yr 4TB, if its as i mentioned above in the 1st paragraph, will definitely take over 1 day.
    give up.
    redo as i mentioned in 2nd paragraph.
  6. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    @ OP - Follow this (above post). I too made the mistake of letting Time Machine encrypt my external drive, took weeks (because I didn't leave my MBA on all the time). Do what @niji states - encrypt the drive during formatting, then assign it to Time Machine. So Disk Utility, format the disk as encrypted Mac OS Journaled, then assign it to Time Machine and check encrypted. It won't do anything as the disk is already encrypted.
  7. insimbi thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2008
    How do I go about stopping the encryption now then? I don't see a way to do it.

    Never mind - got it! Thanks guys! This will save a TON of time :)
  8. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    You only have to do it once. Be patient. Or decide it’s not worth it.

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7 May 14, 2019