When doesn't FileVault encrypt a file?

SeeNewWarnings

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 25, 2013
1
0
If I were to copy a file, say a pdf, to a flash drive and
want to open it on a pc or something at a printing shop
(like FedEx or Staples), would it be readable there?

Or if I send one in email to somebody, could they read it?

It would seem that these cases would not be a good time
to have FileVault encrypting the files....unless of course
you backup to a flash drive and don't want the files readable
to others if lost or stolen. So I would almost expect that
copying files to removable memory devices would result
in a prompt asking whether they should be encrypted.
But I haven't seen that just now....

Thank you.
 

ideal.dreams

macrumors 68020
Jul 19, 2010
2,305
827
Ohio
The drive is not encrypted while you're using it. All data becomes accessible when you log in to your user account. If your computer were to be stolen with the account logged in, the thief could still access all data. It's only encrypted when the computer is shut off.

That's why files aren't encrypted when you copy them to removable storage.
 

benwiggy

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2012
2,186
15
So I would almost expect that
copying files to removable memory devices would result
in a prompt asking whether they should be encrypted.
But I haven't seen that just now....
FileVault doesn't encrypt FILES -- it encrypts your entire system disk.

Moving a file from a FV volume onto a non-FV volume will give you a non-encrypted file. Sending someone an email attachment does not send them an encrypted copy.
 

old-wiz

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2008
8,320
221
West Suburban Boston Ma
The drive is not encrypted while you're using it. All data becomes accessible when you log in to your user account. If your computer were to be stolen with the account logged in, the thief could still access all data. It's only encrypted when the computer is shut off.

That's why files aren't encrypted when you copy them to removable storage.
The drive itself is still encrypted. Decryption happens when you access the drive. If you are still logged in then the thief can access the data. If you log out then the thief cannot get your data.

Encrypting takes a lot of time and is not done when you shut on/off.