It seems that after disabling Filevault 1 in OS X Lion, there no longer is an option to choose between Filevault 1 and Filevault 2 functionality.

I actually prefer Filevault 1 over Filevault 2, since it does not interfere with my theft protection software and allows me to use a guest account.

Is there a way to enable Filevault 1 again?

3 Answers 3


Even if the creation tools are gone or hidden very well from us, you point out Lion is happy to keep running a user that has been migrated in so you can take advantage of that to get what you had back again.

Lion makes it several steps with some minor "complications" - but you should be able to Migrate another user shell in and move your current data into that older style account.

  1. It's slightly tricky to juggle the users - you'll want a backup and need to set up a second admin account to do the move. You'll delete the user, but not the files and import the old user (clear the old data) and finally move the new data into place using the old storage mechanism.
  2. You'll need one of
    • a running Snow Leopard system or boot disk (to make and then migrate a FileVault 1 user)
    • a backup of the system from Snow Leopard days (even if the user data is wrong - you just need the account settings and shell sparse bundle to migrate in again)

I keep an external USB drive with 15G partitions around with the last OS but no real user data. You could install Snow Leopard onto an external disk or partition and make shell user with FileVault 1 enabled or you could use any backup from your Snow Leopard time to move in another copy of your user with FV1 - and simply move the current contents into the old encrypted sparse bundle storage.

Let's start a new question if you want advice HOW to actually do this (since it will depend on your specifics) - this question stands well just with the simple fact that the built in tool to do this isn't available on Lion.

  • 2
    Voted up. However: Snow Leopard is not required, a FileVault 1 home can be created with Lion alone. Details to be posted if/when the question arises. Aug 26, 2011 at 9:00

Actually it is possible. I did it using a Time Machine backup, but I think it's possible starting from a freshly created user home dir.

In brief: you must create a sparsebundle, move the home dir in and enable it as the user home directory at login.

This involves using command line and an administrator account to change the home directory.

  • I'm hoping @grahamPerrin steps in with the commands to make the sparse bundle.
    – bmike
    Aug 28, 2011 at 22:31
  • hey, check this: lab.maiux.com/os-x/…, only in italian for now Aug 30, 2011 at 12:30

There is not. FileVault 2 whole-disk encryption has replaced FileVault 1 in 10.7 - you won't be able to choose when turning it in. A user account using FileVault 1 encryption will continue to be able to do so. If it's turned off, however, there's no way to re-enable it.

  • 2
    Still, after upgrading to Lion, there is the ability to keep using Filevault 1, which implies that support for it is builtin the OS. I highly doubt there is no way at all to reach it. Aug 19, 2011 at 14:32
  • Yeah, it will hang on to the old encrypted home directories, but won't allow you to encrypt new ones. For clarification, I'm not aware of a way to enable the original Filevault home folder encryption under Lion.
    – Gauzy
    Aug 19, 2011 at 14:54
  • @Gauzy: "it will hang on to the old encrypted home directories". Do you have a link for that? Because I have encrypted homes and that is the main reason for me not to upgrade (I read somewhere that I'd have to give that up).
    – Thilo
    Aug 22, 2011 at 2:37
  • 2
    @Thilo this kbase article has the relevant information. The last paragraph before the "Additional Information" sections reads "You may continue to use OS X Lion with Legacy FileVault, but you cannot enable Legacy FileVault for other user accounts in OS X Lion. If you turn off Legacy FileVault, the Legacy FileVault tab will disappear and you can then choose to enable OS X Lion's FileVault 2 (disk encryption)."
    – Gauzy
    Aug 22, 2011 at 3:23
  • Contrary to part of at least one article recently published by Apple, Versions 1 and 2 of FileVault can work together in harmony, without conflict. Yesterday for example I disabled FileVault 2 on a computer that also used FileVault 1, the computer continues to use FileVault 1. Whilst System Preferences in Lion are without the interface for creation of (or conversion to) a FileVault 1 home, it is possible. Please see the answer from bmike. Aug 26, 2011 at 8:57

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