I have a USB 3 external hard drive that I use for video media, it's HFS Journaled Encrypted. I have about 1 TB of data on it, but I no longer need it encrypted because I need the faster speed.

Is is possible to remove the encryption on the drive while still retaining all the data?

  • Info I found online suggests that decrypting an external drive will result in erasing all of the contents. You probably ought to back up the drive before proceeding, and then restore the files when done. Jun 15 '17 at 15:38
  • → @SteveChambers: This function couldn't be named "decrypting" :(.
    – dan
    Jun 16 '17 at 15:22

Yes it is possible to decrypt a disk. This option is directly accessible from the Finder popup menu.

Simply make a ⌃ ctrlclic on the disk icon on the Desktop:

Finder disk menu

and select the entry starting with Decrypt…. Then enter the encryption key (or password as you prefer to name it) and confirm.

This function will of course take care of conserving all the data by performing it step by step (because you never have half of a disk free to use for this operation).

Take care the alimentation and the connection cable to your disk are protected against any break during this operation which may take a few hours.

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