I have just turned on FileFault on macOS High Sierra with option "Allow my iCloud account to unlock my disk." While encryption is running, macOS informs me that "A recovery key has been set".

Is it correct to assume that with this option set macOS handles the recovery key internally (and securely) and that there in no need (even no way) for me to recover it for writing it down?

  • Is your Mac managed by an institution like a company or a university?
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 5:48
  • @MikeScott No it is not. Why are you asking?
    – Drux
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 6:18
  • I’m asking because a corporate sysadmin can set a corporate recovery key for all of the Macs that they manage. But you say that’s not the case here.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 6:25
  • @MikeScott I see and no, that's not the case here.
    – Drux
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 19:18

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is correct to assume that macOS handles the recovery key internally and securely. There's no need for you to write something down.

In case you need to do recovery because you have forgotten your login password, you can use your iCloud account to unlock FileVault. Just make sure you can remember your iCloud login details!

When you choose to use iCloud as your recovery mechanism, the settings will still show that a recovery key has been setup - so that's perfectly normal! There's no option in the settings to display the recovery key to you.


I had the same question myself and after some searching found the answer below from How to check for and remove FileVault2 iCloud recovery key.

Since others might reach this question in the way I did, I've given an answer even though the OP asked years ago.

Running the following command will show you if there is a recovery key in iCloud or not.

sudo fdesetup list -verbose -extended

You'll get an output like this:

fdesetup: device path = /
ESCROW  UUID                                 TYPE     USER
        XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXX  iCloud   Recovery Record

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