I have a new MacBook Pro 2018 model. It is using APFS but I have not enabled File Vault.

I'm backing up to a Synology NAS, just but when I run my backups, I get the message:

Time Machine is backing up an encrypted disk to an unencrypted disk

Multiple forum posts suggest that this message shows if you are using File Value and backing up to a non-encrypted drive, which I'm not doing.

I'm running macOS Mojave.

Why do I keep seeing this message and how can I stop it from appearing, as well as be sure I have good backups?

  • 1
    I'm seeing the exact same problem. Backing up my new unencrypted non-FileVaulted Mac mini (2018) to either a Synology NAS or an external USB drive, it tells me "Backup Not Encrypted - Time Machine is backing up an encrypted disk to an unencrypted disk." I suspect the message is just a Mojave bug. Nov 23, 2018 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


2018 Macs have Apple's T2 chip, which acts as the disk controller for the flash storage on the logic board. The data is encrypted, regardless of whether you've turned on FileVault. So, technically, the message is correct.


Data on the built-in, solid-state drive (SSD) is encrypted using a hardware-accelerated AES engine built into the T2 chip. This encryption is performed with 256-bit keys tied to a unique identifier within the T2 chip.

That having been said, I have a 2018 Mac Mini running Mojave and I don't get this error message, using a Seagate 4TB external drive directly connected to the Mac via USB. FileVault is off. There may be some other factor involved in getting the error message (which could still be erroneous).

How can I be sure I have have good backups?

Check if you can browse through the Time Machine interface and see the expected date ranges of backups, and try to restore a variety of files (as copies!).

  • That's nice to know about the T2 chip. Makes FileVault seem redundant. Jun 5, 2020 at 17:20
  • How do you backup your Mac then!?
    – brown1001
    Jul 29, 2020 at 16:13
  • Apple's explanation in the link you provided is pretty weak, IMHO. What's not made clear is whether or not File Vault must be enabled to successfully restore from a Time Machine backup. Do you know if it is?
    – Seamus
    Sep 5, 2020 at 6:21

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