I have a Mac and a user account with admin privileges. Someone else created another apfs volume (not startup drive) encrypted with FileVault. I do not know the recovery key. As an admin, how can I obtain this key?

  • You don't. That's the entire point of encryption. – Tetsujin Apr 10 at 18:46
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    Who is "somebody else"? – IconDaemon Apr 10 at 18:54
  • A standard user I believe, unless he/she figured out the admin password. Is there no admin override? – Ansel Chang Apr 10 at 19:08
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    This is a school environment actually - I can't provide too much info due to privacy concerns. It is an internal drive. The user who created this was not supposed to - administration discovered it, and we do not know the contents. Thus, we are trying to decrypt it to shed more light on the situation. – Ansel Chang Apr 10 at 20:45
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    @AnselChang Understood. Depending on the student school computer use policy, all computer use could be explicitly monitored. This means administrators could monitor on-screen activity and even log keystrokes, which could give you the password for the encrypted partition. This is completely up to policy and administration if they wanted to pursue this, provided the user in question doesn't know that the partition has been found. – drivec Apr 10 at 22:30

For non-startup drives, the disk is encrypted with a single password and is not linked to a user account or iCloud, nor does it generate a backup key. Admin users are required to enter the same encryption password as any other user.

The best suggestion would be to ask the other person to unlock the drive or give you the drive password, which they may or may not be inclined to do.

  • Thank you for the answer. Then I presume there’s not much I can do. – Ansel Chang Apr 10 at 19:08
  • @AnselChang I've added a handful of questions in the comments of your question to see if I can clarify things. With the information I have right now, there's not much you can do besides asking the person who encrypted it to decrypt it or taking guesses on the password (which shouldn't lock you out for too many guesses, but proceed at your own risk). – drivec Apr 10 at 19:17

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