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Without the key, which is uncrackable in any realistic period of time by any current technology, the erased data is as good as gone as if it had been written over millions of times. You can then install OS X on that partition, either from the recovery system or via an external drive.

Reader Peter wondered how FileVault figures in to cloning a disk. Andrew Robertson writes that when he upgraded to Yosemite, his recovery drive remained out of date with You can reinstall This should upgrade the recovery partition. To recover a key , first start up OS X normally, and enter the wrong password three times.

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This is also how to use iCloud password recovery on non-FileVault systems. Email us at mac macworld.

What Wiping Does

Amazon is selling some iPad Pro models for the lowest prices ever. From the available options that Disk Utility provides, Security Option 1 is, of course, the least secure. Someone will be able to recover your data without much effort. Security Option 4 is the most secure, but it is also widely believed to be a waste of time and electricity. Personally, I always go with option 2, but if you want to feel more confident your data is securely erased, or if you must comply with company rules, use option 3 or 4.

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This works for any hard drive, internal or external. Just be aware that if you want to properly erase the hard drive that is also your startup drive, you will have to start your Mac from an external media first. An external hard drive or thumb drive will do. For help creating a bootable external drive, have a look at Apple's page here , or use a popular tool such as DiskMaker X. As you can imagine, having an external bootable drive or installer drive can come in handy.

Is 7 pass erase secure enough? - Internal Hardware

Some people say that the standard erasing of an SSD makes data recovery hard enough for it to be "secure. Technology such as wear leveling , which tries to ensure each memory block on an SSD is used the same amount of times, can really mess with a secure erase. By using FileVault to encrypt the drive startup drive and Disk Utility to encrypt external drives, all the data on the drive will be garbled, unless someone has the encryption key your password.

Now, when it comes time to part with your drive, all you have to do is a basic erase in Disk Utility. This will delete your encryption key, leaving nothing but garbled data on the drive.

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Without a way to decrypt the garble, even if all of it is recovered, it will be useless. Of course, you can apply this to hard drives as well, but as those have actual secure erase options available, it's better to use those. Disk density is also a factor.

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As hard disks have gotten bigger, more data has become packed into smaller and smaller areas, making theoretical data recovery essentially impossible:. In fact, there have been no reported case of anyone using a magnetic force microscope to recover overwritten data. The attack remains theoretical and confined to older hard disk technology.

Image Credit: U. Army Environmental Command on Flickr.

Disk Utility erases, formats, repairs, and partition hard drives and SSDs

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