Secure erase mac os x




With the volume you wish to erase selected, click on the Erase button in the Disk Utility toolbar, or select Erase from the Edit menu. The erase sheet will change to display a progress bar. When the erase has finished, click the Done button. But before you make use of the Security Options, make sure the volume being erased is part of a hard drive and not a fusion drive or an SSD. The Erase Security Options feature lets you pick the number of write passes that are made on the selected volume.

If the volume you wish to erase is part of a hard drive, follow the steps outlined in Erasing a Volume: The Basics, above, until the erase sheet is shown. At this point, click the Security Options button. The Security Options sheet will be displayed, showing a slider you can use to select one of four methods to erase the selected drive. The Fastest method is the same as the standard erase, and performs no special function to ensure any level of security.

Picking this option will result in the volume being erased, but data can be recovered with basic data recovery apps.

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Disk Utility for macOS Sierra: Erase a volume using Disk Utility

Moving the slider one click towards the right will produce the first secure erase, which writes a pass of random data followed by a pass of all zeros across the selected volume. This two-pass write method will keep most individuals with prying eyes using conventional data recovery techniques from being able to access your old information. The next security option produces a DOE-compliant three-pass secure erase.


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It uses two passes of random data followed by a third pass using a predefined data pattern. Using this method should secure your old data against most individuals, businesses, and governments not willing to spend excess money or time to uncover your data.

The last and most secure option is a seven-pass erasure that meets DOD M standards for a secure wipe of magnetic media. As you advance the slider to more secure options, you also substantially increase the time it takes to perform the erase. Make sure you really need this level of security before proceeding. By their physical nature, SSDs are inherently secure after a basic erase process.

The reason for this has to do with the internal architecture, logical to physical cell mapping, and wear leveling. Once the logical to physical map is removed, which occurs during a standard erase, accessing the internal data would just produce a hodge-podge of data that would be nearly impossible to decipher. Erasing a volume by changing the format to include encryption, followed up by a second standard erase, will create a nicely sanitized volume with little chance of data recovery.


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A better and much faster method to produce a sanitized SSD volume is to encrypt the data on the drive, and then erase it, removing the stored encryption key along with everything else. Discover more about setting up and using encryption in the Rocket Yard Guide: Data Privacy Day: Simply follow the steps in Erase a Volume: This space sharing has a number of advantages, letting your volumes grow and shrink automatically as needed.

But it could also have a security disadvantage.


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  • The shared space area of a container could hold old file data, even though the volume that originally contained the information was deleted. In the case of an SSD, the logical to physical map detailing the location of any old file was removed when the volume was deleted.

    How to Secure Erase a Solid State Disk (SSD) on a Mac

    And if the volume was using encryption, the encryption key was lost when the volume was removed. Even so, some of you will want to be doubly, or even triply, sure, and erase the container when a volume is also deleted. This process is only valid when a container houses multiple volumes and the physical drive contains multiple containers. A sheet will drop down, asking if you wish to partition or add a volume.

    Disk Utility for macOS Sierra: Erase a volume using Disk Utility

    Click the Partition button. A pie chart will appear, displaying any container or partitions on the physical drive. Make sure the container you wish to remove is selected in the pie chart. Click the minus - button to have all volumes housed within the container, as well as the container itself, removed. The pie chart will be updated to show the outcome. This should—if the controller designers did their jobs—truly erase all blocks, and also have the side-effect of resetting the logical page map, essentially defragmenting it and restoring its original performance.

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    Unfortunately, most of the utilities I've seen for doing this e. It might also be possible to use Parted Magic from a bootable flash drive. Researchers at the Non-Volatile Systems Lab at UCSD have tested various ways of sanitizing SSDs by "erasing" the drive, then disassembling it to bypass the controller, and checking for remnant data you can read the summary or the full paper.

    Their results mostly agree with what I've said above, and also show that the built-in secure-erase command isn't always implemented properly:. Our results lead to three conclusions: First, built-in commands are effective, but manufacturers sometimes implement them incorrectly. Second, overwriting the entire visible address space of an SSD twice is usually, but not always, sufficient to sanitize the drive. Third, none of the existing hard drive-oriented techniques for individual file sanitization are effective on SSDs. So there you have it; overwriting the entire drive twice is probably secure enough for most people, but absolute security may require some extra effort.

    There are more answers where that came from. Check them out or leave your own at the original post. Find more questions like it at Ask Different , a question and answer community for Apple enthusiasts and power users. And if you've got your own question that requires a solution, ask. You'll get an answer. And it's free. Photo by Yutaka Tsutano. The A. Filed to: Share This Story.

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