How to View External Drive Encryption Progress in OS X

We all know you should have a rigorous backup system in place for your Macs, which may well include cloning your data to an encrypted external hard drive.

But, while encrypting an external drive in OS X has been a fairly simple process since Mountain Lion, unfortunately there’s no easy way to show the progress status of the encryption. Given that large drives can take days to encrypt, this can be incredibly frustrating.

Having searched around for solution I found this excellent tip from StackExchange, which uses the Terminal to display the encryption status.

If like me, you are wary of using the Terminal, fear not, this is a relatively simple process that can’t break anything on your system.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to encrypting an external hard drive on OS X Yosemite (also Mavericks and Mountain Lion):
  1. Ctrl-click (or right click) on the icon of the drive you wish to encrypt.

  2. Select ‘Encrypt “nameofdrive”…’ from the list.

  3. Choose a password (and reminder if you require). The drive will start encrypting.

  4. To view progress, open up the Terminal (in Applications/Utilities) and enter the following: diskutil cs list This will list all your drives – simply look for the one that says ‘Conversion Status: Converting’ and view its progress in the details listed underneath.