Mac OS Extended Journaled VS Encrypted title Image

When you’re looking for the difference. Between Mac OS Extended Journaled and Mac OS Extended Encrypted.

Or perhaps you used Mac OS Extended Journaled Encrypted and wonder why you can’t find it now in Disk Utility.

Read on and find out the difference between the two options.

And what to pick now with the latest Mac OS’s Big Sur and Monterey.

Mac OS Extended Journaled VS Encrypted

Mac OS Extended Journaled is not an encrypted file system format.

If your drive is stolen your files can be seen.

Versus Mac OS Extended Journaled Encrypted, your files are secured by a password.

Without the password casual or malicious viewers are unable to view your data. Encryption makes the drive unreadable without the right password.

Mac OS Extended Encrypted is an optional version of the Mac OS Extended Journaled file system.

Note that Mac OS Extended Journaled Encrypted is no longer an option since Mac OS High Sierra (10.3).

At A Glance Mac OS Extended Journaled Vs Encrypted

Mac OS ExtendedEncrypted
Optimized For HDDYesYes
Optimized For SSD’sNoNo
Drive Secured By PasswordNoYes
Older Mac SupportYesYes

Why Would You Pick Mac OS Extended Instead of Mac OS Extended Encrypted?

Why you’d pick Mac OS Extended. Also known as HFS+ (HFS Plus). It depends on what level of file security you need as a Mac user.

If the security of your files is important to you, because you take your external drive with you.

And you dare not risk having some thief looking at your files. Or a random person sneaking a peak at your sensitive data.

Then encryption is a way of protecting your files. Encryption secures your files with a password of your choice. And access to your files is only though using that password.

If you only use your Mac computer and its drives at your home. Or in your office. So, largely your Mac is physically secure. Or your Mac files aren’t particularly sensitive.

Then the standard version of Mac OS Extended (Journaled) would be fine for you.

Understand that the encryption password on your external drive is an extra password.

You would input that password. And do that each and every time you connect your external Mac OS Extended encrypted drive onto your Mac.

On the Mac OS versions that no longer have the Extended Journaled Encrypted option available. Like Mac OS Big Sur, or Monterey. Then APFS (Apple File System) Encrypted is the option to pick.

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Your External Hard Drive Or SSD As Mac OS Extended Or Encrypted

Mac OS Extended Journaled was created at a time when mechanical drives were the only option you had for an internal drive. Or for that matter an external drive on a Mac.

This type of drive is also referred to as a hard drive or hard disk. Because mechanical drives have moving parts inside.

And means that Mac OS Extended is optimized for, and made for hard drives.

Mac OS Extended Journaled has that name because it’s a journaled file system. And keeps track of changes made to the file system. That journaling keeps your files safer.

Although not optimized for an SSD. Mac OS Extended will run just fine on an SSD (Solid State Drive).

Plus, Mac OS Extended is the file system format to pick for backwards compatibility with earlier Mac OS X releases. Like Mac OS X Sierra (10.12) or earlier.

For an old Mac with a hard drive inside, running earlier operating system releases. Mac OS Extended is the only choice.

For a newer Mac running High Sierra (10.13) Mac OS Extended encrypted is no longer available.  It doesn’t matter if you have an external hard drive or SSD. APFS Encrypted is your option for an encrypted drive secured by a password.

Click Here To Find Out Which Is The Best Format For A Mac External Hard Drive

Mac OS Extended Or Mac OS Extended Encrypted For Time Machine

When you’re concerned about securing your Time Machine backup.

There’s no need to format your external drive as encrypted Mac OS Extended.

Use Disk Utility to format your external drive as Mac OS X Extended.

Then simply check mark the box to encrypt your backup. Do that when setting up your external drive in Time Machine.

On a modern Mac computer running Mac OS High Sierra or later. Like Big Sur or Monterey.

Putting a check in the box to encrypt. And your external USB drive is then changed to an encrypted APFS format. And you’re asked to set up a password for your encrypted drive.

You’ll then need to enter that password to access the external drive. And this means you’ll need the password each time you backup up to. Or restore from the drive.

Encrypt and your backup is secured from prying eyes.

Disk Drive Icon

A Bit Of Background On Mac OS Extended And Mac OS Extended Encrypted

Both Mac OS Extended Journaled (HFS+). nd Mac OS Extended Journaled encrypted are at their core the same file system. 

Brought to the market by Apple Inc. and released in 1998. Mac OS Extended was made for a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) – also known as a mechanical drive.

Mac OS Extended has been the default file system format on a Mac from 1998. Right the way up to Mac OS Sierra for a Mac’s internal drives.

And of course the Mac OS Extended file system format. And the Encrypted version was the default files system on external drives till then.

Mac OS Extended Journaled is still extensively used on modern Macs.

And you can format an external drive in that file format with Disk Utility.

Apple Inc. has had. And improved on its encryption over many years from the original file system format. – Mac OS Extended Journaled (HFS+).

Modern Macs running Mac OS Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur and Monterey have internal SSD drives installed. And those Mac drives run an APFS format on their internal drives.

Click Here To Learn How To Format Your External Hard Drive With Disk Utility For Mac

Mac OS Extended Or Mac OS Extended Encrypted On A Mac Running Sierra Or Earlier.

For those Macs running Sierra (10.2) or earlier. Your Mac’s operating system allows you to pick the non encrypted version. Or the encrypted version of the Mac OS Extended Journaled file system format.

You can freely pick which file format you want, depending on the level of file security you need.

Using Mac OS Extended Encrypted Vs Mac OS Extended On A Mac Running High Sierra Or Later

Mac OS Extended Journaled Encrypted file system is not an available option on a Mac running Mac OS High Sierra (10.13).

Apple Inc. removed that option from Disk Utility.

It’s no longer an option in Mac OS Mojave, Catalina, Big Sur or Monterey.

If you need the extra security for your files that encryption offers. Your only option for an encrypted external drive is to pick APFS Encrypted in Disk Utility.

But if you don’t need encryption. You’ll find Mac OS Extended Journaled there as a file system format you can pick in Disk Utility.

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Mac OS Extended VS Mac OS Extended Encrypted FAQ

Mac OS Extended (Journaled Encrypted) Not Available Big Sur

Apple removed the encrypted file system format option from Disk Utility in Mac OS High Sierra 10.13.

This means all later releases of the Mac operating system. Including Big Sur and Monterey no longer have that option. For an encrypted Mac format protected by a password APFS Encrypted is your only option.

For encryption on Big Sur or Monterey pick APFS encrypted.

Should I Use Mac OS Extended Or Mac OS Extended Encrypted?

It’s your choice as a Mac user. If you need to secure your files because they are sensitive. Commercially sensitive or contain private data. Then Mac OS Extended encrypted gives you that security.

If you’ve a need to secure your data, you should then pick the encrypted version of Mac OS Extended. This option is available if your Mac is running Sierra or earlier.

Or pick APFS drive encryption if your Mac is running High Sierra 10.13 or a later version of Mac OS.

Is Mac OS Extended Journaled Encrypted?

No, as standard Mac OS Extended is not encrypted. There is no extra password set to secure your files. And if your external drive is plugged into another Mac. Your files can be freely viewed on that Mac with normal Mac OS Extended.

In Closing

We hope this blog post helped you understand the differences between Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and Mac OS Extended Encrypted.

And now you know more. You can decide which to pick when you format your external drive.

While you’re here please feel free to check out our other articles on the site. You’ll find some around the format options you can pick for your Mac drive.

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