MacOS computers offer several ways to encrypt disk drives. With Macs with a built-in T2 chip, the startup volume is always encrypted. On other Macs, enabling FileVault allows you to encrypt this volume.
In fact, on all Macs, FileVault also provides additional protection for a Mac even when the Mac is turned off. You can also select a drive in the Finder, Control-click it, and choose Encrypt “drive name”, setting a password of your choice.
If you forget this password or buy or get an encrypted drive as a gift, you might think you are in a bind. However, this is not the case, as long as you do not need to recover the data stored on the drive.
If you just want to remove it, Disk Utility will force you to do the following:
- Launch “Applications> Utilities> Disk Utility”.
- Select the volume or unit from the sidebar. (See sidebar notes below.)
- Click on “Remove”.
- Choose the format, if you need to change it, click on “Remove” and follow the instructions.
The newly formatted drive will now be available and will have no password blocking access.
As for the sidebar: If you don’t see the sidebar in “Disk Utility”, choose “View> Show Sidebar”. The sidebar also shows only the default logical volumes, or segments of a drive that are mounted in Finder as single items.
To view additional drives and containers from your Mac, you need to choose “View> Show All Devices”. This can help you make sure you’re erasing the correct volume by being able to contemplate each of them.
If you want to know how to free up storage space on your drive, see the article on how to remove ‘Others’ from storage on Mac.