Encrypting data stored on your devices is critical to protecting the confidentiality and privacy of your data. In the event that your device is lost or stolen, encryption secures your data by making it extremely difficult for any unauthorized user to gain access to your files without knowing your passcode or password.

The following operating systems have data encryption built in: all you need to do is enable them. Please refer to the instructions below. This information is for your personal device only. For encryption on a university-owned device, please contact the Technology Service Desk at 253.879.8585 or servicedesk@pugetsound.edu.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you choose to encrypt your data, it is of utmost importance that you remember your passcode/password and, if applicable, save your recovery key in a safe place. If you forget your password and lose your recovery key, it is highly unlikely that your data will be recoverable. The device will need to be reset to factory settings which will erase all existing data.

Depending on how much data is stored on your device, the process can take a couple hours. It is best to encrypt your device when you will not be actively using it. Before you begin, make sure to plug in your device to power.


Depending on your version of Windows (7/8/10 or S/Home/Pro/Education/Enterprise) and the hardware specifications of your computer, Windows built-in encryption options may not be available. Third-party encryption software options exist.

  1. Click the Start menu and select Settings.
  2. Navigate to Update & Security > Device Encryption.
  3. Click Turn on.

More information from Microsoft: how to turn on device encryption or BitLocker encryption.

Mac OS 

  1. Go to System Preferences then click Security & Privacy.
  2. Click on the FileVault tab.
  3. Click the padlock icon in the lower-left corner and enter an adminstrator username and password.
  4. Click Turn On FileVault.

More information from Apple: use FileVault to encrypt the startup disk.

Chrome OS

Storage on Chromebooks is encrypted by default. Make sure to use a strong passphrase!

More information from Google: Chromebook security.


Depending on your version of Android, the navigation may be slightly different.

  1. Navigate to the setting.
    1. Android 5.0 or higher: Tap Settings  > Personal  > Security.
    2. Android 4.4 or below: Tap Settings  > Security > Screen Lock. If prompted, create a PIN, password, or pattern for authentication.
  2. Tap the option to Encrypt phone or Encrypt tablet.
  3. Follow the prompts.


  1. Navigate to the setting.
    1. iPhone X or higher: Tap Settings  > Face ID & Passcode.
    2. iPhone 8 or below: Tap Settings  > Touch ID & Passcode.
  2. Tap Turn Passcode On.
  3. Follow the prompts.

More information from Apple: use a passcode with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.