How to find your FileVault recovery key in macOS

The FileVault option in macOS is a fantastic way to enhance the security of your data at rest. It’s full-disk encryption (FDE), meaning that your entire startup volume is locked away when macOS is shut down (not just sleeping) using strong encryption. Without the password that unlocks an account on your Mac that’s authorized to log in with FileVault, there’s no effective way to bring that computer to life.

That’s a problem, however, if you forget the password to all the authorized account or, in some cases I’ve received a few emails about, something goes wrong and the Recovery Disk—used both for “cold start” logins to macOS and to diagnose problems on your startup volume—demands a login that doesn’t work.

In those cases, the recovery key set at the time you turned on FileVault on your Mac can do the trick. But if enough time has passed, you might have forgotten where you stashed the key or how to retrieve it. Macworld reader Elaina falls into that camp. She can’t find the key, and she remembers using the iCloud option to store it, but has examined iCloud Drive and can’t find it. She hasn’t yet been in a situation where she needs it, but she’s concerned that you could wind up locked out and not be able to obtain the recovery key.

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How to recover an iCloud account when a factor for two-factor authentication goes missing

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is highly recommend with your Apple ID, especially for iCloud or iTunes and App Store purchases, there’s one drawback: you need access to a second factor, or you might wind up losing everything associated with your account.

Normally, this shouldn’t be a problem. The second factor for Apple’s system is always at least one Mac or one iOS device plus a phone number (one that receives either text messages or voice calls, so a landline is an option). It would seem an unlikely scenario in which you lost all of that at once.

You can also add other phone numbers as backups, which is what my wife and I have done with each other’s cell numbers. Even if we lost access to our devices and our own numbers, we could still log in. (Telephone numbers can be reassigned, and hackers sometimes socially engineer or otherwise shift them for identity theft or worse purposes.)

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iOS

How to fix autocorrect in iOS

You’re tapping along on your iPhone or iPad, and suddenly an ordinary letter or word gets replaced by something bizarre. We’re all used to autocorrect picking up weird expansions, which happens partly because Apple has introduced machine learning into how it predicts what you might intend to type.

However, you might also be the victim of a prank, and if you have children or people with child-like humor around you, you probably know who did it, too. A Macworld reader whose identity I shall wisely keep secret in order to spare them further embarrassment, wrote in with this question:

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What to do when Image Capture doesn’t see your iPhone and iPad

Many Mac users rely on the Image Capture app to transfer photos and videos from directly-connected cameras, memory cards, iPhones, and iPads. It’s an alternative to Photos (or iPhoto) if you’re not using iTunes for syncing, manually importing, or using iCloud Photo Library.

But sometimes you may plug in your iOS device and Image Capture fails to show it listed in the left bar that shows devices from which it can acquire media. This appears to happen due to a trust issue. MacOS has been gradually upping how it closes a verification loop between an iPhone or iPad and software on a Mac when you connect the iOS device via USB. That’s good for security—someone might be able to grab your device, plug it in, and rifle through data and media.

This sometimes leads to macOS or your iOS device losing trust in each other. I’m not sure why it happens, but at some unknown interval, you may have to affirm your trust again. If you can’t see your iOS device in Image Capture, follow these steps:

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The trouble with Desktop and Documents enabled for iCloud Drive

MacOS 10.12 Sierra introduced a feature that lets you sync your Mac's Desktop and Documents folder to iCloud Drive. The upside of this is that if you’re not employing any other backup method, all of these files are synced to your iCloud account, and can be available on iOS devices and other Macs.

But the downside is that the feature also automatically deletes local copies of files in these locations if they’re in active use, showing an iCloud download icon on those items, and letting you download them on demand when you do need them. As Apple notes in a support document explaining how to free up storage space:

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How to read legacy FileVault formats on your Mac

All good things must come to an end, we’re told, and macOS 10.13 was the very end of the original FileVault, Apple's file encryption format introduced in OS X Panther 10.3. With the original FileVault, a Mac encrypted a user’s home directory and mounted it as a disk image, more or less. When OS X Lion 10.7.4 appeared, it offered FileVault 2, full disk encryption (FDE), which protects your entire drive by using a special startup procedure at boot time that lets you log in to unlock it. It’s much better than the original directory method, but it required faster Macs to work efficiently enough.

But what about people who, like Macworld reader Alex, had legacy FileVault directories still installed? For many releases, you could use the Security & Privacy system preference pane: click on FileVault and click Turn Off Legacy FileVault. But starting in macOS 10.13 High Sierra, legacy FileVaults no longer work.

The High Sierra installer shouldn’t have let you upgrade if a legacy FileVault remained in place, since it would be unusable. (There was a bug during the beta period that required people with the Sonos app from macOS in order to bypass an error in installation that said a legacy FileVault was installed.)

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Apple Photos for Mac: How to export a Photos album’s contents sequentially

Apple's Photos app on the Mac has a lot of hidden features that you can’t easily discover, because the options don’t live quite where you expect them—especially if you used iPhoto for many years, and still feel like you’re missing features.

Macworld reader Lisa created a Photos album from different camera sources, and dragged the images into the order she wanted. But she then wanted to export these to duplicate this order for creating an album and an archive elsewhere, and was stymied. Is there a way to mark images in sequence?

There is: in the Export dialog.

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