Unlocking Encrypted Time Machine on Command Line

by Scott Saad - December 20, 2013

The auto generated password I chose for locking my encrypted time machine was not being accepted by the graphical interface when I needed to unlock it. Knowing that I was typing it in correctly, I decided it was some special character that the GUI was freaking on. Therefore I looked for ways to do it on the command line in hopes of this providing some resolution. It did.

In order to do this I first had to find the volume’s UUID.

diskutil cs list

From the output, the UUID is the massive key on a line that looks like:


Note that it’s not the Logical Volume Group or the Physical Volume or the Logical Volume Family. It’s simply the Logical Volume.

From here you can copy the UUID and run the following command:

diskutil cs unlockVolume XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX -passphrase myS00P3RHAXT0RPr0ofp@55Word

This should unlock the volume and Time Machine should start running and backing up again. Notice that if you have some special characters in your password that you’ll need to surround the password with quotes.

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