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Encryption Blog

Do Not Encrypt the Latest Generation of MacBook Air Notebooks and Mac Mini Desktops

Created: 15 Oct 2011 • Updated: 05 Nov 2012
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Apple released a new generation of MacBook Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops in mid-2011.  These latest releases of MacBook Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops have a known issue with Symantec PGP Whole Disk Encryption. Symantec Engineering has isolated this issue down to specifically the latest version of Mac Book Air notebooks 4.2 with the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and the mid 2011 versions of the Mac mini desktops 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 with the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

We have successfully tested and verified that PGP Whole Disk Encryption 10.2MP1 works with all MacBook Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops and the Lion OS X operating system prior to the latest releases of these MacBook Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops.

An easy way to distinguish the latest generation of Mac Book Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops are to look for the presence of a Thunderbolt port.

Or, you can check Apple’s website to identify which generation of hardware you may have:  MacBook Air and Mac mini

If your system is the latest generation, DO NOT encrypt your MacBook Air or Mac mini at this point in time.  

If you have encrypted your latest generation Mac Book Air or Mac mini, then during reboot, the system will not boot.  What we believe has happened is that the firmware in this latest version of MacBook Air notebooks and Mac mini desktops are causing a runtime compatibility issue. 

If you have already encrypted, the encrypted data is NOT lost.  You can recover the data simply by decrypting the disk.  This can be done by booting from a PGP recovery CD.

Symantec Engineering is actively working on this issue and expects to have a solution soon.   Please check back to this blog for updates as they become available.

For more technical information, please see this KnowledgeBase article:  http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH149559

UPDATE October 26, 2011 @ 11:10AM PST
I have just been informed that the fix for the latest generation of MacBook Air and Mac mini desktops has been released.  PGP Desktop 10.2 MP2 addresses this issue.   For more technical information, please see this KnowledgeBase article:  http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH171894. PGP Desktop 10.2 MP2 can be downloaded from your account via File Connect.