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error: failed to enable crypto I/O mode for container /dev/rdisk3: Invalid argument

Before you tell me that there is a problem with my physical device, let me assure you -- there isn't!

This problem happened after upgrade to BigSur, and it was working just before that. Also, there is another partition on the drive, and it works just fine.


Reboot after the upgrade, and my external APFS (case sensitive, encrypted) fails to mount. I try to run First Aid, and I get "operation canceled" right after "unlocking disk"



so I run


sudo fsck_apfs /dev/rdisk3s1


in the terminal, and I get


** Checking the container superblock.
** Checking the space manager.
** Checking the space manager free queue trees.
** Checking the object map.
error: failed to enable crypto I/O mode for container /dev/rdisk3: Invalid argument


Searching the web for this error doesn't yield much. There are support tickets with apple describing similar problem pointing to a bug in the BigSur, but no resolution yet.


if you have ideas how to fix that please post. If you have a similar problem, perhaps just click "I have the same problem", unless you have some useful clarification, that may help find a solution. And once again, if your opinion is that it is a hardware problem, please keep it to yourself. Suggesting to remove and re-create the partition is also not helpful.

MacBook Air 13″, macOS 11.1

Posted on Jan 2, 2021 1:13 AM

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Question marked as Best reply

Posted on Jan 2, 2021 4:47 AM

I have the solution, so I'll just post it here. I basically started following this path in order to recover my files https://matt.sh/apfs-object-map-free-recovery and it was going as described. I was able to see the contents of the disk when decrypting it with a third-party tool, so I was preparing myself for reformatting the disk after backing up the contents, but when I got to installing osxfuse, I noticed something odd.


When I tried to unlock "Security & Privacy" in the System Preferences in order to allow the installation to proceed, the system wouldn't accept my password. That turned out to the known issue linked with the T2 Security chip (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203127). Resetting the SMC solved that problem as well as the original problem with the hard drive.


In retrospect it seems kind of obvious that it wasn't able to decrypt the volume because of that.

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2 replies
Question marked as Best reply

Jan 2, 2021 4:47 AM in response to master0v

I have the solution, so I'll just post it here. I basically started following this path in order to recover my files https://matt.sh/apfs-object-map-free-recovery and it was going as described. I was able to see the contents of the disk when decrypting it with a third-party tool, so I was preparing myself for reformatting the disk after backing up the contents, but when I got to installing osxfuse, I noticed something odd.


When I tried to unlock "Security & Privacy" in the System Preferences in order to allow the installation to proceed, the system wouldn't accept my password. That turned out to the known issue linked with the T2 Security chip (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203127). Resetting the SMC solved that problem as well as the original problem with the hard drive.


In retrospect it seems kind of obvious that it wasn't able to decrypt the volume because of that.

error: failed to enable crypto I/O mode for container /dev/rdisk3: Invalid argument

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