Mac comes with secured operating system that is stronger than Windows OS. This is sufficient when you are handling computer single handedly. However, when you share your Mac with family members or friends then you have to secure your folders for protecting privacy. Though there are no straight forward methods available for password protect folders in Mac, we will explain two methods that will still work for you.
Why Password Protect Folders in Mac?
Here are some of the reasons you want to set password for your folders in Mac:
- You do not want others to access the folder.
- Temporarily keep the folder’s content hidden from others.
- Want to share the folder with password to protect its content.
How to Password Protect Folders in Mac?
Here we will explain with the Disk Utility app that comes by default with macOS and a free third-party app that you can download from App Store.
Using Disk Utility App
Disk Utility is a free app you can use for multiple purposes like format disk with Apple File System (APFS), repair hard disk by checking errors and protect external disks with password. You can use this utility to create disk image (.dmg) file of the folder you want to protect and set password.
- Press “Command + Space” to open Spotlight Search.
- Type “disk utility” and open Disk Utility app.
- When you are in Disk Utility app, click on “File” menu from the top bar and go to “New Image > Image from Folder…” option. Alternatively, you can also press “Command + Shift + N” shortcut keys to open the browse window.
- Search and select the folder that you want to apply password protection. Click “Choose” to add the folder to Disk Utility app.
- On the pop-up that appears, give a name for your image file or you can keep the same name of the original folder. Select the location to save the file from “Where” dropdown. By default, it will show the same location from where you have selected the folder.
- To set a password, click on the “Encryption” dropdown. You will see two options for settings encryption with “128-bit AES encryption (Recommended)” or “256-bit AES encryption (more secure, but slower)”. Select the 128-bit option as it is recommended by Apple.
- You will be prompted to enter the password and verify by repeating the password again.
- If you want Mac to auto generate password for you, click on the password icon showing next to “Verify” textbox.
- After finalizing your password, select the image format as “Compressed” and click “Save” button.
- It may take some time depending upon the size of your folder and you will see a “Operation Successful” message at the end.
- Click “Done” to close the window and navigate to the destination folder where you have saved the disk image file. You should see both original folder and compressed disk image file.
- Double click on the .dmg file and provide the password to access the content. You can delete the original folder if that is not required any more.
- You will see all the files when opening the disk image file like below:
- Since you have selected “Compressed” image format, you can open any files from the protected disk image folder. However, you can’t edit the file or add new file inside disk image folder. Since the files are created with read only attribute in “Compressed” format, you will get the errors like below when trying to edit.
- If you want to share the .dmg file with someone and allow them to edit the content, make sure to select “read/write” option for “Image Format” when creating disk image from your folder.
Using Encrypto App to Password Protect Folders in Mac
There are many apps available in Mac App Store to protect your files and folders. However, Encrypto is the best option due to the following reasons:
- It’s a complete free app and there are no ads or in-app purchases available in the app.
- You can embed a password hint that the receiver can see when sharing the protected folder.
- The app offers 256-bit AES encryption which is the safest industry standard.
- You can quickly share the file with the Mac default options or save the file to your computer.
- Easy to hide the original folder.
- Encrypted files can be opened in Windows and Mac. This is a cool feature as you can send the password protected folder to anyone using Mac or Windows PC.
First, go to App Store to find and install Encrypto free app.
Launch the app and click on the down arrow icon to select the folder that you want to protect. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file in the app.
Enter the password and hint for protection and click on “Encrypt” button.
Click on “Share File” button to share the encrypted file using one of the available methods. Alternatively, click on “Save As…” button to download the password protect folder to Mac’s disk.
Go to the downloaded folder and view the file, it should be a Encrypto Secure File with .crypto extension.
Double click on the file to open with Encrypto app. The app will show the password hint, provide the correct password to decrypt and open the file.
This is the best way to password protect folders in Mac. However, if you are sharing the file with others, recipients also need to install this app to open the files.
Alternate Options to Consider in Mac
Mac offers multiple options that you can consider instead of password protecting folders.
- You can hide and hide folders and files using Terminal command. However, hiding the folder will simply remove from the visibility which is different than protecting it with password. Anyone can unhide your folders and view them if there are no password set.
- Similarly, locking is used to protect from changing or deleting and users can still be able to view the folder and files.
- Permissions – you can set the permission for the folder to “No Access” or change the ownership so that others can’t without appropriate permissions will not be able to open the folders.