How to password protect folders on a Mac

You can’t encrypt folders directly in macOS, but you can put them in password-protected containers. This password protects the folders and the files they contain. You can password protect folders on a Mac using Disk Utility or a third-party tool such as Encryption.

In this article, we’ll show you how to password-protect Mac folders using these two methods. Let us first look at an integrated approach.

Use Disk Utility to password protect folders on your Mac

You can password protect a folder with an encrypted disk image. This will create a new DMG file and ask you to open it by opening a password. Additionally, you can delete the original folder after encryption because it is included in the package.

1. Open Disk Utility through Spotlight.

2. With it open, choose File -> New Image -> New Image From Folder …

3. Select the folder you want to password protect and select one of the encryption options from the drop-down menu.

The 256-bit option is more secure, but encryption and decryption take longer, although both formats protect your data well, so 128-bit AES is good here.

4. Enter the password when prompted. This is the password you enter to unlock the disk image. It must be strong and different from your Mac password.

5. In the “Aspect Ratio” menu, select “Read / Write” to add files to the image, otherwise you cannot add or delete them.

6. Click “Save” to create an encrypted disk image. After a while, Disk Utility displays a success message when it’s ready to create a disk image of your folder.

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7. If you did not select a different storage location in the previous steps, the disk image will appear next to the folder you selected.

This DMG file is not the same as a folder – it is a copy of the contents of a folder on a disk image. The password appears and decrypts the DMG. The original case is a separate entity.

Once you’re sure everything works, you can delete the unencrypted folder.

Use Encryption

Encryption is a third-party encryption tool available at Mac App Store. It provides a better user experience (UX) for encrypting and decrypting files with a drag-and-drop interface.

1. Get started by installing Encrypto from the Mac App Store.

2. When done, open the Encryption with Spotlight or from the Applications folder.

3. To use encryption, drag the encrypted folder to the application window.

4. Enter the password you want to use to protect the folder. You can also give an optional hint if you’re worried about forgetting your password credentials.

5. When you are finished, click Encrypt to create the archive.

6. When encryption is complete, drag the archive to a safe location. You can also select Share File and Save As… to send the Encryption archive elsewhere.

7. To open the archive, double-click it, type your password, and click Decrypt to unlock the folder.

Stop

The Folder Password Protect Disk Utility method works on a Mac, but it’s a little clumsy. Encrypto is easier to use, but creates a patented archive format that may not stand the test of time. As such, you want to choose a method based on your needs and security concerns. If low-level protection is sufficient, you can hide files and folders instead.

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Conversely, if you want to remove a password from a secure PDF document on a Mac, we also have a solution for that.

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