Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024
Technology

How to Password Protect Folder on Mac with/without Disk Utility

If you have sensitive or personal information in a folder on your Mac or that you want to send via email, it’s important to protect it with a password. This article will guide you on how to password protect a folder on Mac using different methods. By locking a folder, you can ensure the files within it remain safe from prying eyes.

Method 1. How to Password Protect Folder on Mac with a Third-Party App

Applies to: macOS 10.13 or later

Although Mac provides the option to password protect a PDF or document and offers FileVault to encrypt your startup disk, it doesn’t have a built-in method to put a password on a folder. However, you can use third-party folder encryption software like F-Vault. F-Vault is a great app that allows you to password lock folders and files on your Mac.

Steps: How to Password Protect Folder on Mac without Disk Utility

  1. Download F-Vault from the App Store on your Mac.

  2. When you open F-Vault for the first time, set a password and provide your email for password recovery if needed.

  3. You will see the Vault and a default vault-folder named “Default.” You can also create new vault-folders.

F-Vault

  1. Drag the Mac folder that you want to protect into the Vault or a vault-folder.

  2. When prompted to delete the original files, click Delete.

Now your folder is protected with a password. The folder and its files are encrypted and can only be accessed by entering the correct password. They won’t appear in the search results when using Spotlight or Finder. To access the folder and its files, open F-Vault, enter the password, and click OK. To make them inaccessible again, quit F-Vault.

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Tip: How to Unprotect a Protected Folder on Mac

If you no longer want to keep a folder private, you can remove password protection by dragging it out of F-Vault to a desired location or by selecting the folder, control-clicking it, and choosing Export to Finder.

Method 2. How to Password Protect Folder on Mac using Terminal

Applies to: All macOS versions

If you want to encrypt the folder itself without using Disk Utility, you can use Terminal, the free terminal emulator built into macOS. With Terminal, you can turn a folder into a password-encrypted ZIP archive file, which can be useful when sending a password-protected folder via email.

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac. You can use Spotlight to search for it or go to Finder > Applications > Utilities.

  2. Control-click the folder you want to password protect in Finder, choose Get Info.

  3. In the Info window, go to the General section, highlight the location path, and copy it.

  4. Return to Terminal. Type cd (including the space), and paste the path. Press the Return key.

  5. Type ls and press the Return key.

  6. Type zip -er TestAProtected.zip "Test A". Replace “TestAProtected” with the desired name for the ZIP file. Hit Return.

  7. Set a password when prompted. Verify it and hit Return.

  8. Delete the original folder.

Archive Utility

The original folder is now locked in a password-protected ZIP archive file named “TestAProtected.zip.” When someone tries to open the archive, they will be prompted to enter the password.

Method 3. How to Use Disk Utility to Password Protect a Folder on MacBook and iMac

Applies to: All macOS versions

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Disk Utility is a system utility available for free on every Mac. It allows you to password protect a folder by turning it into an encrypted Apple Disk Image (.dmg) file. This method works on various macOS versions, including the latest ones. However, if you encrypt a folder using Disk Utility and send it to someone, they will need a Mac to decrypt it.

To open Disk Utility, click the Spotlight icon in the menu bar, type “Disk Utility,” and hit Return/Enter. Alternatively, go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and find the app. The following steps explain how to use Disk Utility to encrypt a folder:

  1. In Disk Utility, go to File > New Image > Image from Folder.

Disk Utility Menu

  1. Select the folder you want to lock with a password and click Choose.

  2. Choose a location to save the .dmg file and edit the name if necessary.

  3. Select the desired encryption option: 128-bit AES or 256-bit AES.

Disk Utility Encryption

  1. Enter and verify your password when prompted. Click Choose.

  2. Choose an Image Format option: Read-only, Compressed, or Read/Write.

Disk Utility Image Format

  1. Click Save to create the folder disk image.

The original folder still exists on your hard drive with all its files. To prevent other users from accessing these files, you need to delete the original folder and then permanently delete it from the Trash. The password-protected folder will appear as a disk image file. When someone tries to open it, a dialog box will ask for the password. Once the correct password is entered, the files within the folder will be accessible. To password protect the folder again, control-click the file in the sidebar of Finder and select Eject.

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Tip: How to Add Files to a Password-Protected Folder on Mac

To add files to a password-protected folder, create a blank password-protected folder using Disk Utility. Select File > New Image > Blank Image in Disk Utility, configure the encryption settings, and set the maximum size. Once created, you can add files to the folder when it’s mounted in Finder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about password protecting folders on Mac:

  • Q: How to hide a folder on Mac?

    • A: If you only want to hide a folder from being seen, you can use Terminal. Type chflags hidden in Terminal, drag the folder you want to hide into the Terminal window, and press the Return key. To unhide the folder, change “hidden” to “nohidden.”
  • Q: How to protect a Dropbox folder with a password on Mac?

    • A: To protect a folder in cloud storage services like Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive, encrypt the folder before uploading it to the cloud. This adds an extra layer of security. For sharing a password-protected folder, adjust the share settings to restrict access to specific individuals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is indeed possible to password protect a folder on a Mac using different methods. Whether you want to restrict access to specific folders on your Mac or encrypt a folder for secure emailing, the methods mentioned in this article can be useful. Remember to choose the method that suits your needs and always keep your passwords secure. For more information, visit Eireview.