The Best Way to Password Protect Files and Folders in macOS

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Privacy matters a lot, especially if we talk about such a personal thing as your Mac device. You may not want someone else to once accidentally peep over your shoulder and see something that you’d prefer to keep just to yourself. The need of keeping some data private becomes especially urgent if you share your Mac with your co-workers or your family members at home.

So, how can you make sure that no one else will access some of your files and folders? The best decision is, of course, to protect them with a password. In this guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step instruction on setting a password on your Mac files.

Password Protect

Possible ways of protecting data

Here are some of the most popular ways to keep files and folders on your Mac secured.

Encrypting Mac’s disk with FileVault

This way is great for the users who store a lot of sensitive data on their devices. However, you should remember that with the FileVault, the system will require entering a password each time after a device comes out of sleeping mode. In case you don’t need the overall encryption of data – look for a simpler option below.

Protecting iWork document with a password

iWork suite is, in fact, Apple’s analog of Microsoft Office. You can set a password on Pages, Numbers or a Keynote file. Simply open a File – Set Password. Type in your password and verify it. Hit Set Password.

Setting a password on PDF files in Preview

With the help of an inbuilt Mac image and PDF viewer Preview, you can not just view records, but also save pictures in the form of PDF, sign documents, make notes and much more. To set a password with the help of this viewer, go to File menu and click the Option Then, choose Save As in the Duplicate option. In the dialogue window for Save, check in Encryption box. Enter the Password, verify it and hit Save.

Setting a password for files with the ‘Save as PDF’ option

You can use ‘Save as PDF’ option to set a password on PDF, text files or other documents through the Print dialogue box.

Open a file you want to set a password on, next press File – Print. In the PDF list that drops down, choose Save as PDF. In the Save box, hit Security Options. Next, tick the box ‘Require password to open document.' Enter your Password, verify it and hit OK.

Using software to set a password on data

As one more option, you can download and use one of the various apps, created for enabling passwords on Mac files and folders. It might be a handy way, but keep in mind that the majority of such software comes under a fee. We believe that there are enough of other ways to set passwords on your data, including the most effective one, described below.

Password Protect MacOS

Arguably, the best way of password protection

Many experts agree that the following method of setting passwords on Mac files and folders is the simplest one. Besides, it’s free as you need no additional tools or apps. To perform it, you should create an encrypted image out of a particular folder on your Mac’s hard drive. Follow this step-by-step instruction to master this method of encrypting folders.

  1. First, you should open Disk Utility.
  2. Next, click File – New – Disk Image from Folder.
  3. Choose the folder you’d like to encrypt and next click Image.
  4. If you want to be able to edit the folder, choose ‘read/write’ format (otherwise, choose the other type of its format). After that, select ‘128-bit AES ’
  5. Finally, type in a password and verify it. Important detail! Make sure that the box ‘Remember password in my Keychain’ has NO check! Otherwise, the whole process of encryption will be useless.

As a result, you have an encrypted folder/file, protected by a password which only you know. Once the process is finished, you can delete the initial folder with data.

By double-clicking on .dmg file, you will open an encrypted image. Once it mounts in Finder, type in your password. Don’t forget to uncheck "Remember password in keychain" every time you open the document.

Once the image is mounted, you can open your encrypted folder, just as you’d open any other. What’s handy about this procedure is that now by adding any files to the folder you will automatically encrypt them too.

Once the work with the folder is finished, hit ‘Eject' and unmount it from Finder. The folder will always stay password protected. Using this method, you can perform such Mac tune up for El Captain and all following operating systems.

Thanks to this, you can always keep your Mac folders password protected and private.