How to encrypt folders on Mac

How to prevent unauthorised access to folders by setting the password on Mac computers

Most of us considers about ways to protect their personal data in a various methods, sometimes separate user accounts is able to solve this situation, however this is option is not able to help. Probably every experienced computer user have heard about folders encrypted with password, but in most cases you need some third-party applications to protect your data. Good news, that together with Mac OS X Mountain Lion Apple released the feature, that let's you to create an new encrypted disk image through Finder.

This particular disk image will be accessible only with the password, this means whenever you or anyone else attempts to mount encrypted disk image, the password will be required and without entering the correct one, the content within will be unreachable. Third-party applications sometimes can offer better functionality, however since it is not a default software, there always is a chance of various glitches, that may result in unreachable data, due to this reason it is recommended to use built-in features. Another useful default feature would be to prevent some particular files from performing any changes. This methods are good prevention against loss caused by your kids, for example they might accidentally delete your work projects or some other important files. In this article we will try to cover the most common methods how to protect your private files from unauthorised access.


Table of Contents:

Create encrypted folder via Disk Utility app

Following this method you will create a disk image of particular folder and all content stored within it. Whenever you, or anyone else attempt to mount this image, the password will be required. This way all data stored within this disk image will be protected. To begin with, launch the Disk Utility application via Spotlight by pressing keyboards shortcut of Command and Spacebar and type in Disk Utility and press return. Also you may go to Applications, then Utility folder through Finder.


Once you've launched the Disk Utility application click on File in the menu bar at top of your screen and select New File, in the further menu select Image From Folder.


The new window will pop up asking you to select the desired Folder, once you've selected the folder click Choose and another window with available options. The main two options would be Encryption method and Image Format, 128-bit AES encryption (recommended) is standard method, but if you're seeking for maximum possible protection you may choose 256-bit AES encryption, however this method will take more time to complete the encryption process. When you choose the encryption method you will be asked to enter the password twice.


Recommended image format would be read/write, with this format you will be able to manage the content stored within disk image whenever you mount it, on the other hand if the folder with all your data consumes a lot of space in storage you may choose the compressed format, but bear in mind that this option denies all chances to manage content when creating process finishes. Once the creation process finishes you will find the disk image file in the destination you've chosen while settings the preferences of file. In order to open this file you will be prompted to enter the password, it does not matter if the file is attempting to open on the same computer as it was created or the separate.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Prevent files from modifying and deletion

This is very easy and fast method to prevent your files from deleting them accidentally, for example if kids are using same Mac. Also this is good method to separate few files with similar names from being confused and accidentally modified. To begin with locate your file or folder through Finder, further select it and right-click or hold down Control key and click, select Get info option from menu. In a newly popped up window locate option labeled Locked, enable the checkmark next to it and close. From this point Mac will display warning messages while attempting to modify files and prevent files from deletion under locked folder displaying error message stating that you do not have permissions to access some of the items.


Video Showing how to encrypt folders on Mac

[Back to Top]

About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

Our guides are free. However, if you want to support us you can send us a donation.