How to Password Protect Folders on Mac and Protect Your Data

Many users end up storing personal data and other sensitive information on their Mac without taking any protective measures. Therefore, below we provide an easy way to password protect folders on Mac.

Password protected folders on Mac

If you store credit card numbers, website login details and other such confidential and sensitive information on your Mac, it is better to store this information in password protected folders.

Keeping sensitive data on Mac without safeguards is like keeping valuable items on your coffee table where they can be easily seen and stolen by anyone with ulterior motives.

Therefore, it is recommended that you make a habit of storing sensitive information in password-protected folders on your Mac, making it difficult for others to access your personal information.

Related: How to stop Safari browser from asking to save passwords

Steps to password protect folders on Mac

Follow the steps below to password protect folders on Mac using Disk Utility available on your Mac. Disk Utility protects folders by creating an encrypted disk image of the folder that can only be opened by entering a password.

1. Click on that finder icon in your Mac’s taskbar.

Finder icon on Mac

2. Then click on applications in the side menu and then double-click the Utilities Folder (see image below)

Utilities folder on Mac

3. In the Utilities folder, double-click Disk Utility Program.

Disk Utility on Mac

4. Once Disk Utility opens, click the file option in the top menu bar of your Mac. Next, hover over it with your mouse New picture in the menu that appears, and then click Image from folder option in the context menu (see image below).

Open the option

5. In the Disk Utility window, select the folder you want to protect with a password, and then click the Open button

Open the folder in Disk Utility on Mac

6. In the next window, type a Surname for your Protected Folder (in the Save As field) and select the location for the encrypted folder (in the Where field) – See image below

Name and choose the location for the folder on Mac

7. On the same screen, select the level of encryption of the Protected Folder (in the Encryption panel) – See image below.

128-bit AES encryption on Mac

As you can see in the image above, you can either go with the recommended one 128-bit AES encryption or choose the 256-bit AES encryption option. While 256-bit encryption offers more security, it is slower and takes more resources and time (see image below).

8th. Once you have selected the encryption level, a pop-up window will appear asking you to create a password. Enter password For the encrypted folder, check the password by typing it again and then clicking Choose button (see image below).

Create a password for the folder in Disk Utility on Mac

Important: Make a note of the password and keep it in a safe place. You cannot access the protected folder without entering your password.

9. Next, select Read Write option in the “Image Format” box and click the Save on computer Button. If you select the read/write option for the image format, you can both view and make changes to the password-protected folder (see image below).

Select Image Format in Disk Utility on Mac

10 Wait for your computer to finish encrypting the folder. The duration depends on the amount of data in the folder to be protected.

11. Click on Finished Once you see a pop-up window informing about the completion of the process (see image below)

Completed creating a password protected folder on Mac

Before deleting the original unprotected folder, follow the steps below to confirm that you can access the password-protected folder you just created on your Mac.

Access the password protected folder on Mac

The process of accessing a password-protected folder is different from accessing a regular folder on your Mac. Therefore, it is important that you know how to access password-protected folders before deleting the original unprotected folder.

1. Double click on the password protected folder you created on your Mac. As you can see in the image below, the protected folder is named with a .dmg file extension (foldername.dmg).

Password protected folder on Mac

2. In the next pop-up window, enter the password for the protected folder and click on the OK Button.

Enter the password for the folder on Mac

Note: make sure that Save password in my keychain option is always unchecked.

3. After entering the password, the protected folder will be unlocked. However, you cannot access the unlocked folder like you can access a regular folder on your Mac.

4. To access the unlocked folder, click Finder icon on your Mac.

Finder icon on Mac

5. In the Finder window you will see the Unlocked Folder is located in the Devices section and can be accessed by clicking on it (just like accessing a USB device) – See image below.

Hidden folder in Finder on Mac

6. When you are finished using the folder, click Eject icon next to the folder name and the folder will be locked and protected again. (See image below)

Password protected folder in Finder on Mac

Now that you have confirmed that you can access the encrypted folder, you can go ahead and delete the original unprotected folder.

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