How to Password Protect Folders on a Mac

Keeping your data password protected on your Mac is always a good idea. It prevents any unwelcomed guests from getting access to your personal data, such as your personal images, videos, or any text content. The matter of privacy becomes worse when you have a general Mac for all of your family members. What if they end-up seeing your pictures with your new girlfriend? I’m sure you won’t like it, and neither would any of us. So the best way to have your data protected is to put it inside a lock that can only be opened by you or by someone who knows the password.

You must not share your password with someone who you don’t want to access your files.

If you ever forget your password, you will NOT be able to access the protected files. The password is NOT retrievable.

We’re going to use the Mac’s built-in Disk Utility to create password protected images. These images will contain all of your data, and they can only be opened by entering the correct password. For further security, your protected files will be encrypted. So even if someone gains access to your data, he or she will not be able to read anything as your data will be scrambled.

1. Click on Launchpad from your dock. It will open up your apps list.

2. In the search box on the top, type in “Disk Utility.” Click it when it appears on your screen.

passwordmac-diskutility

3. When it opens up, click on “File” followed by “New.” Then select the “Disk Image from Folder…” option. It will let you create a secure disk image using folders on your Mac.

passwordmac-newimage

4. The screen that follows lets you choose the folders you want to be protected. Just choose any folder on your Mac you wish to be protected, and click on the “Image” button.

passwordmac-choosefolder

5. On the next screen, you will be asked to enter some details for your image. Here’s what you need to fill in:

passwordmac-imagedetails

  • Save As – Enter a name for your secure image, Personal Images, for example.
  • Tags – You can add any tags, if you wish. It’s optional.
  • Where – Select the location where you want to save the image. It could be any folder on your Mac.
  • Image Format – Choose “read/write” as the format; it will let you read as well as write the image in the future.
  • Encryption – Choose “128-bit AES encryption (recommended).”

Then hit the “Save” button.

6. A prompt should now appear on your screen asking you to enter the password for the secure image you have just created. You are required to enter your password two times. Do so and then hit the “OK” button.

passwordmac-enterpassword

7. Your password protected image should now be ready. It can be found on the location that you chose in step 5.

And there you have it. All of your chosen folders are now behind a strong password protection that is only accessible by you.

If you are wondering how you could open these secure images, here’s how you can do that:

1. Find the secure image on your Mac.

passwordmac-image

2. Double-click on the image, and it should ask you for the password. Fill in your password and hit the “OK” button.

passwordmac-open

3. You should now be able to see your secure image mounted as a drive in the Finder.

You can now view your personal files as well as add new ones, should you wish to.

Having your personal files password protected not only helps you hide them from your family, but often it’s advised to do so when you are sending confidential data over the Internet.