How to password protect a folder

Mac OS X Banner copy

Like Windows, Apple’s Mac OS X lacks the ability to quickly and conveniently let you password protect folders. You might be able to rename, share, and tag a particular folder, but adding a rudimentary password will require you to create an encrypted disk image through the OS’ native Disk Utility application — an application that comes pre-installed on nearly all Mac devices. Once created, you’ll be able to access the folder as a mounted virtual disk, allowing you to edit, add and delete content after entering a designated password. Any changes you make while the disk is mounted will automatically become both encrypted and password protected upon dragging the disk to the Trash (thus unmounting it).

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility — Navigate to the the Mac OS X Disk Utility within the Applications folder or search for the application using Spotlight, accessible by clicking in the magnifying glass icon located on the right-hand side of the Mac OS X taskbar. Afterward, launch the program.

Open Disk Utility

Step 2: Create a new disk image — Once opened, click File in the application toolbar, select New from the resulting drop-down menu, followed by Disk Image from Folder. Afterward, locate the folder you wish to password protect by perusing the resulting folder directly, highlighting said folder and clicking the Image button in the bottom-right corner of the window. Alternatively, search for the folder using the search bar in the upper-right corner and click the Image button in the bottom-right corner of the window.

Create Image Disk Utility

Step 3: Adjust settings Once you’ve tagged and named the resulting files, select read/write from the drop-down menu directly right of the Image Format option, followed by 128-bit AES encryption from the drop-down menu directly right of Encryption option. Afterward, choose your desired save location and click the Save button in the bottom-right corner when finished.

New Image Disk Image

Step 4: Set password — When prompted, enter and re-enter your desired password in the text fields in the middle of the pop-up window. Afterward, uncheck the box directly left of Remember password in my keychain and click the OK button in the bottom-right of the window.

Password Folder

Step 5: Remove the original folder — Once the password-protected disk image has been created, delete the original folder so it can no longer be accessed. There’s no need to have two versions of the same data, especially since the original folder will remain unprotected. Test to make sure the resulting, encrypted disk image is password protected. You may still be able to view the folder name, but extracting the files will require your users to enter your designated password when prompted. Afterward, breathe a deep sigh of relief.

Protected Disk

What do you think of our simple guide on how to password protect a folder on Windows and Mac OS X? Still having trouble or have a better solution? Let us know in the comments below.

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