How to Password Protect Folders on Mac

Protecting sensitive data on your Mac is critical for security. Fortunately, macOS provides easy ways to password protect folders and encrypt their contents. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to safeguard your confidential data.

Why Password Protect Folders on Mac

Here are some key reasons why you should password protect important folders on your Mac:

  • Prevent unauthorized access: Password protection restricts access to authorized users only. This keeps sensitive files like financial records, personal documents, client data, etc. private.
  • Share data securely: Encrypted folders allow you to securely share confidential data through email or cloud storage. The recipient needs the password to decrypt the contents.
  • Protection against theft: Encrypting folders ensures your data remains secure even if your Mac is lost or stolen. Without the password, the folders remain inaccessible.
  • Compliance with regulations: Certain regulations like HIPAA require encryption of sensitive data. Password protecting folders helps meet compliance requirements.

Built-in Option: Use Disk Utility

The easiest way to password protect a folder on Mac is by using the built-in Disk Utility app. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility

Open Finder > Applications > Utilities and double click on Disk Utility.

Step 2: Create Image from Folder

In Disk Utility, select File > New Image > Image from Folder.

Step 3: Choose Folder to Encrypt

Select the folder you want to password protect and click Choose.

Step 4: Set Encryption Password

  • Choose encryption level (128-bit or 256-bit AES).
  • Set a strong password and verify it.
  • You can also let Disk Utility generate a secure password.

Step 5: Save the Encrypted Folder

Make sure Image Format is set to “Read/Write”. Click Save.

That’s it! Disk Utility will create a password protected disk image (.dmg) file. You can access the encrypted folder by double clicking this file.

Key Benefits:

  • Simple to set up folder-level encryption
  • Secured with strong AES 128 or 256 bit encryption
  • File contents remain encrypted if Mac is lost/stolen


  • Encrypted folder only works on Mac
  • Original folder remains unencrypted

Alternative: Use Third Party Tools

If you want cross-platform compatibility or more advanced features, use third party folder encryption tools like:

1. Encrypto

Encrypto lets you encrypt files and folders on Mac with AES-256 encryption.

Benefits: Free, works across Mac, Windows and Linux.

2. Folder Lock

Folder Lock can password protect folders and encrypt contents with military-grade encryption.

Benefits: Secured online backup, self-decrypting files, device locking.

3. VeraCrypt

VeraCrypt offers strong AES, Twofish, Serpent encryption to secure folders.

Benefits: Open source software, hidden encrypted volumes.

Best Practices for Folder Encryption

Follow these tips when encrypting folders to maximize security:

  • Always use strong passwords with letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Store passwords securely using a password manager.
  • Enable FileVault to encrypt your entire hard drive.
  • Use full-disk encryption tools like BitLocker (Windows) or FileVault (Mac).
  • Consider encrypting external drives when storing sensitive data.

Protecting Individual Files on Mac

In addition to folders, you may want to password protect important individual documents and files on your Mac.

Here are some ways to do it:

  • Microsoft Office files: Apply password protection within MS Word, Excel, etc.
  • Images: Use archiving tools like StuffIt or BetterZip to encrypt images.
  • PDF files: Add password security in Preview app or Adobe Acrobat.
  • Text files: Encrypt contents using TextEdit or other text editors.

Final Thoughts on Mac Security

I hope this guide gives you a good overview of how to effectively password protect folders and files on your Mac.

Safeguarding sensitive data should be a priority for all Mac users. By leveraging built-in encryption features and third party apps, you can easily add an extra layer of security.

Implement these folder encryption best practices, use strong passwords, enable FileVault, and regularly backup your data to keep your Mac safe from unauthorized access.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m always happy to help you secure your Mac and ensure your valuable data stays protected.