How to encrypt a folder on an Apple Mac using Disk Utility

How to encrypt a folder on an Apple Mac using Disk Utility

We store all sorts of data on our powerful Macs, but some of it is especially private and sensitive. If you share your Mac with multiple people — family, friends, or roommates — it is always a good idea to secure your private folders that you don’t want others to see. If you are wondering how you can encrypt or password-protect a folder on Mac, the built-in macOS Disk Utility can help you with that, without the need to install or buy any third-party app.

How to encrypt any folder using Disk Utility on a Mac

  • Identify the folder on your Mac that you want to encrypt. If you have some files that you want to encrypt, you can make a new folder and put those files in that folder, and then encrypt it. This method will only work with folders, not individual files.
  • Go to Launchpad and open the Other folder, and then open Disk Utility. If you can’t find it, you can also use Spotlight Search to locate it. Just hit Command + Space and type Disk Utility — it should show up right on the top.

macOS launchpad disk utility

  • Once Disk Utility is open, navigate to the File menu, and then select Image from Folder, under New Image. You can also use the shortcut Shift + Command + N to open the same.

macOS Disk Utility Image from Folder

  • You will now have to select the folder that you want to encrypt or password-protect. Once you have selected the folder, hit Choose.

disk utility folder selection

  • You will then be asked to choose a name for the encrypted disk image. By default, it will have the folder name but you can change it to whatever you want. You can also change the location of the disk image. By default, the location will be set to the folder location.

disk utility new image from folder options

  • Then, you will have to select from 128-bit AES encryption or 256-bit AES encryption. For home users, 128-bit AES encryption is more than enough. Once you have selected one of the two options, macOS will ask you to select a password. Choose a password, and make sure you remember it, as you won’t be able to access your folder without it. You can use Password Assistant to select a random strong password by clicking on the Key icon next to the Verify field.

disk utility new image password

  • Among the image format options, select read/write. Once you have selected all the relevant options, click on Save. Disk Utility will then show a progress bar.

disk utility new image progress

  • Once the encryption is complete and the disk image is created, just hit Done. You can then navigate to the location that you chose to save the disk image. There you will see a .dmg file that is your password-protected file containing the items of your folder.

Your original folder with all the files will still be present in an unencrypted form. So once you have verified that the encrypted disk image is okay, delete the folder. If you don’t know how to access the encrypted disk image, then read on for instructions.

How to access an encrypted folder

  • To access the encrypted disk image that you created, navigate to the disk image file in Finder that will have a .dmg extension. Double click on the file to open it, and macOS will prompt you to enter the password.

encrypted folder mac finder

  • After entering the password, just click OK, and a new location with the name of your disk image will show up in the left side of the Finder.
  • Click on this location and your folder contents will show up in the Finder window. You can now access the file as well as add or remove files if you want.

encrypted folder mac contents

  • Once you are done accessing the files, click on the Eject icon next to the location name. That will close your disk image.

Don’t forget to check our sister website PocketNow’s guide on the best accessories for Mac users. Also, if you are in the market for a new laptop, we have guides on the overall best laptops, as well as the best 15-inch laptops in the market right now.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging with his dogs at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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