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How to Encrypt Files On Mac for Free

June 28, 2019

In today’s vast digitally-connected world, it can be difficult to maintain some privacy.

Even on our own devices – smartphones, tablets, and laptops – keeping personal information safe and secure can be challenging.

There is, of course, the option to license encryption software for masking files, text, and data. This is a sure-fire way to protect personal information from undesired parties.

See the Highest-Rated Encryption Software, Free →

However, for those on a budget looking for a quick and easy security method, there is a particularly useful option on Macs.

How to encrypt files on Mac

You may see the word “encryption” and think this is going to be a tedious process, but encrypting files on your Mac is actually quite easy. The five steps are:

  1. Create a folder you’d like to encrypt.
  2. Go to Disk Utility.
  3. Click File > New Image > Image from Folder.
  4. Find and click on the folder you created.
  5. Select an encryption method, create a password, and save your encrypted folder.

Here’s the step-by-step guide on encrypting files on your Mac.

1. Create a folder

Right click on your desktop and select the first option to create a new folder.

how to create a new folder on mac

Once you create a new folder, start placing files in it you’d like to encrypt. For example, tax documents, ID numbers, login credentials, and other types of personal information.

Next, name your folder something you can easily recognize when to need to re-access it. If you’re placing tax documents in an encrypted folder, name it “Tax Documents.”

2. Go to disk utility

Conduct a spotlight search on your Mac, then type “disk utility.”

conduct a spotlight search on mac

Click on the first option to access your Mac’s disk utility drive.

3. Create a new disk utility image

At the very top left of your display, click on File > New Image > Image from Folder.

mac disk utility

Find and click on the folder you created.

encrypt a file on mac

Click “choose” to bring up the encryption methods.

4. Select an encryption method

There are two encryption options for your new folder.

encryption methods on mac

128-bit: Most basic, fast encryption. Recommended for large-sized folders with many files in it.

256-bit: Stronger, slower encryption. It is widely recommended in the cybersecurity industry to select 256-bit encryption for the most comprehensive protection.

5. Create a strong password

Create a strong password consisting of many characters, letters, and numbers. Obviously, make one you can remember. Read our full guide on creating a strong password if you need some inspiration.

Heads Up: Forgetting your password will permanently lock you out of your encrypted folder since there’s no recovery option. So be careful!

Make space for encryption

Encrypting your important files is a strong backup method, but also a great way to maintain your privacy.

Encryption software doesn't have to break the bank. Discover the best free encryption software on the market in 2019.

How to Encrypt Files On Mac for Free Looking to encrypt files on your Mac, but don't want to license encryption software? No worries, this guide shows you how to encrypt files for free.
Devin Pickell Devin is a former senior content specialist at G2. Prior to G2, he helped scale early-stage startups out of Chicago's booming tech scene. Outside of work, he enjoys watching his beloved Cubs, playing baseball, and gaming. (he/him/his)

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