How to Password Protect Folder on Mac with/without Disk Utility

2019-11-28 02:47:05 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to Utility Follow @ Rosa

This article will talk about three common methods to password protect folder on Mac. Can you password protect a folder on Mac? The answer is yes, and it’s easy to do. By protecting a folder with password, you can prevent others from accessing any file in this folder.

How to password protect folder on Mac with Disk Utility

Warning: Regardless of the method you use, it’s important to remember the password you set.

Disk Utility is a system utility available for free on every Mac. It allows you password protect a Mac folder by turning it into an Apple Disk Image (.dmg) file and encrypting the file. This method works on macOS Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra and earlier versions. It can also work with external hard drives. The steps below show you how to do the encryption.

Step 1. Open Disk Utility. To do this, you can click the Spotlight icon in the menu bar, type in Disk Utility and then hit Return/Enter.

Alternatively, go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and find the app.

Step 2. From the menu bar at the top of your screen, select File > New Image > Image from Folder.

Image from Folder

Step 3. Select the folder you want to lock with password and click the Choose button.

Step 4. In the dialog box that appears, choose a location to save the .dmg file. Edit the name if needed. There are two encryption options: 126-bit AES encryption and 256-bit AES encryption.

encryption options

Select the one you need, which will open a new dialog box where you enter and verify your password. Click Choose.

enter and verity password

Step 5. In the Image Format section, you are presented with a number of options. When you password protect folder on Mac, if you choose the option read-only or compressed, you won't be able to change the files in the protected folder. By choosing read/write, you are allowed to change the files.

image format options

Step 6. Click Save. And it will start creating folder disk image.

Now the folder is locked by password. When you or someone else tries to open the .dmg file, a dialog box will pop up asking for password. Those who don’t know the correct password won’t be able to open the disk image and access the files in it.

Once you enter the correct password, the file will appear in the sidebar in Finder. Select it and you will be able to find all the files in your folder. To password protect it again, control-click the file in the sidebar and select Eject. This will unmount the disk image file. If you are on Mojave or later, you can directly click the eject icon.

Note: The original folder is still there on your hard drive with all the files in it. If your purpose is to prevent other users of your Mac from being able to access these files, you need to delete the original folder and empty the Trash.

Pro tip

You can also create a password-protected folder and then add files to it later. In Disk Utility, from the top menu bar, select File > New Image > Blank Image. In addition to choosing Encryption and Image Format options, you can also enter the size of the .dmg file and select a file system.

How to password protect folder on Mac using Terminal

If you want to know how to lock a folder on Mac without Disk Utility, you can use Terminal, the free terminal emulator built into macOS.

If you encrypt a folder using Disk Utility and then send it to someone, the recipient will need a Mac to do the decryption. If the recipient is a Windows PC user, you can choose to do the encryption by creating a Zip archive file with Terminal.

Step 1. Launch Terminal on your Mac. You can use Spotlight or go to Finder > Applications > Utilities.

Step 2. Suppose we need to password protect the folder Test A in Documents. Control-click Test A in Finder and choose Get Info. In the new window that appears, go to the General section, highlight the location path (after Where) and copy it.

copy location path

Step 3. Return to Terminal. Type cd and a space and paste the path. Hit Return.

type cd in Terminal

Step 4. Type ls and hit Return.

Step 5. Type zip –er “Test A”. Here TestAProtected is the name of the ZIP file. Hit Return. Now it will ask you to set a password. Enter a password and hit Return. Verity it. Hit Return.

password protect folder on Mac using Terminal

Go to the Documents folder on your Mac, and now you can find a ZIP archive file named

password protected ZIP archive

If you double-click the archive, the Archive Utility dialog box will pop up asking you to enter the password.

Archive Utility window

How to use third-party apps to protect folder on Mac with password

I would like to password protect file folders (under Documents) so even if I leave my computer on, someone cannot just open up some sensitive files. How do I do that? If not by folder, do I have to password protect each file? How do I do that? ― A question on the Apple Discussions forum

If you want to password protect folder on Mac without Disk Utility and you are not comfortable with Terminal, there are third-party apps that can help, such as Encrypto and MacFort. Here we will take the latter as an example. MacFort is a competitive and wonderful tool that gives you the ability to password protect folders and files on Mac.

Step 1. Download and install MacFort on your Mac.

Step 2. Launch it. Set your vault name and password. Then click Create button. Note that if you forget the password there is no way to retrieve it.

set password

Step 3. Click the left arrow icon (privacy) on the right top. Then click the Add icon to import folders that you want to password protect. Click the button beside Location option to choose the folder. Then name it and click OK button. Now that it's done.

choose folder

If you want to unlock the folders, you can double-click them in the list or press Decrypt option and then type the password. Then the folder won’t be protected.

MacFort creates password to lock folders quickly, with the help of a friendly and intuitive interface. It is a standalone app to password protect folder Mac without Disk Utility, and no one can view an encrypted vault without knowing the correct password.

Tip: Many Mac users are also interested in knowing how to password protect a Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox folder. Currently, one of the reliable ways is to encrypt a folder before you upload it to the cloud. Although cloud storage services already require email address and password to access a user’s account and files in it, this can add an extra layer of security. When it comes to sharing a folder with protection, you can change the share settings so that only specific people can open the folder.

Bonus Tip: How to password protect apps on Mac

In addition to password protecting folder on Mac, you can also use password to lock apps on iMac, MacBook Pro, etc., which can protect privacy and offer other benefits. AppCrypt is the best app locker for Mac and offers the following features.

  • Password protect any app on your Mac
  • Lock apps during certain hours from a given schedule
  • Provide a report of the failed attempts trying to open locked apps
  • Can also block or allow access to websites on Chrome, Safari, etc.
  • Help protect your privacy from prying eyes
  • Help limit screen time

Free Download

Step 1. Download and install AppCrypt. When you launch the app for the first time, you will be required to set a password. Please do remember the password.

set password

Step 2. In the said app, from the toolbar, click the Add App button. From Applications, select an app and click Add. To protect multiple apps, repeat the step.

password protect apps on Mac

It’s that easy. When you or anyone else tries to launch a locked app, a window will appear asking for password. If the password entered is wrong, the app won’t open.

enter password

In addition, there will be a record of the failed attempt.

failed attempt

To set a schedule, go to Menu (at the top right corner) > Preferences > Schedule.


To block access to websites, you can click the WebBlock button. Add the domains you want to block. It also enables you to create a whitelist.

block websites


This article mainly talks about how to password protect folder on Mac using different apps. Regardless of your intent, be it stopping others from viewing certain folders on your Mac or encrypting a folder for emailing, these methods can be useful.

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3 Comments Leave a Reply

  • Dedan

    I'm apt to give AppCrypt a try, but I see it can not lock folders. What a pity! If I want to use it lock Office Document on my Mac computer, will this be came true?

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Rosa Reyes

    Hi Dendan, Thanks for your attention. It is safe to say, AppCrypt can lock Office Document App, but is unable to lock folders directly.

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Patrick Lane

    Thanks a lot for your post ... Patrick (MySafe developper)

    4 years ago REPLY