Top 8 Best Encryption Software for Mac (Big Sur Included)

Rosa Reyes
time May 11, 2021 Preview 63.2K
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The data on your Mac, which is important, can be vulnerable to prying eyes or malicious hackers, etc. Luckily, encryption software is here to help. Encryption is a good way to protect your data. This article will talk about the best encryption software for Mac to protect your apps, emails, disks, folders, files and other important or sensitive data. There’s even free Mac encryption software, which will also be covered in the article.

 

Why do we encrypt?

You may keep sensitive information, personal or work related, on your Mac, such as personal photos, critical bank information or business documents etc., which if leaked or stolen, could potentially lead to fraud, blackmail, identity theft or other threats. Encryption makes your information inaccessible or unreadable by an unauthorized third party. That’s why Mac encryption apps can be helpful if not necessary.

 

8 best encryption software for Mac 2021

#1 Cisdem AppCrypt — the best app encryption software for Mac

Cisdem AppCrypt for Mac is the best encryption software when it comes to keeping apps safe from others, due to its high ease of use and effectiveness. You may want to encrypt certain apps (e.g. Photos) when others can access your Mac so as to protect privacy.

AppCrypt helps you easily and safely lock apps without modification on any system or application files. You just need to set a strong password to protect your apps from unapproved access and usage. If someone tries to open an encrypted app and enters a wrong password, the software will record the failed attempt with date and time and take a photo of the intruder. In addition to encrypting apps, it can also stop unauthorized access to specific websites.

Steps to encrypt apps on Mac with the software

1. Download AppCrypt and install it.

Free Download

2. When you open the software for the first time, set a password. Read the warning before you submit the password.

set a password

3. Click the software’s icon and choose Open Main Window.

the software’s icon

4. In the main window, click Add App. Select the apps that you want encrypt and click Add. Alternatively, you can do it by dragging apps into the left sidebar.

add apps for encryption

Now the selected Mac apps are protected by password and become inaccessible. To turn off encryption, in the left sidebar of the main window, select the app and then click Remove App.

apps encrypted

Want to make the encryption even more effective? Here’s a tip. In the top right corner of the main window, click Menu > Preferences. Enable Launch at system startup.

Pros

  1. Password protect any apps on your Mac effectively
  2. Record unauthorized attempts to access the protected apps
  3. Also block websites and webpages with password
  4. Easy to use with intuitive interface

Cons

  1. None

#2 GNU Privacy Guard — the best email encryption software for Mac

GNU Privacy Guard (also known as GPG or GnuPG) is the best free software for email encryption. In addition to macOS, it’s available for Windows, Linux and more.

GPG, which is PGP-based, uses two forms of encryption: symmetric-key cryptography and public-key cryptography, bringing good speed and security. It can encrypt both email messages and attached files such as PDF documents and images. Once an email is encrypted by it, only the sender and recipient are able to see the content.

Note that this piece of email encryption software can encrypt only the content of your email but not its subject line. If it’s a confidential email, make sure that the subject line doesn’t give away anything.

Steps to encrypt email on Mac with the software

1. Install the software on your Mac.

2. Generate a key pair and distribute your own public key.

3. Import someone else’s public key.

4. Drag other people’s public key into the system as recipients, and then encrypt your email on Mac.

GNU Privacy Guard

You should decrypt an email with your private key.

For more details, you can go to GPG's website.

Pros

  1. Free Mac encryption software for Mac
  2. Support expiring signatures and paired keys
  3. Encrypt emails and other data
  4. Support multiple algorithms
  5. Cross-platform

Cons

  1. Can’t encrypt email subject lines

#3 FileVault — the best disk encryption software for Mac

FileVault is a piece of Mac encryption software for users of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion or later. It is a method of using encryption with volumes on Mac computers. Encryption and decryption are performed on the fly.

FileVault 2 is the newer version that can encrypt the entire macOS startup volume and typically includes the home directory, abandoning the disk image approach. You can use FileVault 2 to help prevent access to documents and other data stored on your startup disk.

While a user’s account password could unlock the FileVault encryption when logging into the Mac, the user would also need to create a “Master Password” in the event that the user account password was lost.

Steps to encrypt disk on Mac with the software

1. Go to System Preferences.

2. Go to the Security & Privacy pane.

3. Select the FileVault tab.

4. Click the lock to make changes and click the Turn On FileVault... button.

FileVault

Pros

  1. Mac’s built-in encryption software
  2. Allow you to keep unwanted visitors away
  3. Automatically clean up unnecessary system files
  4. Use the XTS-AES 128-block cipher

Cons

  1. Encrypt only the home folder (The files outside the home folder would be totally unprotected in the event of theft or other unauthorized access.)

#4 VeraCrypt — the best file encryption software for Mac

VeraCrypt, open-source file encryption software, is used for on-the-fly encryption. It can create a virtual encrypted disk or container within a file or encrypt a partition or the entire storage device. The software is available for macOS, Windows and Linux.

The software is a fork of the TrueCrypt project (which is discontinued). There have been many improvements and optimizations since its initial release in 2013.

VeraCrypt supports AES, Twofish, Serpent and some other well-known encryption ciphers. It supports the creation of hidden, encrypted volumes within other volumes.

Steps to encrypt files on Mac with the software

1. Download and install the file encrypt software on your Mac. Open it.

2. Select a slot and click Create Volume.

3. Choose to create an encrypted file container and set it to be a standard volume. Specify a location on your computer.

4. Choose a desired encryption algorithm and set the volume size.

5. Now set a volume password.

6. Once the encrypted volume is created, you can use it to encrypt the files on your Mac.

VeraCrypt

Pros

  1. Free and open-source
  2. On-the-fly encryption
  3. Excel at encrypting Mac files
  4. Help prevent data leaks and theft
  5. Cross-platform

Cons

  1. A bit complex and time-consuming to set up

#5 Disk Utility — the best Mac software for folder encryption

Included with macOS, Disk Utility allows users to effortlessly and effectively encrypt folders, which makes it the best free folder encryption software for Mac.

It offers two types of encryption: 128-bit AES encryption and 256-bit AES encryption. The former should be enough for most users. If you want an even higher level of security, you can choose the latter.

There are to ways to do the encryption: directly encrypting an existing Mac folder (via the Image from Folder option) or creating an encrypted container or more precisely disk image for folders (via the Blank Image option).

Steps to encrypt folders on Mac with the software

1. On your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or iMac, etc., open Disk Utility.

2. From the menu bar, select File > New Image > Image from Folder.

3. Select the folder that you want to encrypt and click Choose.

4. Choose a location to store the encrypted folder. Select a desired type of encryption and set a password.

Disk Utility

5. Select an Image Format. Here I choose read/write so that I can add files to this encrypted Mac folder.

6. Click Save. And the software will start encrypting.

Pros

  1. Built-in to Mac and free to use
  2. Easy to encrypt and decrypt
  3. Give users enough options

Cons

  1. None

#6 Finder — the best Mac software for USB encryption

Since macOS Mojave, you can encrypt and decrypt USB flash drives (aka thumb drives) or USB-connected hard drives via Finder without erasing data. It’s a piece of free encryption software for Mac that inherits the same XTS-AES encryption as FileVault 2. Once you encrypt data on your removable drives, this Mac encryption software won’t let you access them without a correct passphrase.

Steps to encrypt USB drive on Mac with the software

1. Plug USB flash drive into your Mac computer.

2. Launch the Finder app.

3. Control-click the disk icon in the left sidebar.

4. Click Encrypt (name of your USB) in the dropdown menu.

5. Enter a password and encrypt the drive.

Finder

Pros

  1. Built-in to Mac, requiring no installation
  2. Easy to use

Cons

  1. Won’t see the encryption option if you haven’t formatted the USB flash drive through GUID partition map before

#7 Unarchiver — the best Mac software for ZIP file encryption

Unarchiver is a compression and decompression program. Also, it can be used as the best compression program to encrypt files. The software creates password protected zipped files on Mac in one click and makes working with three formats of compressed files easy.

You can pack all your important files in an encrypted, password protected archive by compressing your file and selecting a password to protect your archived file.

Steps to encrypt ZIP file on Mac with the software

1. Download and install the Zip encryption software on Mac.

2. Click on the iPack icon.

3. Add the files to the new pop up dialog.

4. Click on the Compress icon.

5. It will ask you to rename the ZIP file, and from this dialog, you can also set a password to protect your files.

BetterUnarchiver

Pros

  1. Zip and unzip files on Mac
  2. Open RAR, Zip, 7-zip, ISO, TAR and CHM files etc.
  3. Offer solid encryption for archives

Cons

  1. None

#8 CloudMounter — the best Mac software for online data encryption

CloudMounter is designed to organize various cloud servers and connecting to web servers. It keeps your online data protected without unauthorized access and supports services like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and Amazon S3 etc.

Steps to encrypt online data on Mac with the software

1. Choose Encrypt from the context menu.

2. Type a password and verify it.

3. Tick the optional boxes and click on the Encrypt button.

CloudMounter

Pros

  1. Mount the big cloud services
  2. Reliably encrypt and protect cloud files

Cons

  1. Need Internet to access the cloud files

 

Factors to consider when choosing the best encryption software for Mac

The type of encryption you need Some encryption apps such as AppCrypt are good at protect your apps, some excel at protecting files and folders, and some have a reputation for email encryption. It depends on your needs.

The level of security There are various encryption algorithms. Different apps may use different algorithms. Some are weak (but still helpful enough for many), and some are stronger. Certain Mac encryption apps with stronger security may be a bit hard to set up and use for inexperienced users.

Encryption speed The speed is a factor that many people would consider. When it comes to encrypting large files or even entire drives, the speed is particularly important.

Ease of use Encryption software that is too complex can be overwhelming to a novice. An intuitive and user-friendly one is better.

Open-source software or not There are some free encryption software for you to choose, but free things are not necessarily good, similarly, encryption programs you need to pay are not always good, but you always get choices to try the applications for free before you pay for it.

 

Final words

The above are the top 8 Mac encryption apps. All of them have their own features, advantages, and disadvantages. Before deciding which one to use, you’d better tested them to better understand the functions, speed, and compatibility. If the key feature satisfies your demands, you can first try the encryption software for Mac to lock your apps, emails, files, folders, USB drives, or other items.

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Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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Comments (3) Leave a Reply

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  • Hillary

    I've been using BetterUnarchiver for a while, works pretty well, since I also need a compressed and decompressed tool.

    4 years ago Reply

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  • Divine

    What a nice piece of software! I enjoy AppCrypt very much. It's the best best encryption software for me.

    4 years ago Reply

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  • Barton

    I was able to try it on a trial bases before buying

    5 years ago Reply

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