How do I password protect a folder on a Mac?

Protecting your sensitive files and folders with a password is an important step to securing your data. On a Mac, you can easily password protect individual folders without encrypting your entire drive.

Quick Answer

Here are the quick steps to password protect a folder on a Mac:

  1. Right-click on the folder you want to protect and select “Get Info.”
  2. Expand the “General” section and click the lock icon to make changes.
  3. Check the box next to “Locked” and enter a password.
  4. Click OK and re-enter the password to confirm.
  5. The folder will now be locked and require the password to view contents.

Protect Folder in Finder

The easiest way to password protect a folder is directly within Finder on your Mac.

Here are the detailed steps:

  1. Locate the folder you want to password protect on your Mac. This can be on your local drive or an external drive.
  2. Right-click on the folder and select “Get Info” from the context menu.
  3. In the “General” section at the top, click on the lock icon in the bottom right corner to unlock it.
  4. Check the box next to “Locked” to enable protection.
  5. Enter a secure password you want to set and re-enter it to confirm.
  6. Click OK to save the changes.

The folder icon will now display a lock symbol indicating it is password protected. Anyone attempting to open the folder will be prompted to enter the password.

Set Complex Password

When choosing a password, make sure to use a complex mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Avoid simple passwords which are easier to crack.

Remember Your Password

There is no password recovery option if you forget the password you set. Make sure to remember or save the password in a secure password manager.

Protect Folder with Disk Utility

You can also password protect folders by encrypting them using Disk Utility in MacOS.

  1. Open Disk Utility app on your Mac.
  2. Select the folder you want to encrypt from the left sidebar.
  3. Click the “Encrypt” button at the top.
  4. Enter a secure password twice and click Encrypt.
  5. The folder will now be encrypted and require a password to access.

This method encrypts the entire folder contents for maximum security. However, you need to decrypt the folder to make any changes.

Require Password on Sleep/Shut Down

In Disk Utility, you can also enable the option to require password on wake/sleep to improve security.

Use Third-Party Encryption Tools

For advanced protection, you can use third-party encryption tools like Knox, Cryptomater, or Boxcryptor to encrypt folders.

Some benefits include:

  • Military-grade AES-256 encryption
  • Cross-platform support
  • Encrypt individual files as well as folders
  • On-the-fly encryption allows access without decrypting
  • Some offer cloud storage integration

However, these tools involve a learning curve and you may have to purchase advanced versions.

Best Practices for Folder Protection

Here are some recommended tips for keeping your protected folders secure:

  • Use maximum length complex passwords.
  • Store passwords in a trusted password manager.
  • Enable FileVault full-disk encryption for maximum security.
  • Automatically lock folders on sleep/screen saver.
  • Create encrypted disk images for portable secured folders.
  • Backup protected folder to external drives or cloud storage.

Alternative Folder Protection Methods

Here are a couple alternative ways to secure folders on your Mac:

Permission Settings

You can use the Get Info panel to customize folder permissions and restrict access only to authorized users.

Create Disk Image

Use Disk Utility to create an encrypted disk image (.dmg file) to store your confidential data files.


Protecting your sensitive information is critical for privacy and security. MacOS provides simple ways to password protect important folders directly within Finder or with Disk Utility.

For advanced protection, use third-party encryption tools. Also make sure to use best practices like complex passwords and full-disk encryption.

Safeguard your data by setting up password protection on any Mac folders containing private, financial, or other critical information.

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