How to Create a Password Protected Folder in OS X

This guide will take you step by step through the process of creating a secure (encrypted and password protected) “folder” on your Mac.

NOTE: I put the word folder in quotes above because technically, you’re not creating a folder. Rather, you’ll be creating a DMG file that will act almost exactly like a folder.

  1. One of the best parts of this process is that all the software you need is already included with OS X. So to get started, launch the Disk Utility app, which can be found in your Applications -> Utilities folder.

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  3. When the Disk Utility launches, click the New Image button from the Toolbar.

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  5. Starting from the top – give your image file a name in the Save As: field. It doesn’t matter at all what you name the file. Now select a location you want to save/store the file. I opted to keep mine in the Documents folder, which is as good a place as any. Again, doesn’t matter where you opt to save the file. Next, enter a name in the Name: field. Yet again, doesn’t matter what you call it.
  6. Now you’ll need to decide how much space you want to allocate to storing your secured files. Click the Size: menu, and select Custom… entry.
  7. Enter the number of megabytes you wish to allocate to this secure location for your files. If you’re only going to be saving documents, photos and smaller files – you don’t need to allocate much space. I opted for 300MB, which will more than suffice for me. Note: You can always create a new secured file and transfer data from one to the other if you ever need more space to securely store your files. It’s probably best erring on the side of ‘too small’ rather than ‘too big’. Click OK when you’re done.

  8. Now click the Encryption: menu.
  9. Select 128-bit AES encryption (recommended)
  10. Click the Create button.
  11. Next you’ll be prompted to enter a password. It is very important – I can’t overemphasize this – to remember your password. If you forget it, you’ll never be able to access the contents of your ‘folder’ again. The other thing I can’t overemphasize is to remove the check-mark from the box labeled Remember password in my keychain. If you don’t remove that check-mark, your password will be saved and anyone who has access to your Mac will be able to access your “secure” files. Click OK when you’re done.
  12. It doesn’t take long to create the file.
  13. Once it is created, it will be automatically opened. As illustrated in the screenshot below, the file behaves exactly like a ‘removable device’ (USB thumb drive, CD/DVD etc). It is a .DMG file.

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  15. Now you can start moving files to your ‘folder’. You can create new folders, create new files from directly within it etc. Anything you don’t want others to access, put it in here. Remember – you can only store as many files as the size you selected back in step #5. If you created a 300MB secure file, you can only store 300MB of files within it.

    When you’re done, click the Eject button as you would any other device or DMG file.


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  17. When you want to access your secure files again – or add more – simply navigate to the folder you selected to save the file in (back in step #2) and double-click the secure file (named whatever you called it back in step #2).

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  19. You’ll be prompted to enter your password.
  20. Once you’ve entered your password, your secure DMG will open.

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