You probably have sensitive data on your MacBook or iMac. This data may reside in a folder containing various files containing company secrets or your own personal information. Unencrypted, this folder can be viewed by anyone with access to your desktop or laptop computer.
However, if you encrypt this folder, only those who have the decryption password can access the contents inside.
You can achieve folder encryption with a third-party application, but there is also a built-in tool that can do it for you. This tool is Disk Utility, and it makes it easy to encrypt existing folders on your MacOS machine.
The caveat to the method I’m going to describe is that it creates an encrypted image from the folder and leaves the original untouched. Also, once you have created the encrypted image, you cannot add new items to it. For this reason, the method is really best suited for encrypted backups or encryption folders that won’t need to be modified.
Also: The Best Encryption Software: Protect Your Data
How to Encrypt a Folder in MacOS to Protect Sensitive Data from Prying Eyes
Let me show you how it’s done.
The only thing you’ll need for this is an updated version of MacOS running on a MacBook or iMac. I’m going to demonstrate on a Macbook Pro with an Apple Silicone M1 chip and MacOS Monterey (v 12.6). I strongly recommend that you test this process on a folder that does not contain any important documents. Once you know how to successfully encrypt folders, you can do so with folders that contain important information.
How to access files in the encrypted image
Open Finder and navigate to the folder containing the encrypted image. If you double-click on this image (it will end in .img), you will be prompted for the password you added when creating the image. After successful authentication, the Finder will open the image and you will be able to access the content inside it.
Also: How to Create a New MacOS Finder Quick Action with Automator
And that’s all there is to creating an encrypted folder in macOS with Disk Utility. Although this option is somewhat limited, it is a good way to keep sensitive information away from prying eyes. And if you don’t need to add any new files and folders to the encrypted image, you can feel free to delete the original folder, so that the data in it cannot be accessed without passing by the encrypted image.