If you use a shared computer with other people having access to it, password-protecting personal files using a ZIP archive may be a good solution. Of course, the best option is not to store personal data on shared computers, but different users have different needs. Sometimes, creating a password-protected ZIP file on a Mac is the only option.
MacOS lets you create a password-protected ZIP archive without installing third-party apps (one of the small but convenient distinctions between Windows and macOS. Users without a password cannot open files inside a protected ZIP archive. This article will show you how to password-protect a ZIP file on a Mac.
Password Protect ZIP File on Mac
macOS can pack files into a ZIP archive using Finder, but it does not offer an option to set a password. To password-protect a ZIP file on Mac, you need to use Disk Utility. It allows creating a so-called folder image, encrypting it, and protecting with a password. All files inside a folder image are password-protected and encrypted.
- Launch Disk Utility. You can do that by navigating to the Applications folder or using Spotlight.
- Click File > New Image. Alternatively, press Shift + Cmd + N.
- Now select the folder you want to password protect in a ZIP archive. Note that you can store any files you want in the protected ZIP file.
- Go to the Encryption tab and select “256-bit AES encryption.” If you want to password-protect many files in a ZIP archive on Mac, you can switch to 128-bit AES to save some time. Archiving big files on an older Mac may take quite a while.
- Select the “Read and Write” option from the “Image format drop-down list.
- In the next step, macOS will ask you to create a password and verify it. Create a strong password with numbers, letters, and special symbols. Do not use weak and easy to crack passwords.
- Click Choose, then click Save.
Now sit back and wait for macOS to create a password-protected ZIP file on your Mac. It might take a few seconds or several minutes depending on how powerful your Mac is and how many files you placed in the folder.
Once the process is done, you will see a folder with the dmg extension. It will appear next to the original folder. Double-click the dmg folder and macOS will ask you to enter the password. Note that macOS mounts dmg folders as external drives.
What should you do if the disk utility does not display your hard drive? We have prepared special instructions for this case.
Important. You can share dmg-folders with password protected files between Macs. Any relatively modern Macbook will have no problems unencrypting such files. You cannot open dmg files on Windows without dedicated software. In such a case, a regular program for working with ZIP or RAR files may be a better option.
How to Add Files to a Password Protected Folder on Mac?
To add new files to an encrypted folder, mount the folder first. Enter the password and extract all the files. Add the new files and repeat the steps 1-7 to create a password-protected ZIP file on your Mac.
Important. The protected folder does not replace the original folder. Do not forget to delete the original folder and empty the recycle bin. If you use backup services like Time Machine, make sure you delete unencrypted files there, too.
How to Create a ZIP Folder with Password on Mac?
You can create a password-protected ZIP file on Mac without using macOS-only file formats. This will come in handy when you need to share a protected ZIP archive with a Windows user.
- Place the files you want to password-protect in a regular ZIP archive.
- Launch Terminal. You can do that from Launchpad, the Applications folder, or using Spotlight. You can also ask Siri to launch Terminal.
- Enter the CD PATH command but replace PATH with a full path to the folder with the ZIP archive you want to protect with a password. For example, CD downloads.
- Enter the following command:
zip -er archive.zip
Replace archive.zip with the name of your zip archive.
- Press Enter. macOS will ask you to enter a password and verify it. Keep in mind that Terminal does not show characters as you type the password. That is how it works.
That is how you create a ZIP folder with password on Mac.