Password Protect External Hard Drive Mac: Simple Steps to Follow | Extreme Subject
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Password Protect External Hard Drive Mac: Simple Steps to Follow
By Matt
October 19, 2020
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Many people store their sensitive information or data in portable storage devices like pen drive, external USB hard drives, etc. It is quick to take all these storage devices along with data on the go. What we do not understand, though, is that they are vulnerable to theft. The important data on your hard drive can easily be stolen, misplaced, or could also get in the wrong hands. Therefore, locking your hard drive with a secured password is vital to prevent unauthorized access to your sensitive data.

In this article, we will be talking about how to password protect external hard drive Mac for Apple users.

Use Built-in Software to Lock External Drive

The well-known external drive manufacturers such as Sony, WD, or SanDisk give associated password protection apps for both Mac and Windows. If you get such an app from your external drive manufacturer that would be best as the solution is cross-platform. The password protection feature can be used on both OS (Windows and Mac).

If you do not get the password protection software that is compatible with Mac from your hard disk manufacturer, you are required to explore the alternative methods that we will be discussing here.

Encrypt External Hard Drive on Mac

You will get a few associated solutions from Mac OS X to protect your data on external hard drives. You can fully encrypt the external drive and lock it with a password. For this, the GUID Partition Table (GPT) scheme should be used by the external drive. If the Master Boot Record (MBR) scheme is used, you might have to reformat the drive and convert it to the GPT scheme. All existing data will be deleted in the process. Also, remember an external fully encrypted hard drive in Mac will not be accessible on a Windows system at all.

Use Encrypted Disk Image to Protect Data

If you are someone who more frequently accesses the external hard drive on both Mac and Windows, the above-discussed solution is not suitable for you. In such a case, you can generate an encrypted disk image and store that on your external drive. This will allow the drive to be accessible on both Windows and Mac systems. But you will only be able to access the contents of an encrypted disk image mounted on a Mac, obviously with the correct password.

How to Create a New Disk Image on Mac?

Following are the steps involved in creating a new password-protected disk image on Mac –

  • Link your external hard drive to Mac using USB
  • Allow Applications directory to launch disk utility
  • At the top panel in disk utility, click a new image
  • Mention the name of the image file in the popup that appears and select the save location as your external drive. This way you will be able to generate the disk image on your external drive.
  • You can also give a custom name to the disk which will be launched from the image. Furthermore, you will be required to choose its size and format
  • Go for an encryption method to safeguard your disk with a password. 256-bit AES encryption is recorded to be more secure than 128-bit AES. But the only drawback is it takes longer to decrypt.
  • Next, the image format should be set as a sparse bundle disk image. This way the disk image will be dynamically expanding.
  • In the end, you are just required to click on the Create button that will save the disk image on your external drive.

How to Increase Size of Encrypted Disk Image on Mac?

The disk image that is generated is dynamically expanding up to the size limit that was allotted during its creation. If you are required to increase the capacity of the virtual disk, all you need to do is to resize the disk image. Here are the steps to guide to initiate it –

  • Hit double click on the disk image that will mount the virtual drive, ensuring that the disk image is available in Disk Utility.
  • Now set up Disk Utility and from the left side select the disk image.
  • Select Eject Disk Image from the menu by double-clicking on the disk image. You will now see the resize image option for the disk image.
  • Make sure that the disk image is selected on the left side. On the top panel, click on the Resize Image button.
  • When prompted, mention the disk image password and put down the new size of the disk image.
  • To apply changes, click on the Resize button.
  • By double-clicking on the disk image file, mention the password to mount the virtual disk.
  • Select the Disk Image on the left side back in the Disk Utility, and move towards the Partition tab.
  • Enter the resized value of the image in the Size Text field. You can also just drag the white box until it fills the available space.
  • Lastly, save your changes by clicking on Apply. You will now be having the resized capacity of the mounted disk image.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you were able to password protect external hard drive Mac using the instructions mentioned above. If you are unable to create a password for your external hard drive or facing any problems while doing so, then we suggest that you identify the issue or error message and search for it on YouTube to understand the troubleshooting steps to fix the issue.

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