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How to password-protect a ZIP file on Mac

You can password-protect a PDF on your Mac along with Pages, Numbers, and Keynote documents pretty easily. But when it comes to a ZIP file, it’s not quite as simple.

You may have a group of files you want to send securely for business, financial, or other reasons. While more difficult than other types of files on your Mac, it’s not impossible. Here, we’ll show you a couple of ways to password-protect a ZIP file on your Mac.

Use a third-party app

If you head to the Mac App Store and perform a search, you’ll find a few apps that can help with password-protecting ZIP files. And if it’s something you plan to do often, you might look into a paid option with extra features. But for a one or two-time situation, take a look at a free app.

File Zip & Encryptor

The File Zip & Encryptor app is a super easy to use tool with two modes you can use. The Normal mode zips a folder, adds a password, and can be decrypted with common unzipping tools. The Advanced mode zips and protects your files in a proprietary format which you can decrypt using the same app.

Here’s how to use File Zip & Encryptor:

1) Click the gear icon on the top right of the app to enter the password you want to use and choose the encryption mode.

File Zip and Encryptor Settings

2) Drag your folder onto the app window.

3) Click the Encrypt button.

File Zip and Encryptor Folder Added

4) Choose a location to save the ZIP file and optionally change the name.

That’s it folks! It couldn’t be easier to password-protect and zip a folder in a single spot. If you’re interested in another option, Password Zipper Lite is another free Mac app that works pretty much the same way.

Use Terminal

Maybe you’re not big on installing apps that you’ll only use once or twice. And if you don’t mind using Terminal on your Mac, you can use it to password-protect and zip in one fell swoop.

1) Open Terminal from your Utilities folder or using Spotlight.

2) If you want to set the directory where you’ll be working with the files, this will save you from hunting down the file once it’s zipped. We’re going to use the Desktop since that’s where our current folder resides. So we’ll enter the following command and hit Return.

cd Desktop/

3) Next, enter the command below and replace FILENAME with the name you want to use for the ZIP file.

zip -er FILENAME.zip

4) Add a space and then drag your file or folder onto the Terminal window and hit Return.

5) You’ll be prompted to enter the password you want to use, so type it in and hit Return. You will not see any characters in the Terminal window.

6) You’ll then be prompted to verify the password, and again, you won’t see any characters in the command line. Hit Return.

You should then see your ZIP file in the directory, in our case it’s our Desktop.

Zip Password Protect in Terminal on Mac

Click to open and unzip the file and you should be prompted for the password.

Enter Password for Zip on Mac

Wrapping it up

Whether you decide to go with a free app or use Terminal, you can password-protect a ZIP file on your Mac in no time. Which option will you select or do you have another method you’d like to share?

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