Locking any file or folder on Ma is one of the security measures. Just like every credit/debit card owner password-protects the print version of the card, a Mac user should take care of the privacy as well. Who knows who may access your computer when you are away?

Nowadays, every caring Mac user should know how to lock, hide, and encrypt personal information. This article contains a list of all available methods Mac owners use to protect their personal data. In case you leave your computer elsewhere or lose it, at least you can be sure about the safety of private information. Otherwise, you risk losing some necessary files or have them changed by a different user. An information outflow is the worst thing to happen.

There are two basic ways to lock a file/folder on the Apple computer. Disk Utility is the first thing to discuss as it is a native Mac’s utility, free of charge. It does the bare minimum; so, to get more, one has to buy some third-party applications.

Lock File on Mac

Be ready that Disk Utility is not able to encrypt or lock separate files. It works for folders alone. Do not expect any bells or whistles. In case free bare bones are what you need, check out how to work with this utility.

No matter whether you are using Mac OS X or prefer the latest versions like macOS Sierra and High Sierra, the method is everywhere the same. Once you protect the item, be sure it will not disappear or be modified without your permission.

Think carefully about the files and folders you would like to lock. In fact, you may limit access to any files you wish. Take the measures listed below:

  • 1. Choose the item you would like to lock with the help of Finder.
  • 2. Move to the File menu and select “Get Info.” Another way is to push Command+I.
  • 3. Explore “General” tab and press “Locked” – it will lock the target file.
  • 4. Do the same with all items you want to lock.
  • 5. Quit from “Get Info.”

Another way to change the state of the locked “flag” is by using Terminal, but it is an advanced method. For instance, if the name of the unwanted folder is ABC, the given command will work:

% chflags uchg ABC

Once you do that, drag the locked item from the Finder app to Mac’s Terminal to finish its entire folder path. “Enter” button will activate the command, and the system may ask for the admin’s password.

Lock Folder on Mac

Now, every time you try to remove a locked item, a notification will show up telling that it is impossible to delete the file. Still, it will be possible to put it into the Trash. Cancel password protection in case you wish to get rid of such files. It is time to have a look at the process of unlocking files on Mac.

Before you decide to lock certain items, be aware of the potential difficulties in the future. Be ready or the frustrations with locks when dealing with such files in Terminal. From time to time, the Finder app will create certain barriers when managing locked items. Finder is needed to see the information window in order to set up/replace the file locks. In rare cases, the file’s lock setting will be set, but it will turn gay meaning the user will not be able to remove the tick and unlock it.

How to Unlock Files on Mac (and Folders, of Course)

It does not matter whether a Mac owner decided to unlock applications or word document, the principle is the same for all types of items.

To make it as easy as ABC, come back to the five stages mentioned in the previous section. All you need to do to unlock the certain items again is to reverse the procedure. Unselect the checkbox you see ear the “Locked” option. Get Info panel will help again. Some files that are protected with the special administrator’s permissions will require a password to unlock them.

As for the second method mentioned in the previous section, subsequently unlock the target item by inserting:

% chflags nouchg ABC

Use Terminal in the second case.

Some users wonder if there is an effective way to unlock multiple folders and numerous files on Mac. Yes, and it is possible via Terminal.

  1. Launch Applications à Utilities à Copy-paste the offered command at the prompt:

chflags -R nouchg ~/Documents

  1. Click to return.

Delete Locked Files and Folders on Mac

There are times when Mac user may want to eliminate the locked files once and forever. Empty Trash feature is not always a 100% accurate solution. Force Deletion is not secure, but sometimes there is no other way out. Observe some of the checked and safe ways to remove the locked files and folders from your Apple computer.

As mentioned above, locking files is a reliable method to prevent them from being changed or deleted without a user’s permission. Try a simple way to remedy this if you do not need some locked items any longer.

Delete Locked Files
  • 1. Right-click the locked item and select “Get Info.” Another option is to press the icon and choose Command + I.
  • 2. Remove the tick next to the “Locked” checkbox.
  • 3. Shut down the “Get Info” tab.

Have you noticed a message that pops up while emptying the Trash can and deleting the locked files/folders at once with the help of shortcut of Shift-Option. The owners of OS X 10.1 and later can minimize their efforts this way.

What if the chosen files will not trash normally?

1. Develop a separate folder on the desktop.

Place a problematic item over there. Come up with a SimpleText file. Name it the same way as the file you have issues with. Next, locate the SimpleText file in the closed new folder. Confirm that you wish to replace the existing file with the same title.

2. Double-click DropStuff.

Go to its Preferences to switch on the original after stuffing. Shut down the DropStuff tool. Place the target item on DropStuff’s icon. Once it vanishes, it becomes available to erase.

3. Get a specialized third-party data-erasing software.

Launch it. Choose Delete/Remove from the app’s menu. Move to the problem file or folder. Pick it in the list and press “choose” – this way you verify that you really wish to remove that locked file/folder.