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How to password protect zips on Mac 🔑

dailydevtips1 profile image Chris Bongers Originally published at daily-dev-tips.com ・1 min read

If you're on Windows, you might think, but why?
Well, Mac doesn't offer a GUI interface for password protecting zips.

Yes, bizarre, right?

We can right-click a file/folder and compress it into a zip.

But we can, by using our best friend The Terminal password, protect our zip files!

Mac default zip function

Using terminal to password protect zip files on Mac

So let's open our favourite terminal program (mine is iTerm2) and enter the following command.

zip -er ~/Desktop/super_secure.zip ~/Desktop/secure.csv
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The parameters are as follows:

  • zip - The actual zip command
  • -er - Encrypt Recursive
  • ~/Desktop/super_secure.zip - Output zip name
  • ~/Desktop/secure.csv - Input file/folder

Once we run this, we get prompted to type a password.

You don't see any input on these password fields!

Press enter, and you need to verify the password.

Secure-zip on Mac

We now created a secure zip.

If we try to open this zip, we see the following prompt.

Zip with password on Mac

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Discussion (7)

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

How to password protect zips on Mac

  1. Install Linux
  2. tar xcf
  3. gpg --symmetric

👍

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dailydevtips1 profile image
Chris Bongers Author

That seems like more steps, and mac runs unix so I even think these commands will work

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

Yes, it was a bit of a "mac bad linux good" joke. GPG-Signed tarballs aren't exactly user-friendly anyway, though they come with their own advantages (like signing, optional asymmetric cryptography, etc.)

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madza profile image
Madza

Yup, on Windows I just normally use 7zip for this 😉

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Chris Bongers Author

Yep way easier on Windows 🤦‍♂️

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gregorywitek profile image
Gregory Witek

Does Windows provide a built-in archiver with password protection?

I know there external apps that do it, but there are a couple for MacOS as well (even a free one, Keka: keka.io/en/)

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dailydevtips1 profile image
Chris Bongers Author

I thought it came default, but to be honest not 100% sure?
Indeed there are third-party apps that do the same.