Encryption of files

How do I go about encrypting my files? Doesn’t a VPN cover that?

VPNs keep the data you send over the Internet private, but they do not necessarily encrypt your files. That is more likely down to the software you use to send the files (but others know way more about that than me).
And, by private, that means only you, the receiver, and the company that supplies your VPN has access to it…make sure you trust your VPN.

If you are wanting to encrypt the files locally, while they are on your Mac, just make sure you have FileVault turned on (in System Preferences, Security and Privacy). That will encrypt everything unless you are logged in.
But, if you send a file over the Internet or in email, then you are not protected by FileVault.


when i need to encrypt file(s) I use the zip command on the Mac as described here. Password Protect Files and Folders from the Command Line with zip | Max Chadwick


What are you trying to accomplish? Share files securely, keep important documents safe, etc?


Indeed an open question with a lot of variables to consider.

  • Location of files (encryption on file level, folder level, account level or machine level)?
  • Frequency of use (are these files in active use)?
  • Type of files (are these docs, media, pdf, code, archives (i.e. zip files etc)?
  • Ways to access (mobile, local, remote, which application)?
  • At rest (sitting idle. either on the local machine or hard disk or in the cloud)?
  • In transit? (files on the move to/from disk or cloud?
  • In (which) backup (local, online, clone, on-site, off-site)?

to name a few.

Please elaborate on your specific use cases if you want to get the advice you can work with. There are many solutions depending on the computer, software or service you use.


For encrypting your files and storing them in a cloud environment, I recommend DEVONthink or Cryptomator. DEVONthink will encrypt the whole database, and Cryptomator works more like finder by mounting a drive to put your files.


what if they are on my iPad, Graeme?

I’m worried about someone I know who is in government. That is why I got McAfee as a VPN.

What, very specifically, are you concerned about and why? How many resources you should expend on security depends almost entirely on how many resources and adversary will be able (and willing) to expend attacking you.

As for files on your iPad, use a very strong passcode that’s never been used anyplace else, and the data on your iPad will be well encrypted.


If you have a stalker who is a government employee, I highly recommend having someone trusted and competent sit down and look at your specific setup with you, in addition to asking general questions here. Recommending that since you probably can’t share too much online and since any errors you make implementing good security advice could expose you. (Also consider a legal strategy, but of course this isn’t the forum for that.)

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No it doesn’t, it just encrypts a pipe from point A to point B.
Whatever goes through, and both start and end points will still be in the clear

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They do not encrypt your files at all

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A vpn is as safe as the vpn provider.
If you trust mcAfee, then that’s the right solution for you.

Personally I would not trust them any further than I could throw them. I’ve read their logging policy, and it’s abismal.

I use NordVpn to VPN my traffic, and Wireguard to tunnel though that into my home network. The last bit I control myself, and atm that’s unfortunately where the buck stops, (since Apple has given up on user privacy it seems)


If you want to encrypt your files prior to uploading them to the cloud you can use Disk Utility. You have the option of using different file types but I prefer to use a .sparsebundle.

Doing this allows me to keep the original files on my Mac and a copy on, in my case, Google Drive. Then when I open and change a file or add/delete files to the bundle only the changes are synced to GD not the entire bundle.

Actually I wanted a VPN. I was paying for one through the App Store that was not very good. It wouldn’t stay on.

I signed up for McAfee accidentally. I was half asleep. I thought ok. I haven’t had any problems and their tech support is good in spite of the Indian accents. (I have a hard time w some accents, inevitably Eastern… as opposed to Romance languages… not really germane, LOL!)

Anyway then THIS year I saw I must have accidentally signed up again.

Please note that sort of stuff has never happened to me! Not sure how that happened again unless I needed to opt out. But I thought I could use the VPN so I wasn’t terribly concerned.

I don’t know that someone is going to read my files which are on my iPads and computer but a friend** who does computer security recommended a VPN.

Nothing is really going on the Internet that I know of.

Can someone access my info on my network if they were to get physically close?

I just thought… for peace of mind!

My Apple ID password is fairly good. I can make it better. My other ones on my devices can probably be figured out. It’s because, much unlike words, I have a hard time recalling numbers.

I’ll definitely look into the one you mentioned and try to make sense of you people’s helpful advice which I SO appreciated!!!

To answer the inquiry you need to know my concern is notes in an app that is not password protected.

I’m pretty sure all mcafee purchases auto renew until you cancel. I just tried to check their website to verify this, but that page won’t load. :thinking:

Thanks, Wayne! That’s super considerate of you.

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As others have said, there’s a lot to consider in determining what your individual security needs are; one good resource for learning about the various threats and protections is the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s guide to Surveillance Self-Defense.

This is where a password manager helps – you only need to remember the password to get into your password manager, then you can generate strong passwords for all your other logins and the password manager will ‘remember’ them for you.


For my digital safety, I choose to stay completely disconnected and never use email or the Internet at all…
Hey! Wait just a second… am I, uh… ON THE INTERNET NOW?!?? :flushed:

And I agree with you that a VPN can lead to a false sense of security (though I’m not particularly worried, in general. But that’s me) :slight_smile: Any time you’re using other people’s servers, etc. - to me, it’s like handing them your wallet or purse and saying “Now don’t you look in there. Okay? Okay.”