SD Card Encryption

Hi All,

I’m using Mac’s own disk utility to encrypt my HDD. However, I cannot use the same method to encrypt a SD Card.

Any suggestions?


How is the SD card formatted?

Where is the SD card used? (is it something you use in a camera, or is it a tiny, portable Mac backup drive)

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Hi @tjluoma,

Right now the SD card is empty (believe its FAT32 at the moment).

It’ll be used to save a couple of files.

I guess I could encrypt the files themselves (any recommendation?), though my preference goes to encrypt the card itself.


Create an encrypted sparse disk image on the SD card and store everything in that if you only need access from a Mac. Disk Utility can do it.

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You’ll have to format it with one of the Mac file systems (probably APFS Encrypted) that support encryption (not sure if that’s supported on SD Cards though).

That’s not supported for SD cards, which is leading me into this quest… :grinning:

I find that surprising (Not in a doubting you kind of way, just kinda surprised that macOS can’t put whatever filesystem it likes on those.)

I agree with the others that a sparse disk/bundle is probably best then :slight_smile:

To format any encrypted flash drive, start by reformatting (select the card itself in Disk Utility, not the sub-listed partition) as Apple Extended Format with a GUID partition map.

I haven’t done this but supposedly you can format the SD (or any Flash device) card as OS X Extended (Journaled, Encrypted) and OS X Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted) And that’s in addition to MS-DOS (FAT), ExFat, OS X Extended (Journaled), and OS X Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled).

Warning: if you format an SD card for use in a digital camera/camcorder those devices won’t be able to read the card; format (sans encryption) in the devices themselves.

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Actually the only options I’ve got are:

In the past I’ve formatted a couple of HDD as Encrypted, but for some reason these USB sticks and SD cards don’t give me those options. I’m wondering whether it’s because they’re old or their size…? :thinking: