Have you ever wanted to protect a file or folder from either being changed or deleted by anyone who might have access to your account on a MacOS device?
For instance, you might have a folder that contains several important documents (such as tax information, the deed to your house, W2s, 1099s, or your will). Of course, when you have those types of sensitive documents, you’d want them stored more securely than within a locked file. But if the files are less sensitive yet you still don’t want anyone monkeying with them, MacOS Finder has a feature that can help you out.
The feature effectively locks and protects a file or folder from being modified or deleted. Once a file or folder is locked, the only way it can be deleted is after authenticating with your password. If a file is locked, it cannot be changed without first unlocking it.
OK, you might find yourself shrugging your shoulders — and I get it. But Apple didn’t create this feature with security in mind. Instead, it’s a way to add a hurdle or to thwart you or anyone from accidentally deleting or modifying a file you don’t want to change. That doesn’t mean you can’t get around the lock. You can, and it’s actually pretty easy.
For example. you’ve created a new presentation or video and it’s finalized. You haven’t either sent or published the file, so you want to make sure you don’t accidentally change it or delete it before it’s time to do so. When you try to move a locked file to the trash, Finder will warn you that it’s locked and ask you if you want to continue.
Imagine how that can save you from a disaster of your own making.
That’s where locking files comes in handy. Trust me, I’ve been in situations where I unwittingly trashed a file I still needed. Had that file been locked, Finder would have prevented it from happening.
How to lock a file or folder in MacOS Finder
What you’ll need: The only things you’ll need for this are a MacOS device (either MacBook or iMac) and a folder or file to lock. I would suggest using a test file or folder first to make sure you understand how it works.
If you want to remove the lock on the file or folder, simply reverse the process and uncheck the box for Locked.
The MacOS lock feature has saved me, on several occasions, from accidentally deleting or editing something I needed to remain as-is. Although it’s not intended to be used as a security mechanism, it’s a handy addition that can save you from yourself.