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How to password-protect a file in Apple Pages (and when you might want to)

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Privacy doesn’t only apply to your web activity. It also applies to the documents you create and share as well. You might have a will or bank account information, or maybe you’re working on a new book and the only eyes you want on that document (at least during the writing phase) are yours. You might even have to create specific documents that contain important information you must share with other people.

With Apple Pages, this is quite easy to do. And once you’ve set a password for a Pages document, the only way it can be opened is with either the password you’ve set or TouchID (which is optional). Even if you upload the document to your iCloud, the password will be required to gain access to the content within.

Also: How to collaborate with Apple Pages via iCloud

I’ve used this feature on a number of occasions, especially when I’m on the go. Should my MacBook Pro fall prey to theft or hacking, I can at least be certain the documents only meant for specific eyes are not accessible to someone who’d use that information for nefarious purposes.

Another nice thing about the Pages password-protect feature is that it transfers when you export the document into another file format. So if you have to share a Pages document with someone who uses MS Office or LibreOffice, that password will still apply.

Also: The best password managers to safely store your logins

With that said, how do you password-protect an Apple Pages document? Let me show you.

How to password-protect your document in Pages

What you’ll need: The only thing you’ll need is an updated version of Apple Pages. I’ll demonstrate this on a MacBook Pro, but I’ll also show you how you can set a password on a document within the iCloud version of Pages.

The first thing to do is to open your document in Pages. If you have yet to create the document, do so now. You can password-protect an empty document… even one that has yet to be saved.

Click File in the Menu Bar and then click Set Password. 

The Set Password entry in the Pages File menu.

The Set Password option is located in the File menu from the Menu Bar.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In the resulting popup, type and verify the new password for the document. If your device has Touch ID, you can optionally enable Open with Touch ID to simplify the process of opening your file. Once you’ve set a strong and unique password, click Set Password and you’re done. 

Also: How to protect and secure your password manager

Make sure to save your document. The next time you attempt to open it, you’ll be prompted for the password.

The Password Protect window in Apple Pages.

If your device has a fingerprint scanner, you can enable the feature for faster access.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

How to password-protect a document in iCloud

1. Open iCloud

If you work within iCloud, you can also password-protect your files. To do this, open a web browser and log into iCloud.

2. Open (or create) the file to be password-protected

In iCloud, open or create the file to be protected. 

3. Click the three-dot menu

Once the file is open, click the three-dot menu button to the right of the Collaborate button.

The iCloud pages file menu.

This menu is in the upper right corner of the document view window.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Password-protect the file

In the resulting popup, type and verify a strong and unique password for the file and click Set Password. 

Also: You’re definitely not making the most of your password manager

Do note, within iCloud, you do not have the option of enabling Touch ID for the password.

The iCloud Pages Password Protect popup.

You’ll notice the Touch ID option is missing in iCloud.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Keep in mind, if you collaborate on this file with another user, they will have to know the password. Because of that, make sure you use a strong and unique password. You never want to reuse a password, on the off-chance that the previous password falls into the wrong hands.

And that’s all there is to password-protecting an Apple Pages file. I highly recommend you start doing this on all of the documents you create that contain sensitive or personal information.

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