finder padlockIn macOS Mojave, you can choose to encrypt and decrypt disks on the fly right from the desktop. Using this convenient Finder option, we're going to show you how to encrypt a USB flash drive (or "thumb drive"), which is useful if you're traveling light and want to take sensitive data with you for use on another Mac.

Finder uses XTS-AES encryption, the same encryption that FileVault 2 uses to prevent access to data on a Mac's startup disk without a password. Note that the following method is only compatible with Macs – you won't be able to access data on the encrypted drive using a Windows machine.

If this is a requirement, you'll need to use a third-party encryption solution like VeraCrypt. With that in mind, here's how to securely encrypt your USB flash drive.

how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 01
Attach the USB flash drive to your Mac and locate its disk icon on your desktop, in a Finder window, or in the Finder sidebar, then right-click (or Ctrl-click) it and select Encrypt "[USB stick name]"... from the contextual menu.

(Note that if you don't see the Encrypt option in the dropdown menu, your USB flash drive hasn't been formatted with a GUID partition map. To resolve this, you'll need to erase and encrypt the USB drive in Disk Utility – before that though, copy any data on the drive to another location for temporary safekeeping.)

how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 02
When you select Encrypt, Finder will prompt you to create a password, which you'll need to enter the next time you attach the USB flash drive to a Mac. (Don't forget this, otherwise you'll lose access to any data stored on the USB drive!) Once you've chosen a password, verify it, add a meaningful hint if desired, and click Encrypt Disk.

The encryption process depends on how much data you have on the USB flash drive, but you'll know it's completed when its disk icon disappears and re-mounts. You'll now be able to access the contents of the USB flash drive as usual, but if you physically detach it and re-attach it to your Mac you'll be prompted to enter the password.

how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 03
Note that the prompt includes an option for macOS to remember this password in my keychain. Check the box, and whenever you attach the USB stick to your Mac again you won't be prompted to enter the password and you'll have automatic access to it, just like any other drive.

how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 03b
If you ever want to decrypt the USB flash drive in future, right-click (or Ctrl-click) its disk icon, select Decrypt "[USB stick name]" from the contextual menu, and enter the password to turn off encryption protection.

How to Encrypt a USB Flash Drive in Disk Utility

Before proceeding, make sure you've copied any data on the USB flash drive to a safe location, like your Mac's internal disk.

  1. Launch Disk Utility, located on your Mac in Applications/Utilities.
    how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 04

  2. In the Disk Utility toolbar, click the View button and select Show All Devices if it isn't already ticked.
    how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 05

  3. Select your USB flash drive in the sidebar by clicking its top-level device name (i.e. not the volume name that's listed beneath it).
    how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 06

  4. Click the Erase button in the toolbar.
  5. Give the USB flash drive a name.
  6. Next, click the Scheme dropdown menu and select GUID Partition Map. (It's important to do this first before the next step, otherwise you won't see the encryption option in the Format dropdown.)
    how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 07

  7. Now click the Format dropdown menu and select Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted).
    how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 08

  8. Click Erase.
    how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 07

  9. Enter your new password, enter it once more to verify, include a password hint if desired, then click Choose.
    how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 09

  10. Click Erase once again, and wait for your disk to be formatted and encrypted.
    how to encrypt a usb stick in macos mojave 10

Once the process is complete, copy across your sensitive data to the blank USB flash drive, where it will be automatically encrypted and secured with a password.

Top Rated Comments

Fedelix Avatar
45 months ago
Using Dark Mode for screenshots isn‘t a good choice for tutorials.

I‘m sorry!
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
David G. Avatar
45 months ago
Disagree. It’s an official feature in Mojave and one can still follow the exact same options despite it being in dark mode.
It’s not that the process is different. It’s that black text on a white background is easier to read. Heck, some of the text is grey on black; how in the world could that ever be seen as anything close to desirable for tutorials for the masses? With my vision I’m having difficulty reading it. Let what’s stood the test of time be displayed for the vast majority, and run dark mode on your own machine on your own time.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kole Avatar
45 months ago
Using Dark Mode for screenshots isn‘t a good choice for tutorials.

I‘m sorry!
Disagree. It’s an official feature in Mojave and one can still follow the exact same options despite it being in dark mode.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nate13 Avatar
45 months ago
Using Dark Mode for screenshots isn‘t a good choice for tutorials.

I‘m sorry!
Exactly why I came to comment. In a dark environment, with dark surroundings, I believe dark mode is awesome. In a bright context (mac rumors home page for example), its just terrible. MR editors take note!!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Weaselboy Avatar
41 months ago
Thank you,

There is no "scheme dropdown" option as it is possible to see on the image I uploaded above. :(


Make sure you have enables show all devices, then select the drive itself like in my photo and not one of the volumes below it.

Attachment Image
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Weaselboy Avatar
45 months ago
Is there a way to force this to back up to iCloud?
Thanks
I played around with it, and it looks like you can copy the entry from the login Keychain and paste it into the iCloud Keychain. But instead of keeping the drive name, it changes it to the UUID # of the drive.



Here is the login Keychain entry.



I right clicked and copied it from login then right clicked and pasted in iCloud Keychain and it made the new entry you see here in the iCloud Keychain. Presumably this would sync along with everything else in the iCloud Keychain.

I have not tested if you delete this entry from login Keychain if this iCloud entry will unlock the drive.

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

Wednesday May 11, 2022 11:16 am PDT by
It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still...
iOS 16 mock for article

Which Devices Will iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 Support?

Thursday May 12, 2022 7:29 am PDT by
While there are as yet no concrete rumors related to which devices iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will support, the discontinuation of the iPod touch earlier this week may be an indication that as many as nine devices could be about to lose support for Apple's upcoming operating systems. iOS and iPadOS 13, 14, and 15 support all of the same devices, with the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus,...
apple mac ipad watch trade in

Apple Launches Limited-Time Bonus Trade-In Credit for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch in Many Countries

Wednesday May 11, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple has launched a special limited-time offer for iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad trade-in that offers customers additional credit when trading in their only device for a new one. The offer is being run in several countries including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and France. In the UK, Apple is offering up to £50 of extra trade-in credit...
sony

Sony Unveils Redesigned WH-1000XM5 Headphones With Improved Noise Cancelation

Thursday May 12, 2022 9:26 am PDT by
Sony's flagship WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones have been among the best on the market for some time, and today Sony announced its fifth-generation WH-1000XM5 headphones, boasting a new design and several improvements over the previous model. The redesigned headphones replace the shrouded arms that swivel on the XM4's with an exposed arm that has a single contact point at the earcups,...
apple tv 4k design clue

Kuo: New Apple TV to Launch in Second Half of 2022, Lower Price Possible

Friday May 13, 2022 7:58 am PDT by
Apple plans to launch a new version of the Apple TV in the second half of 2022, according to well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a tweet today, Kuo said the new Apple TV will have an improved cost structure, suggesting that the device could have a lower price that is more competitive with other streaming media players like Google's Chromecast line, Amazon's Fire TV line, and the Roku line. ...
iPhone 14 Purple Feature

Full Range of iPhone 14 Color Options Revealed by Purported Leak From China

Wednesday May 11, 2022 2:20 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models will be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color, according to a recent rumor. The claim comes from a post on Chinese social media site Weibo by an unverified source and purports to reveal the full range of color options for Apple's upcoming iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. Compared to the selection of color...