5 Best Ways to Control Access to Files and Folders on Mac


The finder feature on your Mac gives you access to everything on your computer. You can access controls, files, folders, and features in your macOS. If you leave it uncontrolled, it means anyone can access your computer and do whatever they want with your files and system.

Other applications can also access and make changes to your computer system. Your best solution is to set controls for permissions on who is authorized to access, file sharing permissions, and making changes by users and apps.

5 Best Ways to Control Access to Files and Folders on Mac
5 Best Ways to Control Access to Files and Folders on Mac

Use a login password

If you want to have all the documents and files in order on your computer, you should find the best way to organize files on Mac and one of the ways is to restrict access to your files and folders.

If no one else is accessing documents in your Mac, they will stay organized the way you arrange them. One of the best ways is to create total restriction into the Mac system. You do so by setting a password that a user must put for authorizing access.

Without the password, someone else can start your Mac system, but they cannot view or open anything unless they have the password. To add a log-in password, open your Mac, then go to the Apple menu. Select System Preferences, and then Users and Groups. Open the Change Password icon, then select a new password.

Enter your secret password and confirm it. Just in case you forget your password in the future, create a password hint to help you remember. On the place where you entered your new password, check the key icon and click on it. Enter your password hint, then click save.

Set user or group permissions

Another way is to create settings for access by multiple users and groups. You can create your unique account with a password and another account for another user or group with a different password. This is done if your computer needs to be accessed by more than one person due to work demands.

Open your Mac, then choose a disk, select a folder, then a file. In the file you choose, check for Sharing and Permissions, then a locked padlock at the bottom. Open the padlock and set an admin name and password.

Open the new user or group account, then set the privileges you want, which can be read-only, write-only, read and write, or no access to restrict all access on a specific file or folder.

Restrict applications permissions

It’s not only human users who can access and make changes to your files, folders, or macOS. Applications can also make various changes from the background or every time you open them. During installation, most apps will request access to your files, accounts, contacts, location, etc., but others will not ask yet; they will make changes.

You must restrict what information they share and which files they access to avoid breaching security for your sensitive documents. Open your Mac, then go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences.

Open the Security and Privacy icon, then privacy. Open the Files and Folders icon and check if the checkboxes are ticked or not to allow various permissions for applications. If you don’t want to allow certain permissions, untick the box and vice versa. You may also deny all permissions to a certain application.

Set remote access parameters

Due to remote working needs, sometimes you may want to allow someone to access files in your Mac remotely. You could also be away and there is a file you need in your Mac, or you want to allow someone access for a day or few hours. Setting remote access controls will help you do all these tasks.

You can use remote desktop software or set remote login in your macOS. To set remote log in, open your Mac Apple menu, then go to System Preferences, then to Sharing and click Remote Login. Follow the prompts and set the permissions.

Set permissions for the disk, folders, and files

You can also lock the entire hard disk so that no one accesses it or allow access to specific folders and files. If you want the system to remain open so that anyone or select people access some folders, hide the files and folders you want to restrict access to. Using your mouse, drag all the documents you want to hide and drop them in the Terminal window, then press enter to hide them.


There are different types of permissions and restrictions you can set in your Mac for security control. However, the kind of restrictions you set all depends on the environment you are working from. If you work in a place where many people can access your computer, set stricter restrictions. If you work alone from the house, you might only require a few restrictions on applications and a simple user password.

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