We all have those little folders on our Macs…
The ones that are usually tucked away, a few folder levels down from the Desktop.
Those folders that are fine and dandy for your eyes and fingers, but not quite for anyone else’s.
And remember, you can use the age-old “hide it in plain sight” technique, behind your profile’s password, but a quick OS X recovery exercise will render that null and void (excluding of course for the brilliant technologies like Firmware passwords and FileVault).
So what else can you use to keep certain files from prying eyes?
Enter the Hider 2 app from MacPaw.
Alongside a plethora of other Mac Utilities, MacPaw hit the nail on the head with Hider 2.
Apart from some brilliant encryption, 256-bit AES no less, the desktop UX is pretty flawless.
Run through the intro info screens when you install the app for the 1st time, and set your Hider Password.
This is kind of like a Master Password. Forget it, and you can forget your files.
You will need this password, anytime you want to access your hidden away data.
Now that the app is up and running, and waiting for you, you can very easily just start dragging in any files and folder from anywhere in the finder, and it will be immediately encrypted, and hidden away.
If you want to access that file or folder again, you’ll need to open the Hider console, with a smart little menu bar icon, unlock Hider with your master password, and choose the simple toggle switch to make the file visible again.
When you are done your editing or viewing, simple “hide” it again with the toggle switch.
Remember, if you close Hider, while the file is visible, it will remain visible.
Pretty cool control if you ask me!
You have the option to create some secure notes in the desktop app as well. Maybe some credit card details you need to jot down?
And pretty sweet, if you had an already tagged file in OS X Mavericks, and then added it to the Hider, it will maintain the tags, and make it even quicker to find your files. The Tags aren’t editable once encrypted.
On the technical side of things, when you “hide” your data, the item is copied into a discreet location that Hider uses, and of course is fully encrypted, and the original item is deleted.
This means of course 2 things:
- When you “unhide” the item, it will need to be decrypted, and copied back to the original location. This means that for large files and folders, it’s going to take some time to decrypt on the fly.
- Because the original item is deleted, and not securely deleted, the data is technically still susceptible to data snoopers using specialised recovery tools. (Remember that OS X’s Disk Utility will allow you to secure erase all your free space if you are super-paranoid)
So, a whole lot of positives, and a great design.
What’s the catch?
Well, my only gripe is the app comes in a little heavy on the Mac App Store at $19.99.
But then again, when you think about the alternative, it’s worth it.
You could manually hide your files and folders through a simple’ish Terminal command, but then you would need to unhide it manually every single time you want to use it.
And this does NOT encrypt your data, it simply hides it. And of course, you can simple unhide it again if the user’s password is reset.
Also, on the note of alternatives FileVault encrypts the entire drive, not just a specific location. And, FV uses 128-bit OR 256-bit XTS encryption. So it may be as strong, or half as strong than Hider’s encryption.
So for an easy to use interface, great UX and UI, effective encryption, and best of all, it works?
Yes, it is worth $19.99, if not more.
Go and get it, and I know you will enjoy!