Mac OS X comes with a powerful drive encryption tool known as FileVault, but if you’d like to hide and encrypt your private files from plain sight, an app like Hider 2 ($19.99) makes it easy.
If your Mac is shared or openly available to other people, it’s not a good idea to leave all documents exposed for prying eyes. If your MacBook is stolen, there are undoubtedly files you would rather an intruder did not access.
Hide and encrypt the lot with Hider 2.
Hider 2 is the name given to the completely overhauled and redesigned MacPaw application MacHider, which we reviewed last year. The new version has a cleaner modern design that buries the files it hides so they can’t be detected by Spotlight, Terminal, or other file detection software. Unlike the previous version, Hider 2 can now hide and encrypt entire folders instead of individually selected files.
Hider 2 encrypts items added to it using a 256-bit AES algorithm. It moves the selected files to a secure vault, created by Hider 2, on your local or external drive. A copy of your hidden files remain in those vaults during the hidden and visible state of the files, so there’s no chance of losing the data.
You can actually leave files on your desktop, hide them with Hider, and those files will appear back on the desktop when unhidden. Hider 2 will also hide your confidential data in cloud servers like Dropbox, and it makes those files undetectable on any of your other devices with Dropbox installed. However, Hider 2 does not provide network protection and anonymity over the internet. It is strictly focused is on securing your local files.
To encrypt and hide files and folders, you can either use the keyboard shortcut Command+O or click on the + button at the bottom of the user interface and add items from the Finder. You can also easily drag items directly into the local vault.
You can also create notes inside the application, and you can attach image files and PDFs to a note. You can right-click on items to reveal their original locations prior to hiding, and also to unhide or remove items from the list.
If your Hider vault starts to get stuffed with lots of files and folders, content can easily be sorted by size, name, visibility state, date last used, etc..
Hider 2 includes several useful settings for locking Hider after a specified amount to time and automatically hiding files upon quitting the application. Selected files can also be hidden and the application can be locked using keyboard shortcuts which you can assign and customise here.
Hiding Files, Made Easy
Hider is accessible from the menu bar if you need to hide and unhide files on a regular basis. In addition, Hider supports Mavericks tags, useful if you file and sort files using the tagging management system. I was a satisfied user of the original MacHider, but Hider 2 is more attractive and secure than the previous version – both of which makes the overhauled upgrade worth buying.
Note: a few other similar encryption solutions for the Mac include TrueCrypt (check out our free PDF guide, Lock Down: Secure Your Files with TrueCrypt to find out what that security application has to offer) and the multi-platform oneSafe for Mac (reviewed here). We’ve also taken a look at file hiding tool Obscurity in the past.
Download: Hider 2 ($19.99)