Tip 106Protect USB Memory Sticks

Lots of people use USB memory sticks to transfer data from one computer to another or just to keep their files with them at all times.

OS X lets you format a USB memory stick so that its contents are encrypted. You’ll need to enter a password whenever it’s inserted.

Essentially this turns any USB stick into a ultra-secure portable file storage device, of the type often sold at a premium. However, there are a number of caveats, as follows:

  • The memory stick must be Mac-formatted, which is to say it must use the GUID Partition Table (GPT) system. Out of the box, most memory sticks are formatted as Windows-compatible FAT32/FAT32X, which your Mac can read and write to but cannot encrypt. Therefore, the first step ...

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