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How Do I Password Protect a USB Drive Without Erasing It?

How do I password protect a USB memory stick without at the same time encrypting and as i understand, deleting data held on this.

Can I Password Protect a USB Memory Stick, without encrypting, as I understand “encrypting “ could erase content which I want to retain on the USB.

Want to avoid if possible additionally encrypting USB, only password protect.
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David

Comments: 2 Responses to “How Do I Password Protect a USB Drive Without Erasing It?”

    4 months ago

    It depends on how the drive is currently formatted. If it is formatted APFS, then selecting the drive in the Finder sidebar, Control+clicking it and selecting Encrypt will encrypt it with a password with all of the files in place.

    However, if you are using an older format, or a Windows format, then you can’t do it in-place. You may be able to try to use the option in Disk Utility to convert it to APS, but I find this doesn’t usually work with USB flash drives. So then your best bet is to copy everything off the drive to another location, reformat the drive in Disk Utility to make it encrypted. Then move the files back.

    Note that there is no such thing as “only password protect.” When you password protect a drive or file, it encrypts it. Password protection would be worthless without encryption, like placing a paper envelope over a piece of paper. The data would be transparent to anyone trying any technique.

    David
    4 months ago

    Gary, thank you for your prompt, clear and informative answer. Especially the supporting explanation and advice. It is appreciated.

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