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8.3   How can I encrypt my files?

EagleFiler supports encryption at the library level. You can have multiple libraries, each of which is either encrypted or not encrypted. An encrypted library works just like a normal library except that all aspects of it (the files, notes, metadata, search indexes, and temporary files) are unreadable until the proper passphrase has been entered. Each encrypted library can have a different passphrase.

When creating a New Library…, the Encrypt library using passphrase option lets you store the library on an encrypted disk image. The entire library (including all the files, notes, and indexes) will be stored in a disk image file that is encrypted using AES-128 or AES-256.

You can choose the format and encryption level of the disk image:

Sparse Disk Image
Creates a .sparseimage file that’s compatible with macOS 10.4 and later.
Sparse Bundle Disk Image
Creates a .sparsebundle package that requires macOS 10.5 or later, but which is much more efficient for backups. Note: macOS does not support sparse bundle disk images on certain volume types, so in those cases you would need to use a sparse disk image even if you have a recent version of macOS.
128-bit AES Encryption
Compatible with macOS 10.4 or later.
256-bit AES Encryption
Requires macOS 10.5 or later. It is slower but even more secure than AES-128.

Maximum Library Size

An encrypted library will only consume the amount of disk space needed to hold its files, indexes, and temporary files. However, you must set a maximum library size that controls how large the library can grow. The larger the maximum size, the more overhead there is for encryption. For example, a library with a 1 GB maximum size will have about 26 MB of overhead, while a library with 500 GB maximum size will have about 111 MB of overhead.

If your library reaches the maximum size, you can resize the disk image or create a new, larger library and copy all of the files to it by following the instructions in the How can I rebuild a library? section.

Opening an Encrypted Library

To access the library, double-click the disk image file and enter the library’s passphrase. The library will appear as a white icon on your desktop, and you can double-click the .eflibrary file to open it in EagleFiler. (You can also access all the files in the library directly from the Finder.) When you’re done with the library, close it in EagleFiler and eject the library from your desktop to lock it again. Now it can only be accessed by people who know the passphrase. For more information, please see the Open Library… section.

When you’re done using an encrypted library, choose Close & Lock from the File menu.

Changing the Passphrase

To change the passphrase of an encrypted library, first close and eject the library. The passphrase of the .sparseimage or .sparsebundle file can be changed using DropDMG’s Change Image Passphrase… command.

(There is also a Change Password command in macOS’s Disk Utility, but it doesn’t seem to work on macOS 10.14 through 11.0. The hdiutil command in Terminal does work.)

Compacting an Encrypted Library

If you’ve removed files from an encrypted library, you can reclaim space on your hard disk by using DropDMG’s Compact Image… command to on the .sparseimage or .sparsebundle file.

Multiple Users

If you want to access the same encrypted library from multiple macOS user accounts, you may want to set macOS to ignore file ownership. Use Finder to Get Info on the library’s mounted disk image and then make sure that Ignore ownership on this volume is checked.

Notification Center and Privacy

EagleFiler normally posts to the system Notification Center when it has finished importing a batch of files. If your encrypted library contains files with sensitive names, you may wish to disable this feature so that the filenames are not visible in Notification Center or stored in its database. For more information, see DisableNotificationCenter in the esoteric preferences.

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