Home > Bitlocker Tips

How to encrypt, password protect USB drive for Mac & Windows PC usage?

Updated on Wednesday, May 11, 2022

iBoysoft author Jenny Zeng

Written by

Jenny Zeng
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

[Solved] How to encrypt and password protect USB flash drive for Mac & Windows PC usage?

Summary: This step-by-step guide tells you how to encrypt or password-protect your USB flash drives on Mac and Windows with BitLocker, the safest way to encrypt data.

how to encrypt USB on Mac and Windows

How can I encrypt a USB flash drive in Windows 7/8/10 and have it readable on macOS 10.13 High Sierra/10.12 Sierra/Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan?

Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues. TrueCrypt's official site suggests users migrate from TrueCrypt to BitLocker, so up to now, BitLocker is the best and most secure way to encrypt data.

Although Microsoft only released BitLocker for Windows, with the help of M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac, BitLocker drive encryption is compatible with macOS, and encrypting USB flash drives with BitLocker drive encryption can be easily done.

Guide to password-protect USB drives on Mac and Windows:

How to encrypt USB flash drive with BitLocker on Mac?

  1. Insert USB flash drive into Mac computer.
  2. Download, install and launch M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac.
  3. Click the "Encrypt" button in the toolbar.M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac
  4. Select the partition which you want to encrypt and click Encrypt.Encrypt drive with M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac
  5. Enter the password.
  6. Save the recovery key.
  7. Complete BitLocker drive encryption.

After encrypting the USB flash drive with BitLocker on Mac, we can use M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac to open BitLocker encrypted USB flash drive on macOS Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, and High Sierra Operating Systems.

How to encrypt USB flash drive with BitLocker on Windows PC?

To enable BitLocker drive encryption on a USB flash drive, do the following:

  1. Insert a USB flash drive to a Windows computer with these editions:   
    Windows 10 Professional/Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Professional/Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate/Enterprise, Windows Server 2008/2012  
    If you only have Windows 7/8/10 Home edition, please refer to How to turn on BitLocker drive encryption on Windows 7/8/10 Home edition?
  2. Format USB flash drive into FAT32/NTFS/exFAT file system. If there is data on the USB flash drive, please go to step 3.
  3. Right-click the USB flash drive in My Computer or This PC and select "Turn on BitLocker".
  4. On the "Choose How You Want To Unlock This Drive" window, choose one or more of the following options, and then click Next:     
    "Use A Password To Unlock This Drive": Select this option if you want to be prompted for a password to unlock the drive. Passwords allow a drive to be unlocked in any location and to be shared with other people.     
    "Use My Smart Card To Unlock The Drive": Select this option if you want to use a smart card and enter the smart card PIN to unlock the drive. Because this feature requires a smart card reader, it is normally used to unlock a drive in the workplace and not for drives that might be used outside the workplace.
  5. On the "How Do You Want To Store Your Recovery Key" window, click Save The Recovery Key To A File.
  6. In the "Save BitLocker Recovery Key As" window, choose a storage location and then click Save.
  7. On the "Are You Ready To Encrypt This Drive" window, click Start Encrypting. Do not remove the USB flash drive until the encryption process is complete. How long the encryption process takes depends on the size of the drive and other factors.

Related articles:

How to password protect external hard drive for Mac & Windows PC usage?