Security is no laughing matter, and when it comes to your personal files you want to make sure you know they’re safe and protected from prying eyes. You can password protect them, but hiding them is also an excellent idea and a good precaution.
One of the best ways of controlling what people see on your Mac is by making them use a guest account. You can set it up and decide what folders appear and not worry about your friend messing up your settings and preferences. The only trouble with the guest account is that you have to make sure you actually launch it every time a friend comes over. If you’re really paranoid, the best way to work is to have a password for your own account and have your Mac automatically logout after a few minutes. Don’t set any password for the guest account, so that people are encouraged to use that one.
What about if a friend of yours accidentally ends up using your account though? You can hide information that you really don’t want him or her to see. One way is by opening up your Finder, pressing Go> Go to Folder… then searching for “/private”. Just drag anything you want to hide into that folder.
Another old trick known by Unix users is to add a dot in front of your folder name. This renders the file invisible. You normally get an error message if you try to do this from the desktop. The thing to do is open up your Terminal and type
mkdir followed by the path to your folder and finish with
.folder. Which gives something like this:
mkdir/Users/Bob/Desktop/Very Secret Stuff/ .folder
Your folder isn’t really protected though, as all you’ll need to do to access it is press Go> Go to Folder… from the Finder and type the name of the folder. Make sure no one knows the name of that folder to keep it protected.
To unhide the folder, go back to the Terminal and type:
mv /Old/Path/.test /Old/Path/test
The folder will reappear in its normal location and will be viewable by anyone.
Another last trick is to prevent Spotlight from indexing certain files. Go to Spotlight Preferences, select the ‘Privacy’ tab and use the little ‘+’ button to add all the folders you don’t want Spotlight to index.
Make good use of these tips and your personal folders should be safe and hidden from anyone using your Mac.