Disk Utility

New to Mac? Here’s all the tools in the Mac Utilities folder

macOS Utilities Folder

If you’ve just purchased your first Mac, and especially if you’re coming from Windows, you might be wondering about the Utilities folder. You may see the folder but have yet to open it or you might be looking for a specific tool and don’t realize it’s in that folder.

Whatever the case, we’re here with another in our New to Mac series to help you out! We’ll explain what’s in the Utilities folder and what each tool is for.

How to encrypt and password protect folders on Mac

Enter password for disk image Mac

Even if you’re the only user on your Mac, there’s nothing wrong with adding an extra layer of security. You may have files within folders that contain sensitive information. Or maybe you do share your Mac with others in your household and have private items that you don’t want anyone to accidentally come across.

With this in mind, you can encrypt and password protect folders like this on your Mac and here’s how.

How to erase and format external disks on your Mac

Do you use one or more external disks with your Mac for storing videos, backups, installers, archived projects and other large files, which helps conserve storage space on your startup disk? If so, chances are you'll need to erase your external disk at some point to wipe it clean, change its format and so forth.

macOS's built-in app called Disk Utility lets you erase and reformat internal and externals disks with just a few clicks. You can also adjust the partition format if you intend to share the disk with your Windows-toting friends, access it as an external disk on a Windows computer or use the disk with Windows on your Mac through Boot Camp.

In this step-by-step tutorial, you'll learn how to erase and reformat external disks connected to your Mac using macOS's Disk Utility. We'll educate you about the partition maps that macOS supports and detail other important options that are at your disposal within Disk Utility.

How to hide mounted volumes from your desktop and the Finder

We've already covered how to completely prevent partitions from mounting under macOS but, as one iDB reader pointed out, sometimes you want a partition mounted and ready to use but still want the benefit of it not cluttering up your desktop and the Finder sidebar. Luckily, there is a way to leave specific volumes mounted whilst hiding them from both the desktop and the entirety of the Finder in one fell swoop.

How to create blank disk images with Disk Utility

Should you ever find yourself in the need to create blank disk images, OS X's built-in Disk Utility is your friend. A disk image usually has a .dmg extension and appears, looks and behaves like any ordinary file, with one key exception: launching it prompts OS X to mount the volume on the desktop.

These mountable disk images can be useful in a number of situations. For example, you may want to create blank disk images for storage.

Furthermore, disk images can be used as a virtual disk for software distribution, to burn CDs or DVDs and so forth. In this step-by-step tutorial, you'll learn how to create blank disk images in Disk Utility, at any size, with optional password protection, formatting options and more.

How to format drives on your Mac with Disk Utility

At times, you may have the need to erase and re-use a hard drive, solid state drive, or even a USB flash drive so it can be used for alternative purposes. Fortunately, your Mac comes with all the tools you'll need to do this, making it super simple for you to erase and format that drive for your needs.

In this tutorial, we'll show you how you can format a USB flash drive using the Disk Utility built into your macOS operating system. This process also works with external hard drives, internal solid state drives, and any other drive that doesn't contain your operating system on it.

How to repair Mac disk errors in macOS Recovery Mode

macOS on your Mac includes a disk-repairing app, called Disk Utility, which you can use to scan your connected drives for errors, erase a disk, repair disk permissions, check the disk's structure for physical errors and more.

But what can you do, if anything, should your Mac experience issues preventing it from starting up properly? Not to worry, our friends, because macOS lets you launch a standalone version of Disk Utility from your Mac's built in recovery partition.

In other words, macOS' Recovery Mode gives you a chance to repair a malfunctioning startup disk that prevents your Mac from booting properly.

How to repair disk permissions on Mac

Some Mac hiccups and startup issues can be resolved by repairing disk permissions in macOS. Disk permissions allow your Mac to control what users have access to files and folders on your Mac.

Unfortunately, it's quite easy to unintentionally mess up disk permissions. In fact, the very act of installing and uninstalling apps on your Mac can over time result in broken permissions.

And when file permissions break, your apps might be allowed to alter each other's files or even modify read-only system files, which in turn can lead to various permission errors and erroneous behavior in macOS. It is therefore essential that disk permission in macOS are as they are supposed to be.

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to verify and fix disk permissions in macOS, which is typically a basic troubleshooting step to fix any software issues your Mac might be plagued with.