Password protect Mail in Mac OS X

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mdk100, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. mdk100 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Location:
    LA
    #1
    I know this has been asked before, but I can't seem to find an adequate answer. In both Lotus Notes and MS Outlook, one is prompted for a password on opening (not just mail synching) that prevents access to your downloaded emails. Apple Mail doesn't seem to allow that...the password synchs only to the POP server, thus making your local email readable to anyone.

    I've heard the point about users and accounts, but that creates even more headache for me. I've got a Mac Pro, which is my system, but also the primary "home media center" for the family household. So I want iTunes, movies, iPhoto, etc, always available. Setting up different "accounts" and users for everyone creates a nightmare to share and organize the "public" apps and files. I also don't want to "password" protect the account and system, as that still limits the access to "public" apps. And having a separate account for me, still means I have the headache of synching these "public apps" to my account.

    This would all be much simpler if I could have Mail require a password upon opening. I do still want my email private. I don't think this is such an extravagant use case...seems like a lot of folks are looking for something similar. It's the only thing I'm missing from Windows XP.

    So has anyone sorted a means of doing this?
     
  2. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    It's not what you're looking for, and it's a bit inconvenient and it can be complicated, but you could put ~/Library/Mail on an encrypted disk image and use symbolic links (fancy alias) to get Mail to operate from the disk image.

    Google be able to help you out with the exact steps.
     
  3. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Michigan
    #3
    You could try using ThunderBird, instead of Mail. Personally, I'm not a fan of ThunderBird, but it does have a password protection feature.

    Don
     
  4. mdk100 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Location:
    LA
    #4
    Encrypted Image

    Thanks. I ended up creating an encrypted disk and moved Mail.app and the Mail folder into it. It did require me to go way back in time to college to refresh my memory about unix commands and soft links. Not for the faint hearted.

    One question if anyone can answer. I created a symlink for the mail folder from the original library path, and also created a symlink for the Mail.app to the new path in the encrypted disk. Will this keep everything working okay around updates for system or applications? My only worry now is that it breaks something around an update.
     
  5. mdk100 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Location:
    LA
    #5
    Latest Mac OS X update broke my Mail

    I've been running mail in an encrypted disc image. The latest auto update for Mac OS X broke my mail. Any suggestions on how I get around this? Is anyone else running Mail in an encrypted disc image for security (this enables me to password protect the Mail app)?
     
  6. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #6
    How about if you had one account. password protected, just for your email, and another for everything else?
     
  7. -tWv- macrumors 68000

    -tWv-

    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Location:
    Ohio
    #7
    If you read his first post, thats exactly what he doesn't want. You could try to look at the mail application Postbox. I think it is better than mail and has some great features like its indexing system and tabbed e-mail. It has the ability to create a master password for your e-mail. Postbox is still in beta and so it is still free to download, but once they move out of beta it will be shareware and you will have to pay a fee for it. I would try it out for a little while and see if it does what you want.
     
  8. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Location:
    Near London, UK.
    #8
    And if you'd read it properly, you'd see that what he actually wants is secure email under the same user ID, which is impossible unless its encrypted, which brings its own problems , (if he uses Time Machine he'll soon discover that) and Postbox provides no security at all because the underlying files are accessible. (as far as I can see it doesn't encrypt the underlying files and that would be a tough thing to do if full search is provided, not to mention difficulties changing the password)

    If the files are under one user account, there is nothing at all to stop someone else accessing the underlying files and therefore the messages within it so while email with a password to the email application is his "solution" to this problem, its a lousy solution, because it doesn't stop access. If its good enough, then he doesn't actually need a password, all that's needed is to ask the other users not to look at his email.
     

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