OS X 10.11.4 Beta: Protecting Your Notes with a Password

One of the features in the beta of 10.11.4 that I really, REALLY hope makes it into the final version is the ability to password-protect items in Apple’s Notes program.

So as you can see, there’s now an option to do so under the “File” menu. Select a note and click on that, and you’ll be asked to set a password and (optionally) add a hint.

There are a couple of important caveats here. The first (which is pointed out in my screenshot above) is that any password-protected notes won’t show up on devices that don’t meet the requirements. So be sure not to, y’know, add a password to a note you desperately need to sync to your iOS 9.2 iPhone. It’ll vanish from that device and make you sad.

The second thing to note (heh) is that the password you’re setting isn’t just for the one item you had selected—it applies to all of the notes that you password-protect from then on. The next time you try to apply a password to a particular note, you may be asked to enter the master one you set.

And of course, you’ll need to put in that password whenever you want to actually read those notes in the future. So don’t forget it!

A couple more tricks: If you need to take off the protection for a particular note, that option’s under the “File” menu; it’ll be labeled “Remove Password.” Also, under the “Notes” menu, you’ll find some useful choices.

There you can change the password you set, or you can reset it (which means that notes going forward will have a new password without changing the one you applied to previous notes).

You could also use the “Notes” menu to lock the already protected items—a good idea if you’re walking away from your Mac. You can also quit the program, which’ll automatically lock them too. 

Hooray! With the help of 10.11.4, we can now make our computing worlds a tiny bit more secure. Considering how many people I’ve seen that keep the passwords for their bank accounts in Notes, I think that’s a really awesomely good thing.