Password Protect PDF Mac: Top Tools To Safeguard Your Documents (Sonoma OS Edition)

For many years, PDF has served as a common format for document allocation. And, in an age when cyber security threats continue to irritate us in some way, using a PDF passcode to safeguard PDFs becomes critical when continuing to work with PDF files. In this article, we'll discuss how to password protect a PDF on Mac. You will find 5 easy ways to do it.

Comparison of the 5 Methods

As a built-in app on Mac, Preview offers the ability to protect PDFs with passwords, and users can easily lock their PDFs from opening. It is only good for users who simply want to set up access permission, however. To choose the right method to get more control of permission management to PDFs, check the comparison chart below.

Supported Permission Setup#1 UPDF#2 Preview#3 Acrobat#4
#5 PDF Expert
Organize Page
Fill Form
Extract Pages
Print ResolutionOptional: high, lowOptional: high, lowOptional: high, low
Free for Password Protection
PDF Slideshow

How to Password Protect a PDF on Mac with UPDF

UPDF is a dynamic and user-friendly PDF application with a huge array of features that will assist you in protecting, editing, annotating, converting, and organizing PDF files.

UPDF supports setting up different access permissions with passwords, it can lock PDF from editing, printing, annotating, organizing pages, filling forms, signing, etc. You can freely choose to enable or disable these permissions anytime and share the PDFs with anyone via a link.

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You can password protect PDFs on Mac with the following simple procedures using UPDF.

Step-1: Go to the Protect Icon

First, you should open the PDF file on Mac in UPDF.

Then find the "Protect using Password" icon. Click it.

protect using password icon how to password protect a pdf on mac

Step-2: Add an Open Password to PDF on Mac

An open password can protect your PDF from opening and viewing. If you don't want others to open and read your PDF file, you should add an open password to the PDF.

To add an open password to PDF on Mac, click the "Document Open" option from the pop-up menu.

open password encrypt pdf mac

And then type your password, and click "Apply".  Finally, save the document.

document open how to encrypt a pdf on mac

Step-3: Add a Permissions Password to PDF on Mac

A permissions password will prevent the editing, copying, and printing of your PDF content. If you want to make your PDF a read-only PDF, then you need to set a permissions password.

To add a permissions password to PDF on Mac, you need to select the "Permissions" tab after you click the protect icon.

permission add password to pdf mac

Enter your password, click "Apply" and the encryption of your PDF is done.

permission mac pdf password

Please note that, by default, the permissions password prevents PDF from editing, printing, and copying. If you want to customize the permissions, click "More Options" and set separate permissions according to your needs.

There are other methods for PDF encryption on Mac. Let's have a brief look at those methods.

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Video Tutorial on How to Protect PDF on Mac

How to Password Protect a PDF in Preview

In Mac Preview, you can set a password to control access to features like printing, text copying, and text editing. You can also control access to open the PDF document too.

How to Encrypt a PDF on Mac with Preview App

Step-1: Open a PDF in the Preview app on your Mac.

Step-2: Select "File" - "Export". You need to enter a new name for your PDF if you want to generate a password-protected copy while leaving the original unencrypted.

how to password protect a pdf in preview

Step-3: Press the "Permissions" tab, then select one of the following options: 

how to password protect a pdf in preview
  • Require Password To Open Document: By selecting this option, you can restrict others to access your PDF document.
  • Owner Password: To enable printing or editing without the owner's password, check the box next to the action. To require the owner's password, leave the checkbox unchecked.
mac preview password protect pdf

Step-4: Type a password, and then rewrite it to confirm.

Step-5: Then, click "Apply", and then you need to click the "Save" button. The changes are applied the next time the PDF is launched.

How to Add Password to PDF on Mac in Adobe Acrobat

Using Adobe Acrobat, you can protect sensitive information on a PDF with a password. The following steps describe how to encrypt PDF on Mac with Adobe Acrobat:

Step-1: Open the PDF document in Acrobat. Click the "Tools" option on the top toolbar. Then you will find that there is an option named "Protect". Choose it.

add password to pdf mac in adobe

Step-2: To add password protection, select "Protect Using Password". When Acrobat asks you if you want to change the document, click "Yes".

mac pdf password adobe

There are two options:

  • Viewing: By selecting "Viewing", you are setting an open password to require a password for viewing the PDF file.
  • Editing: By selecting "Editing", users can view the PDF but they are not allowed to edit the content unless entering the password.

Step-3: Type your password twice and click the "Apply" button. This is how to password protect a PDF with Acrobat for free on Mac.

How to Encrypt PDF on Mac with Cisdem:

Cisdem PDF Manager Ultimate is a tool that can secure PDF files with user and owner passwords. It also allows you to protect edit, and convert PDF files to a variety of formats. It also has an OCR feature to make scanned PDFs easily accessible and editable again.

  • Step 1: Add the PDF document to be encrypted to the app.
  • Step 2: To access the encrypt panel, click the lock icon in the top toolbar. In the pop-up, you can choose "Require password to open document" as well as "Require password to print and copy document".
  • Step 3. Enter the password.
  • Step 4. Click the "Encrypt" button.
password protect a pdf on mac cisdem

Above are the instructions on how to add a password to PDF on Mac with Cisdem software.

How to Encrypt a PDF on Mac with PDF Expert

With PDF Expert, you can also easily set a password on a PDF file on Mac.

  • Open the PDF document that you want to put a password on in the PDF Expert app.
  • In the upper left corner of the screen, select the "File" option.
  • Click the "Set Password" option.
  • Enter and confirm your password. Choose a powerful one!
  • Click "Set" to finish the setting.
password protect pdf mac pdf expert

This is how you use PDF Expert to add a password to PDF on Mac.


Comparing all the five solutions to password protect PDF on Mac above, UPDF is the best choice. Aside from its incredible feature like locking your PDF files, UPDF can also be your PDF solution to edit PDFs, annotate PDFs, and convert PDFs. Give UPDF a shot if you're tired of worrying about intruders in your PDF files. It can be tailored to your specific needs. UPDF's unrivaled service quality will astound you at every step of your PDF journey.

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