How to quickly encrypt text for Apple Mail

Jack Wallen shows you how easy it can be to encrypt text to be sent via email, using Apple Mail and the GPG Suite.

Cyber security concept. Encryption.

Image: iStockphoto/metamorworks

If you're at all security minded, you probably use encryption on some level. If you send sensitive documentation or information to others via email, you certainly use encryption. If not, it's time you do. Problem is, most fail to use encryption because it's not exactly the easiest task to take care of. 

However recent iterations of macOS have gone a long way to making encryption actually pretty easy. In fact, with the right pieces in place in macOS, you can copy a block of text from any application, encrypt it, paste it into the body of an email, and send it to any user that has shared their public key with you.

It really is that simple. I'm going to show you how.

SEE: Encryption: A guide for business leaders (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

What you'll need

  • A more recent release of macOS (probably version 10 or newer)
  • GPG Suite installed and have imported the public keys of those you want to send encrypted data to

I've already covered installing the GPG Suite on macOS in my piece, How to install and use GPG Suite to encrypt email with Apple Mail. In that piece, I also instruct how to import public keys to the suite, so you can then send encrypted email to recipients. It's important that you take care of every step in that tutorial.

How to encrypt text to be sent via Apple Mail

If the text you want to encrypt and send is within a Google document (remember, the text can be from any app running on your macOS device). Open that document and select and copy the text to be encrypted. Next, click the Safari menu entry at the top of the screen and select Services | OpenGPG: Encrypt Selection To (Figure A).

Figure A

encryptmaila.jpg

Encrypting a selection of text from within a Google document.

The GPG Services window will open, where you must select the recipient from the list (Figure B). 

Figure B

encryptmailb.jpg

Selecting the recipient for your encrypted message.

Select your recipient and click Encrypt. A new window will appear with the content of the encrypted text (Figure C).

Figure C

encryptmailb.jpg

Selecting the recipient for your encrypted message.

Copy the entire contents of the encrypted text and paste it into the body of a new Apple Mail email to be sent to the recipient associated with the public key. Send the email and close the window containing the encrypted text. When the recipient attempts to open the email, they'll be prompted for their GPG key passphrase. Upon successful authentication, they'll be able to read the contents.

That's all there is to sending encrypted text, via Apple Mail and the GPG Suite, to a recipient. It doesn't get much easier than that.

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