The New Boxcryptor App for macOS is Here

The time has come: Our all-new Boxcryptor app for macOS is now released. On Apple's desktop devices, a lot has changed under the hood of our encryption software. Just like on iOS, we have rewritten the code of our macOS app from scratch. To mark the official launch, we’d like to explain our motivation for the redesign, the benefits of the new version for our users, and why it puts Boxcryptor in an excellent position for the future.

In short:

  • Boxcryptor moves from a virtual drive to a fully integrated “File Provider app”.
  • In addition to encryption, Boxcryptor now also handles file synchronization.
  • Data encryption on Macs becomes easier than ever.
  • Spotlight search in Boxcryptor returns.

Users can download the new version for macOS 12 now.

Why Did We Rework Boxcryptor for macOS?

Boxcryptor previously used a kernel extension to mount the virtual drive of the Legacy app in macOS. For some time now, however, Apple has been moving away from kernel extensions for security and stability reasons and making it increasingly difficult to use them. With macOS Big Sur, Apple entirely banned certain kernel extensions for the first time. The final departure from kernel extensions in macOS is only a matter of time.

Apple is relying on new, modern interfaces (APIs) instead. Since these are seen as a long-term solution by Apple, they gradually replace the use cases of the kernel extensions. For the integration of cloud storage—and thus, Boxcryptor—Apple provides the File Provider API, which was newly introduced with macOS Monterey. Accordingly, the new Boxcryptor app for macOS now uses this interface.

Apple support now only recommends apps that do not require a kernel extension.

Boxcryptor for macOS: Improvements from the Legacy App

With the official launch of the new Boxcryptor for macOS app, we have achieved the full functionality of the old version. This officially makes the old version a “Legacy app” which will still be supported for macOS 10.15, 11, and 12, but it will not receive support for future versions of macOS anymore. For technical reasons, the new app requires at least macOS 12.

Although the app itself hardly feels any different, there are a few changes that significantly improve the user experience. Read on to learn about the differences between the new Boxcryptor app for macOS and the Legacy app.

New: Synchronization, Spotlight and Simplified Installation

Boxcryptor for macOS no longer uses a virtual drive, but is now a File Provider app. This means that in addition to encryption, the app also handles data synchronization. As a result, Spotlight search is possible again. Since Boxcryptor no longer requires a kernel extension, it also eliminates the need to change security settings on Apple Silicon Macs, which greatly simplifies and streamlines the installation process. Just drag the Boxcryptor app to your Applications folder and that's it.

Currently, only folders that have already been synced and opened by Boxcryptor are indexed for Spotlight search. We are already working on indexing folders not yet visited.

Local Storage Support and Files Protection

Although Boxcryptor is primarily developed to encrypt cloud storage, it still offers local storage support. This also includes the use of network shares. It means that you can continue to make any folder on your system available in Boxcryptor by adding it manually, as before. This includes sync folders of cloud providers which might not be natively supported by Boxcryptor.

In case your Mac is also used by other people, we offer optional Files Protection. This allows you to lock files in Boxcryptor against unwanted access, just like on iOS devices, without having to sign out completely.

You can learn more about Files Protection in this post: Files Protection in Boxcryptor for iOS.

What Changes for Users?

The user experience is optimized and simplified by the new Boxcryptor app for macOS. You no longer need to install your cloud provider’s software, which means less power consumption and extended battery life on MacBooks. If you want to use a cloud storage with Boxcryptor, simply add it in the Boxcryptor settings and it will appear as a “Boxcryptor” location in the Finder sidebar immediately. This way you can be sure that your data is always protected, and you can't put data in an unencrypted folder by accident.

Boxcryptor is now the only app you need to work securely with cloud documents. The Boxcryptor app handles the on-demand synchronization and encryption of your files and folders. They are downloaded and decrypted from the cloud only when accessed, which means no additional storage space is consumed before access. Only downloaded files take up storage space on the Mac. And should this ever become scarce, macOS automatically takes care of removing unused files. Alternatively, you can manually free up storage space via the context menu item “Remove Download”.

Using “Download Now” in the context menu, you can have Boxcryptor download not only individual files, but entire folder structures with a single click. Once downloaded, files can be opened even if you are offline.

FileVault for Hard Disk Encryption

The File Provider API provides no option for local encryption through third-party apps like Boxcryptor. As soon as the encrypted data is downloaded to the hard drive and decrypted, it is stored there without any special protection by default. Boxcryptor only encrypts before synchronization with the cloud. This happens, as usual, completely automatically and continues to ensure optimal protection of your files in the cloud. For additional protection of the local hard disk, you should use FileVault, Apple’s hard disk encryption tool included in macOS.

Encrypting the local hard disk using FileVault is strongly recommended in any case—regardless of whether Boxcryptor is used or not. Hard disk encryption is a fundamental part of device security.

Encrypt and Decrypt Existing Files

Boxcryptor allows you to securely encrypt files before uploading them to a location of your choice. It is our belief that information should never leave your end device unencrypted. That’s why we have also integrated several ways to enable the secure sharing of data. Yet it happens that data is stored in the cloud without encryption— for example, because Boxcryptor was not yet in use when it was uploaded — and should be encrypted afterwards.

This option is available in the new Boxcryptor for macOS via the context menu (right-click on a file or folder) as “Create Encrypted Copy”. When you create an encrypted copy, you can manage permissions directly and thus share documents immediately.

Creating an encrypted copy does not remove the original, unencrypted file or folder. If you want to remove the unencrypted data from the cloud, you can do so by manually deleting it after creating an encrypted copy.

What Happens Next?

By completely rewriting our app in the Swift programming language and using up-to-date technology, the future viability of the app is ensured. Boxcryptor for iOS and macOS can thus be optimally developed further.

Do you want to learn more? You can find a FAQ with more information in our help pages.

Boxcryptor for macOS Ventura

There is one more thing. As every year, we already receive questions about when Boxcryptor will support macOS Ventura, which is currently still in beta. Thanks to our new app we can say: As of now. Unlike the Legacy app and earlier macOS versions, no adjustments were necessary for this, which once again validates our decision to switch technologies.

At the same time, the Legacy app will not support Ventura. A switch to the new app before the official release of macOS Ventura is strongly recommended.

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