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Everyone has secrets. Whether it’s your complete collection of Justin Bieber B-sides or some photos that are better off shared with a very select group (the visual record of our sophomore year of college comes to mind), there’s just some stuff that’s better off hidden. When we were teenagers, that kind of stuff went under the bed. ÜberMask is the digital equivalent of that space. It’s not exactly Fort Knox, but hey—out of sight, out of mind.
The app is a breeze to use, working primarily in the background and accessed through customizable shortcuts that allow you to hide files and folders by selecting them in the Finder and hitting your shortcut combination. Even better, your masked files don’t show up in Spotlight searches either. When you’re ready to expose your secrets, hitting your keyboard shortcut while in the Finder will reveal hidden files in that location. ÜberMask also includes a universal key combo—called the Boss Key—that automatically hides all of the files and folders managed by the app in an instant.
Files hidden by ÜberMask are invisible in the Finder and also in Spotlight searches.
But keyboard shortcuts aren’t the only way to your files. At any time, you can launch the ÜberMask application to see all of the files you currently have hidden (after entering a password, of course) and opt to make them visible again or remove them from ÜberMask, turning them back into plain-vanilla Finder-accessible files. If you’re a really shifty type with lots of hidden files, search is built into the ÜberMask app, so you can quickly find what you’re looking for. If you shut down your machine without remembering to hide your files, ÜberMask does it for you,
It’s important to remember that ÜberMask isn’t for industrial-strength data security, so there are holes. If you hide a file inside a folder with no other content, the folder remains conspicuously large (larger than when the file is visible) even though it lists zero items in its contents. Secondly, when hiding documents you have opened, ÜberMask removes entries in Mac OS X’s Recent Items list but it can’t always scrub third-party applications clean—Microsoft Word still lists hidden files in the Open Recent menu, for example.
The bottom line. If you’re a secret keeper, ÜberMask is useful and inconspicuous. It’s not hacker-proof, but it’ll certainly keep your confidential files and folders safe from the prying eyes of coworkers, kids, or your partner.
ÜberMask File-Hiding Utility
Intel Mac, Mac OS 10.6 or later
Simple interface. Customizable shortcuts. Good price.
Some security vulnerabilities in third-party apps. Must be in the Finder to use some shortcuts.