Encrypting files on #iPad #encryption

“Sir,” asked the medical health professional. “Do you have a copy of necessary documents with you that verify who your family member is and your power of attorney?” Some of those documents that I was being asked for are confidential…I hate to carry them around in a manila folder because, to be completely forthcoming, I’m not very good at managing paper.


Not surprisingly, as I am responsible for several confidential documents, I hate carrying them around unencrypted, even with passcodes enabled on my device. But, I can do so if they are encrypted. My iPad usually serves as my “stand-in” for a manila folder. For fun, I’ve explored multiple options for encrypting files on an iPad. Of course you, can also do the same on an Android device (although this blog entry doesn’t cover that).

Some possible scenarios:

  1. I “scan” a confidential document into my iPad. Before saving it to Dropbox or cloud storage for easy access from a computer, I need to encrypt it.
  2. I have a set of confidential documents that I need to keep with me (e.g. headed to a hospital, tax office, bank) but don’t want to carry the source documents around with me. I encrypt them then save them onto my iPad, which in addition to encryption, also features passcodes.
  3. I want to save a photo/document to cloud storage but don’t necessarily want anyone to have easy, unencrypted access…simply, the easier to encrypt something, the easier it is to protect data.

In the past, I’ve written about AESCrypt.com, a great no-cost, open source solution for encrypting files. What limited this solution in the past (for me) was lack of access on my go-to devices, like iOS and Android.

You can use AESCrypt.com version on Mac, Windows and/or GNU/Linux to encrypt/decrypt such a file then securely safeguard it on your iOS device. You can find all the versions online at AESCrypt.com, which includes free, open source tools for every computer you have.

In the meantime, here’s what it looks like:
On an iPad, I use Readdle Documents–an awesome file management tool, audio/video player, ebook reader, zip/unzip utility, PDF viewer, cloud storage interface, and much more–quite a bit. One of its neat features is that you can easily copy content from your iPad’s Camera Roll to Documents’ file space. From there, you can pretty much go anywhere.

However, with iOS’s ability to OPEN IN, you can move many files directly into AESCrypt, an iPad app that provides the same functionality that appears in the desktop versions. Unfortunately, you have to pay for AESCrypt Pro version ($1.99 as an in-app purchase) which allows for encryption. Decryption is free, though.

Step 1: Open In AESCrypt iPad app

Step 2 – Once you open the file in AESCrypt PRO, you will be able to encrypt file.

Step 3: Type in the Password Confirmation

Step 4 – Open In Dropbox
Once the file was encrypted, you can OPEN IN Dropbox and save the file to Dropbox….

And, that’s pretty much it! Unfortunately, this solution won’t work on Chromebooks at all (although here are a few that do). Still, this is one way to ensure files are encrypted on your iOS device.

What fun!

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