I would like to have an encrypted USB stick that I can use with Windows and OS X.

I could format it as FAT32 and then have a encrypted image files (more than one due to the file size limitation of 4GB) that I could mount on both, and have the software to do it on the stick itself.

Any suggestion on the best format?

  • Max file size in FAT32 file systems is (4 GiB − 1 Byte) ergo the encrypted image isn't very large!? – klanomath Dec 24 '15 at 9:42
  • @klanomath I forgot about the limit on file size. It complicates the thing: now I should look for a format which is encrypted and can be split in several parts. – Matteo Dec 24 '15 at 9:45

Buy a USB flash drive that uses hardware encryption, where the unlock mechanism doesn't depend a software client, then format it however you prefer. An example of this would be a USB flash drive with a a biometric sensor which can scan a finger, or a built-in keypad where you can enter a PIN to unlock the drive. Several vendors sell hardware encrypted flash drives like these, including Apricorn and Imation.


Neither OS X nor Windows have on-board tools to read their mutual encrypted file system (FileVault2 / BitLocker).

The only solution I found so far is using a third-party tool:


  • Dislocker

    This software has been designed to read BitLocker encrypted partitions under Linux and Mac OSX systems.

Third party file system:

  • LaCie's Private-Public (download page/Documentation). On the Mac side you have to install OSXFuse additionally.

    The software seems to be free of charge.


You could try VeraCrypt, which is a fork of the now-defunct TrueCrypt. This will let you encrypt the whole device and make a Fat32 or NTFS partition inside the encrypted volume. It supports OS X and Windows.

** Note that for MacOSX 10.6 and newer, OSXFuse must be installed as per VeraCrypt's "System Requirements" at https://veracrypt.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=VeraCrypt%20Volume


I would look at using an IronKey USB stick.

I use one of these at work almost every day, and move files between Mac and Windows systems all the time. It’s the best solution we’ve found to keep data safe.

The biggest drawback is the price. They are NOT cheap when compared to other USB stick drives.


Rich Trouton is right. A hardware encrypted USB device would solve the problem. Otherwise you can use use a third party cross platform encryption tool like EasyLock. It works on Windows and OS X, but I couldn't make it work on Linux.

  • 1
    You have been warned here – bummi Dec 30 '15 at 10:00

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