How to Open BitLocker Protected USB or Drive on macOS

Security is a very important issue for all of us. Especially in the digital age, we are constantly looking for ways to ensure our data stays safe and secure. May apps natively provide you with options to password lock USB or portable drive. These days, you will barely come across a system that isn't locked. So it is but natural for people to want to protect their external storage devices as well.

Windows popularly uses what is known as BitLocker to secure external USB drives and external hard discs. BitLocker has been developed by Microsoft and provides an optimal level of security for your devices. And since people tend to store data in external drives for prolonged periods of time, it's always a good idea to password protect them in case they fall in the wrong hands. BitLocker is an excellent tool with only one significant drawback - it only works with Windows systems. This means that if you ever make a change to a different OS in future, you will be locked out of your drive with no way to open the password protected drive with BitLocker encryption.

Mac users in particular face this issue a lot. Very often, people use certain USB drives for years with their Microsoft systems and then later Switch to a Mac. It's only when they try to open their USB drives do they realize that their BitLocker encryption has effectively blocked them from opening the drive on a Mac. But every problem comes with solutions and we have three of them for you to open BitLocker on Mac.

Open BitLocker on Mac Method 1: Format BitLocker Protected USB on macOS

BitLocker is essentially an added layer of protection that is installed on your USB to protect the data inside of it. One way to get rid of it would be to format your drive entirely but this only works if you are willing to lose all your data on that drive. Here's what you need to.

Step 1: Connect the BitLocked protected USB to Mac.

Step 2: Launch Disk Utility app.You can find it in Application folder or from Launchpad.

Step 3: Select the USB drive you are trying to open and click on 'Erase' option on the top menu bar.

Step 4: Once the box pops up, select the type of formatting you want to go for. Once formatting completes, your USB drive will now be good as new and free from any encryptions.

format usb on mac


This method works best when you are simply trying to salvage USB device and wish to reuse it for future storage. However, it is not ideal if you are trying to open the data on Mac as it effectively wipes it all out. In case you are looking for a way in which you can open your data, choose one of the other options.

Open BitLocker on Mac Method 2: Borrow a Windows PC

BitLocker is simply a tool offered by Windows and hence they won't let any other OS use it or open it without additional effort. Apple too hasn't been able to crack down and find a solution for making BitLocked protected drives compatible on Mac. One of the easiest ways to access your data and salvage your drive would be to borrow a Windows system or set up a Windows virtual machine with Virutalbox or VMWare. Here's what you need to do.

Step 1: Use a Windows system and connect your USB.

Step 2: Enter your USB password to unlock the BitLocker encryption.

Step 3: Now copy all the files to the Windows system and name the file accordingly.

Step 4: Now go to ‘My Computer', right click on the drive and format it. You would ideally want to format it to a version that can be opened by both Windows and Mac.

Step 5: After formatting, you will find that your USB drive can be opened without any encryption.

Step 6: No transfer all your data from the Windows system back to the drive.

Step 7: You can now freely open the USB drive on your Mac as well without any BitLocker encryption in place.

open bitlocker usb on windows 10


This is probably the best way to ensure the integrity and safety of your data. However, it is not always possible to have access to a Windows computer. And if you are in a situation where you can not get hold of another Windows computer, you might have to rely on third-party software to open BitLocker protected drive on Mac for you. In this case, we will share more details in Method 3.

Open BitLocker on Mac Method 3: BitLocker Reader for Mac

Opening BitLocked protected USB or Drive in direct way is not possible in the past. However, with more details of BitLocker algorithm being published by Microsoft, there is no problem to access BitLocker device on Mac with third-party apps. Apple is still no official support for BitLocker encryption on latest macOS Catalina. Now the key is to select the right software to do the job. iSumsoft's BitLocker Reader for Mac is currently your best option when it comes to opening BitLocker protected drives on a Mac system. Here's how it works.

Step 1: Download the pkg file of BitLocker Reader for Mac and follow the screen instructions to install the software on hard drive. You have to enter login password to permit the operation.

Step 2: Connect the BitLocked Protected USB and launch BitLocker Reader for Mac.

Step 3: Select the drive you want to open and click on the 'unlock' button. Another window will pop up. Type BitLocker password you set previously and click on the ‘Mount' button.

bitlocker read for mac


Step 4: Within seconds, your BitLocker protected drive will get unlocked and you will be able to easily open the files and folders on Mac computer..

bitlocker read for mac mount usb


BitLocker Reader for Mac can be used to open BitLocker protected drives on Mac every time. However, you can choose to format the drive after transferring your data and opt fo FileVault, a more Mac friendly security system.

The Bottom Line

If you have any BitLocker protected drives lying around and if you have already moved to a new Mac system, these methods will come in very handy to open BitLocked protected devices on macOS. It's always advisable to switch to Mac encryption methods to protect drives though you might want to keep your options open. In which case, something like a BitLocker Reader will help you unlock BitLocker drive on Mac with ease.