How to send encrypted email

Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
June 5, 2024
7 minutes to read

If you want to know how to send a secure email, you’re on the right page. In this guide, we will explain how to encrypt email, which encrypted email services to use, and the best way to send private emails. encryptes email


  1. What is an encrypted email?
  2. How to send encrypted email messages in Apple Mail
  3. How to encrypt email Mac messages in Gmail
  4. Alternative ways to encrypt emails

Before we start

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What is an encrypted email?

Ordinary email and network communication do not provide any protection mechanisms, so emails sent in the usual way are not protected from being intercepted and read. The point is that a copy of the electronic message remains in the server cache of your ISP. In addition, if you send a message outside the home, the network servers in your workplace or the Internet café also store a copy of your letter. Copies of the message remain on all servers through which the message passes along the path to the recipient. Thus, system administrators of these servers can read your letter.

Encryption of an email message means that the ordinary plain text is encoded using a special key. Only the recipient can decrypt the message for reading. Any other person cannot decipher the text. The tasks of message encryption are:

  • To protect the content of already received and prepared-for-sending letters from outside eyes.
  • To protect the letters from being intercepted and read while being transferred.

Even if you have nothing to hide, you should encrypt emails to protect the privacy of those you communicate with.
Currently, there are various solutions for email encryption, and now we are going to share them.

How to send encrypted email messages in Apple Mail

Apple Mail uses S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) for encryption, which provides a way to send encrypted messages. To use S/MIME, you need a personal certificate (also known as a digital ID) installed on your Mac. This certificate is linked to your email address and ensures that you are the legitimate sender of the messages.

Steps to send encrypted email messages in Apple Mail:

Step 1 – Create an encryption certificate

  1. Open the Keychain Access app. Navigate it using the Spotlight.
  2. In the menu bar, click Keychain Access → Certificate Assistant and select Request a Certificate From a Certificate Authority.
  3. Requesting sertificate
  4. Enter the required information, choose to be saved to disk, and click Continue.
  5. Certificate assistance window
  6. Once the file is created, go to Finder and open it using the Certificate Assistant app.
  7. Follow the instructions and provide the required information. Choose to create a certificate for yourself.
  8. Choosing options for a certificate
  9. When your certificate is created, click Done. It will automatically be added to the Keychain.
  10. Save also your recipient’s certificate in your keychain.

Step 2 – Send an encrypted email

  1. Open the Mail app.
  2. In the menu bar, click Mail and select New message.
  3. Creating an encrypted message
  4. Ensure you’re sending an email from the mail address you created a certificate.
  5. Click the Digital signing icon to turn it on in the Subject field.
  6. Click also on the Lock icon to close it and encrypt your message when sent.
  7. Once you have composed your message and attached any necessary files, click Send. Your email will now be sent with encryption, protecting its contents from unauthorized access.
  8. New message window

How to encrypt email Mac messages in Gmail

Sending encrypted emails in Gmail is much easier. Gmail provides a Confident mode and here’s how to use it:

  1. Open Gmail in your browser.
  2. Click to compose a new message.
  3. At the bottom, click the Lock icon.
  4. Creating an encrypted message in Gmail
  5. In the pop-up window, set a passcode and an expiration date. If you choose No SMS passcode, it means that the recipients can directly open the email using the Gmail app. If you choose the SMS passcode, your recipients can open the message only using the text passcode sent in SMS.
  6. Click Save.

Alternative ways to encrypt emails

There are many other options for sending secure and safe email. We’ve collected a list of the best encrypted email services that you can use to safely send confidential information on the Internet, protecting it as much as possible from interception by third parties. Choose the system that best suits your personal preferences.

Firefox Encrypted Communication
The Firefox browser provides a plugin, which is called Encrypted Communication. The principle of operation is the following: the plugin must be installed in both the sender’s and the receiver’s browsers.

PGP (Pretty Good Privacy)
Besides the browser extensions, there is a more elegant solution – using PGP. It is suitable for desktop email clients, as well as for the most web applications (Gmail, Outlook, Google Apps, Yahoo, etc.). This method uses two keys – the public and private one. The sender creates a message and encrypts it using the recepient’s Public key. As soon as it is encrypted, only the recipients can read the message using their private keys. In short, the Private key is a key for decrypting the message, so it’s important to keep this key in a safe place and protect it from being hacked.

Sendinc Secure Email
Sendinc Secure Email is a free web service for sending sensitive information by email. No additional installation software is required. The messages are encrypted using powerful, randomly-generated encryption keys, which are sent by email and delivered to recipients in the form of a link. The Sendinc service does not store copies of encryption keys and your message can not be decrypted without a special key – not even Sendinc. This means that only the receiver can decode the message data.

Burn Note
Burn Note is a free web application that allows you to conduct private conversations on the Internet. Enter a note and protect it with a password. After clicking the Send button, the link is generated. Once you send the link and password to the recipient and he reads the message, the message will self-destruct. Also, each message in Burn Note is completely erased from the servers after a certain amount of time that you specify.

Comodo Secure
Comodo Secure offers a service to create the most secure email. There are no exchanging passwords in Recipients will automatically get instructions for decrypting the encrypted email. Sending email messages with is as easy as sending a regular email through a web client.

Virtual Private Network
There are lots of other end-to-end encryption email services and applications, and all of them are at least worth trying. But if you send important documents related to your work, then it is not recommended to use free services. In this case, we recommend that you use a more secure way to protect your data – a virtual private network software (VPN).

A VPN is a secure channel that creates a VPN tunnel where all the traffic is encrypted. Thus, nobody can intercept the data. VPN encrypts not only your emails but also any other correspondence that you send via messengers like Skype, Slack, and so on. Also, a VPN provides many more additional advantages, such as accessing restricted sites, changing your IP address, and browsing anonymously.

Whether you’re a business professional or someone who values personal privacy, encrypted email empowers you to take control of your digital communications. So, don’t wait any longer – safeguard your online interactions and start reaping the benefits of encrypted email today using this guide.

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