Encrypt files on Dropbox then view them on your iPhone or iPad with DataLocker


Ever wished you could view encrypted Dropbox files on your iPhone or iPad? It’s easy to encrypt any file on your desktop – there are many good freeware programs that can do that – and easy to share these files on Dropbox; but what if you wanted to view encrypted files on your iPhone or iPad? In this case you will need an encryption platform that can work on the portable devices as well as desktops, and that is precisely what DataLocker provides; Windows, Mac, and iOS file decryption and decryption.

How it works: first off you have to install Datalocker on your Dropbox-connected PC or Mac. Next, use the Datalocker desktop client to password-encrypt your files, and share these on Dropbox.Finally, install the Datalocker app on your iOS device and grant it access to your Dropbox app.

You can now use the Datalocker app to browse files just as you would (and in place of) the Dropbox app, with the difference that it is able to view your encrypted files as well.

DataLocker Screenshot1DataLocker Screenshot2 - iOS app

The system works pretty well. Here are more notes:

  • Encryption type: unsure of this. Could not find information on the Datalocker site.
  • File encryption: is done via a nice drag and drop interface on the desktop client.
  • File decryption: on iOS, simply browse to the encrypted file just as you would any other, and type the password in. You can store ‘Passphrases’ in the iOS app to avoid typing them in every time.

Wish list: or how this software can be even better.

  • Windows integration: it would be nice to be able to decrypt/encrypt files via the right click context menu.
  • The option to delete the original file being encrypted automatically, would be nice. Currently, once you encrypt the file you have to manually delete the original manually.
  • Android support: was very surprised to learn that there isn’t an Android app.

The verdict: this software offers a simple system that works. If you want to view encrypted files on your desktop, DataLocker is a great way to do it. Keeping fingers crossed for Android support.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac (32 bit and 64 bit). iPhone and iPad.

Go to the program home page to download the desktop client (you will have to register using a valid email and will be emailed a download link) . Next, install the Datalocker iOS app to be able to view it on iOS.

  • Hi,

    I’m Head of Research at AppSense, and I wrote the Windows, Mac, and (part of the) iOS clients for DataLocker. Many thanks for your review. We hope you and your readers find this tool useful.

    You asked a question about the encryption. The short answer is that it uses AES 256bit symmetric encryption (with IVs and salts etc…). The long answer is that this is something we are looking to write up in a blog post soon, which will be posted here: http://www.appsense.com/blog

    Hope this helps.


  • Great article, thanks! Downloading it now to check it out. 🙂

    Quick comment. Typo:

    “Every wished you could view encrypted Dropbox files on your iPhone or iPad? ”

    should probably be:

    “Ever wished you could view encrypted Dropbox files on your iPhone or iPad? “

    • Samer

      @ snipe: you’re right. Typo fixed!

  • raZar

    Can you find a program like this that does not require online service would be far more useful.

  • Chumpy


    Really liking the idea of DataLocker, especially the encrypting of a whole hierarchy of folder and files.

    A couple of questions for Rich:

    1) Does DataLocker require an Internet connection to encrypt/decrypt files or is it a pure native app?

    2) Will an Android app be developed soon?


  • nxb3942

    Depending on whether you want to use DropBox for consumer or businesses purposes, it may or may not be right for you. For businesses in many regulated industries, DropBox is not compliant. Their website clearly states this:
    And simply adding encryption usually doesn’t ensure everything needed for businesses. Dropbox Enterprise File Transfer from Thru is the secure solution for businesses and enterprises. Their solutions have been working for large businesses for ten years without a single security breach.