Solution for PGP Desktop for Mac Mail Bundle and Snow Leopard

I’ll describe a simple workaround that may eliminate the need for the Mail Bundle forever.

I’m assuming that PGP Desktop is already installed in your system. I merely upgraded my Leopard to Snow Leopard and PGP Desktop is working fine save for the occasional non-critical crash.

The important part is to define PGP’s Encrypt and Decrypt-Verify commands as system-wide services. The Services menu is cumbersome to use but thanks to Snow Leopard, once you define a system-wide service, it pops up in the contextual menu when you right click.

For this to work, there are two important notes:
– You need to be in a text window.
– You need to be operating on editable text.

In Mail.app, when you want to Encrypt a message, just type it normally, then do a Select All. Right click to reveal the contextual menu and select Encrypt. Your message is ready to go, properly encrypted by PGP.

Decrypting received messages is just a little more tricky but you’ll get used to it in no time. The problem is the message does not contain editable text. Just hit reply to open a new message containing the received text. Of course this gives you the received text in an editable window. Now do a Select All and then right click to reveal the contextual menu, and finally select Decrypt-Verify. Now you have the original received message properly Decrypted. If you want to reply it at that point, write your reply and Encrypt as above. If you just want to read it and reply later, just discard the message window that contains the decrypted text.

It’s really easy and I see it no different that the routine with the Mail Bundle.

And now the mother of all tips: Since we’re talking of a system-wide service, the routine above works exactly the same using any web mail system be it Gmail, MobileMe or anything else.

Enjoy!

Postscript: Of course PGP Corporation could have given us something like this at exactly the time that they said “Don’t upgrade to Snow Leopard!” If, of course, they had been anything like a decent customer service company. It’s almost farcical to think that they should have banned me from PGP customer forums. I’m their best ally in the blogosphere trying to help PGP Desktop Mac users!

This is how your Services menu should look like.

This is how your Services menu should look like.

Thus you write your message and encrypt it. Once you manage to get Encrypt and Decrypt-Verify services in your contextual menu, happiness could not be far behind.

Thus you write your message and encrypt it. Once you manage to get Encrypt and Decrypt-Verify services in your contextual menu, happiness could not be far behind.

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5 Responses to “Solution for PGP Desktop for Mac Mail Bundle and Snow Leopard”


  1. 1 Nuri September 25, 2009 at 10:57 am

    The above only works for text. If you want to send an attachment, then you’ll have to PGP Zip it and attach.

  2. 2 Marko October 31, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Awesome. If you can figure out a way to use PGP on the iPhone, i’d pay you.

    • 3 Nuri October 31, 2009 at 5:01 pm

      I’ll pay you too 🙂

      The only way I can think of is doing a VPN connection to your desktop machine. There are utilities that allow you to do that. You can then run PGP on your desktop and view the result on your iPhone. The security of this will be as good as that of your VPN connex.

  3. 4 Alex October 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Hey, you might want to have a look at http://www.gpgmail.org in this context 😉
    Best regards, Alex

    • 5 Nuri October 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks a lot indeed. Ranting is sweet but a solution will be sweeter. I’ll test it right away. In 10.5 days it was not that easy or straightforward to install this solution – so far as I recall.


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