How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac

How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac

Deleting files from a hard drive is a common activity that all computer users undertake at one point or another. However, from time to time, someone might erase an important file by accident and recovering it proves to be a crucial task. Luckily, there are several ways to recover your deleted files and I will present each of them in the guide below.

1. Check Trash

The first thing you will need to do is check the Trash. Trash is the place where all the files that you deleted from your Mac are stored until you empty it. You can easily accessed Trash your Dock. In order to recover the erased files, simply right click on the file and choose the "Put Back" option. Once you have done that, the file will be sent to its original location (the location from where you have deleted it).

Trash RecoveryTrash Recovery

However, if you have recently emptied the Trash, then one of the next steps might help you out.

2. Using the Time Machine

Time MachineTime Machine

In case you didn't know, your Mac OS X comes with a tool, called Time Machine, that allows you to create a backup of everything on your system, including applications, settings, media files, documents and so on. In case you have deleted some important files from your hard drive and you have a backup created with Time Machine, then you are lucky, because you can easily restore them with just a few clicks of a mouse. 

First, you will have to open Time Machine. In order to do that, you can either click on the icon from the menu bar or access the tool from th "Applications" menu. Now it is time to find your backup file. If, by any chance, your backup file is stored on an external drive (a flash drive, for instance), then make sure to connect it to your Mac. You can either manually browse your snapshots (backup versions) or you can quickly find a specific snapshot using the search function. Once you have located the snapshot, simply open it (preview it) with a double click, find the desired file you want to recover, select it and click on the "Restore" button in the bottom right corner of the screen. The file will be placed in its original location.

Restore FileRestore File

3. Use a data recovery software

If you have emptied the Trash and you don't have a backup created with Time Machine, still, there is no need to worry. There are plenty of specialized applications, called data recovery tools, that will help you recover deleted files. For this guide I have chosen the Data Recovery Wizard tool from EaseUS, because it is easy to use and quite popular among Mac users searching for a free solution for recovering deleted or lost files.

File Type SelectionFile Type Selection

The first thing you will have to do, after launching the app, is selecting the type of files you want to recover (simply check the box to select the type of file you are looking for or select all types). Once you have done that, choose the desired drive you want to scan and click on the "Scan" button to start.

Drive SelectionDrive Selection

After the process ends, just check the boxes for each of the files you want to recover and click on the "Recover" button and provide the location where the file will be saved to.

File SelectionFile Selection


As you can see, one of these three methods should help you recover the files you accidentally deleted from your Mac. However, one thing you might consider when trying to recover your files using a data recovery software is to stop using your drive and refrain from creating, saving or deleting other files. This way, you lower the chances for your files to be overwritten, thus, increasing the chance of recovery.

If you want to use other data recovery tools to restore your files, then check the list below:

Alternative downloads