Recovering Files on Mac – A Complete Guide

June 21, 2022

Macs are robust and powerful devices that are used by millions of users around the world. There are numerous reasons why users prefer Apple’s Macs over other powerful computers. For starters, each component of Macs is designed to last and offer top-tier performance. Moreover, the operating system of Macs, namely macOS, features tons of top-tier native utilities and offers support for all major third-party applications. This facilitates users to use almost any application on their Mac and easily perform even the most demanding tasks. 

Most new Macs come with lightning-fast Solid State Drives or SSDs that offer excellent read and write speed. Hence, users can store tons of files without worrying about their Mac underperforming. Moreover, besides offering top-tier performance, Mac’s OS offers users numerous ways to recover deleted files on their Mac. This article will shed light on some of the most effective methods using which macOS users can recover deleted files without hassle. Let us get right into it:

  • Recover Files from Trash

Like other major operating systems like Windows, macOS also features a special folder called Trash. All deleted files are stored in this location before the user permanently deletes them from there. It stores a variety of files, including both big and small ones. For instance, if you are wondering how to recover unsaved excel file Mac from the Trash folder, you can conveniently recover it from the Trash folder by two-finger-clicking on the item and selecting the “Put back” option. Similarly, if you wish to recover deleted photos from the Trash folder, you can easily select all the pictures you wish to retrieve from the folder and click on the “Put back” option. The approximate time to recover a file from the Trash folder depends on the size. Generally, it takes about a minute for the recovery process to complete. The Trash folder automatically empties itself after thirty days. Thus, if you do not recover the deleted file after thirty days, you would need to opt for another recovery method to retrieve your file. 

  • Retrieve Deleted Files using macOS’ native Terminal Utility

According to Wikipedia, Terminal is a macOS’ in-built terminal emulator which offers users text-based access to the various features and functionalities of macOS. If you are well-versed with the command-line interface, the Terminal utility is a great tool you can use to recover deleted files on your Mac. By following the given steps, you can easily recover any deleted file present on your Mac:

Step 1 – Open the Terminal utility from the “Utilities” menu in the “Application” section or use Spotlight to access the application. 

Step 2 – Type “cd. Trash” to access your Mac’s Trash folder using Terminal.

Step 3 – Enter the following command to view the list of items in the Trash folder – “Is -al ~/.Trash”. 

Step 4 – Input “mv filename ../ to move or restore the required file from the Trash folder to its original location. 

If you are looking for a quick method to retrieve deleted files on your Mac, you can seriously consider using the Terminal utility of macOS. 

  • Restore Files from iCloud Backup

iCloud is Apple’s native cloud storage platform. It is a cloud-based service that works exceptionally well with all Apple devices, including Macs. Most Mac users store plenty of files on their device’s local storage component. Moreover, numerous individuals also create a data backup on their iCloud accounts. Suppose you have accidentally deleted an important file from your Mac and wish to recover it. In that case, you can conveniently do so by going to the iCloud app, opening the file’s location, and redownloading it. If you use multiple Apple devices, iCloud backups come in very handy, especially when you wish to access a file on another Apple device, such as your iPhone or iPad. 

  • Recover Permanently Deleted Files using a Third-Party Recovery Application

If you have lost an important file permanently, i.e., if it has been permanently deleted from the Trash, one of the most effective methods following which you can conveniently recover the file is by using a powerful third-party data recovery software for Mac. There are numerous applications readily available, from free ones to ones requiring a monthly subscription fee or a one-time purchase fee. Even though free ones get the job done, paid recovery applications feature tons of top-notch tools using which you can conveniently recover deleted files within minutes. One such app is Disk Drill. To recover files using the powerful third-party data recovery utility, you need to open the app, tap on the “Recover” button, wait for the deep scan to finish, select the files you wish to recover from the search results and click on the “Recover” button. Then, select the destination where you wish to save the recovered files and begin the recovery process by clicking on the “Choose” option. 

Irrespective of how big or small a file is, you can conveniently recover it by using one of the methods mentioned above.

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