How do I recover permanently deleted files from my Mac?

MacBook M2

File deletion is a challenge many people are facing with storage devices. This often happens, especially when you have to delete old files to create space for new ones. If you deleted some files from your Mac recently to decongest it or for any good reason, you will be able to find and restore deleted files to your Mac.

However, getting your files may be tricky if you permanently delete the messages by emptying the trash or using the shift button. But you will still be able to recover your files.

In any case, you should be very careful next time before deleting files from your Mac. Ask yourself whether the files you are about to delete may become necessary in the future or they have reached their end of life and must be discarded. 

This article will illustrate the two methods you can use to recover permanently deleted files. Any of the four methods will apply to different situations, and you will be able to recover deleted files on a Mac. Read on to identify the best method to recover your files on Mac. 

Method 1: Use a third-party recovery software

The use of data recovery software is proven to be the best way to recover permanently deleted files on Mac. Even if you are using a different macOS, the version of the system will not affect your scan results.

Disk Drill is a professional-grade data recovery software that supports multiple storage devices and various versions of macOS. It will be the software to use in this case. 

Besides, the software has a quick action algorithm that helps it perform quick searches and scans regardless of the reasons behind the data loss. Whether this was caused by unintentional formatting, corrupted data, or mistaken deletion, Disk Drill will work around your device to get back the data in a suitable format.

Below are some of the critical features of Disk Drill software:

  • Offers free file scanning and previewing 
  • Offers recovery for multiple file systems and types such as JPG, TIFF, FAT, WAV, MP3, etc
  • Can recover files from nearly all storage devices, e.g., memory cards, cameras and camcorders, external drives, etc

To recover your files with this software, follow the steps outlined below.

Step 1: Scan for deleted files

You will need to download and install the software on your Mac before undertaking this process. However, if you have already installed the software, proceed to select the drive where you stored the files before being permanently deleted. 

Step 2: Filter the lost files

As we mentioned, Disk Drill performs quick and deep scans to return search results faster. This means the software is most likely to find several files from the deep searches making available several other files that may not have been in the list of your searches. 

This should, however, not worry you. In fact, it should be to your advantage that you will unearth several other files. Once the results are available, you will need to filter only the files you want by using the “Type” and “Path” options. 

Step 3: Recover deleted files

Once you have completed a scan and the results are on display, you will need to preview them and select the ones you intend to recover. Locate the “Recover” button and tap on it. This action initiates the recovery process, and it will send your files back to the folder where you lost them from. You can also choose new storage spaces to improve your user experience. This helps you maintain the integrity of your files and avoids overwriting other files.

Method 2: Use Time Machine backup

Time Machine is Mac’s backup solution. You must activate it on your system to use it when you need it, like now. Even if you emptied the trash bin, you would be sure to restore from Time Machine if you previously enabled this.

If you do not have a previous backup, remember to use this method to recover data from a Time Machine Backup. However, if the backup exists, follow the steps below to retrieve your files on Mac.

Step 1: Open the Time Machine by clicking on the icon and selecting “Enter Time Machine” or by simply searching for Time Machine using the “Spotlight”;

Step 2: Scroll the screen up and down until you can see the files you want to restore. To preview the files, press the space bar;

Step 3: Once you have located the files to be restored, click the button “Restore” and allow the deleted files to return to their original location;

This method is very effective in restoring Mac files, especially if your files have been deleted permanently or you have emptied the trash.

Mac mini

Generally, when you delete files from your Mac, the space your files leave after deletion is usually marked as “available.” This happens in all storage devices and is the reason why you cannot access deleted files from any storage device. 

Also, if you add more files to your storage device immediately, they will more likely occupy the “available” spaces. This makes it very difficult to recover the file because it disappears entirely from the area at that moment. That is why you may need to use data recovery software such as Disk Drill to get back your files.

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