How to Recover Lost Files on Mac

Updated to macOS Data Recovery Tips by Nancy on Mar 16, 2023 | Approved by Christian Cawley

It is a painful moment that you lost files on Mac and have to try hard to recover lost files on Mac. Actually, there are many issues that will case files loss while you’re using the Mac, accidental deletion, emptied the trash, macOS system corruption, the hard drive corruption, system errors, intentional or unintentional hard drive formatting, etc. In this case, the best way to prevent files loss on Mac is to back them up regularly to an external hard drive. Anyway, if you lost files on Mac, try the following 3 simple ways for how to recover lost files on Mac without/with software.

Quick Navigation
Method #1. Best and Safest Way to Recover Lost Files on Mac
Method #2. How to Find Lost Files on Mac from Trash Can
Method #3. How to Restore Lost Files on Mac from Time Machine

Method #1. Best and Safest Way to Recover Lost Files on Mac

Lost files on Mac? You must be wondering how to find lost files on Mac. In fact, there are many ways to find lost files on a Mac. However, the safest and best way to recover lost files on Mac is to use file recovery Mac software. Because doing so, it will not cause your lost Mac files to be overwritten and cannot be recovered. Only with a professional tool, it is possible for you to scan and find lost files on Mac. The sooner the better. Otherwise, you will lose the chances to recover lost files on Mac. All lost files are still on the hard drive at the first place, not visible, and waiting to be overwritten by new data. If you can’t rescue them quickly, they will disappear soon.

The Mac lost file recovery I want to recommend to you is iBeesoft Data Recovery. It supports more than 1000 file types, allowing you to recover the commonly used lost files from Mac and recover deleted files on Mac. And it is quite easy to use, which only takes you 3 simple steps, you can see the target files are there.

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Steps for How to Recover Lost Files on Mac

Here are the steps for how to use iBeesoft Data Recovery to recover lost files on Mac. First, please click the download button to download the installation package of the Mac lost files recovery software. Next, double-click the .dmg, then drag the icon to the APP folder to install it there. It is a secure tool. Feel free to use it.

Step 1. Target the Lost File Types

Launch the lost file recovery Mac software and then you can see all the supported file types are checked by default. Please only keep the file types you need to be checked, and uncheck the unwanted ones, preparing for the scanning process. Click "Start" to find lost files on Mac.

Step 2. Select Volume/Disk to Scan Lost Mac Files

After selecting the file types to scan, then you’re supposed to select the volume or disk on the Mac to scan for the lost files. All the hard disk and external devices are displayed in the main window. Select the one where the target files are lost and click the "Scan" button, letting the mac lost file recovery tool scan for the lost files on Mac.

Step 3. Recover Lost Files on Mac

There is a progress bar on the software telling you how it goes on with the scanning process. Next, after the scanning process, all found files are displayed in the main window. All files are sorted into the category. Find the one on the right side, and check out the files on the right side. Select the files you want and click "Recover" to recover lost files on Mac.

The default scanning mode is Quick Scan. If you can’t find the expected result in the windows, please try "Deep Scan". It will scan deeper for the lost files for you.

Method #2. How to Find Lost Files on Mac from Trash Can

Whenever you realize you have lost files on Mac, the first place to looking for these lost files is to check out the trash can. If you deleted the files unconscientiously and it happened within 30 days, then it is very likely you can recover deleted files on Mac from trash. Find the trash can in Finder, point the mouse there to see the files. If you find lost files on Mac, drag and drop them to the desktop.

If you emptied the Mac trash, please click here to recover deleted files from emptied trash on Mac.

You can also try to search for the lost files from trash can by using the spotlight. Click the spotlight icon on the top right of the window > type in the file name in the box > use Command + click way to select the files > click the "File" menu in the upper left corner for the screen > choose "Put Back" to Mac recover lost files.

Method #3. How to Restore Lost Files on Mac from Time Machine

If you have emptied the trash can, you can restore lost files from Time Machine. By default, Time Machine backs up every copy of your files regularly.

If you don't use the Time Machine to back files or not find the lost files, you can use method 1 to find lost files on Mac.

Click to open the Spotlight on the upper right of the window and type in "Time Machine" to search the app. It is an app with a clock on it. After then, open it. Click the folder from where you have lost the file in the left side of Time Machine window. Scroll down the window for the files you have lost > select file(s) and click the Restore button. Please note that only after you select the files, the Restore button will appear.