How To Recover Deleted, Unsaved, or Corrupted PDF Files

Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips Updated by Nancy on June 14, 2024 | Approved by William

The PDF(Portable Document Format) is a file format that Adobe created in the 1990s. It can independently encapsulate text, graphics, embedded fonts, hyperlinks, videos, interactive buttons, forms, etc., in a single file. So, we can open it on any device or operating system without an app. PDF has the characteristics of high integration and safety, and reliability. Therefore, many product manuals, e-books, contracts, and more are saved in PDF format. It is easy to open and view, making it a popular document-sharing choice.

While PDFs are convenient and easy to use, they can also be frustratingly easy to lose. If you accidentally delete a PDF, format the partition/disk, empty the recycle bin, etc., you may be in the frustrating position of trying to salvage them. However, there is no need to despair. You can easily recover PDFs on Mac or Windows PC with little knowledge and the right tools. Here, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help you get them back.

Quick Navigation
Part 1. Is it possible to Recover An Unsaved or Deleted PDF File?
Part 2. How to Recover An Unsaved PDF File
Part 3. How to Recover Permanently Deleted PDF Files [Still applies to formatting drives and other common data loss.]
Part 4. How to Restore Corrupted PDF Files Using Online Tools
Part 5. Bonus Tip: How to Protect PDF files from Accidental Deletion and Corruption
Part 6. Frequently Asked Questions for PDF Recovery

Is it possible to Recover An Unsaved or Deleted PDF File?

Yes, you can check the Recycle Bin for deleted items. If you have ever made a backup of them, you can also restore lost PDF files using File History, Time Machine, iCloud or backup software. If you still can't see the missing ones, the last resort can be adaptable data recovery software or the tool's Autosave options. You can recover unsaved PDF files or even remove ones, but some conditions must be met for the operation to be successful.

Finally, start the retrieval work as soon as possible. The longer the PDF file disappears, the lower the chances of recovery.

How to Recover An Unsaved PDF File

Have you ever accidentally closed a PDF document without saving it first? Or maybe you were editing a PDF, and your computer crashed before you had a chance to save your changes. If you find yourself in either of these situations, don't panic! There are a few things you can try to recover unsaved PDF files on Mac/Windows PC.

Ways 1. Using the PDF Reader's Autosave Feature

Mainstream PDF readers such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit, Javelin, and others have a built-in Autosave function that works similarly to the Word application. This means that if the program closes unexpectedly due to a sudden situation, you can reopen the program and retrieve the unsaved PDF file.

  1. After reopening, the reader will prompt you to have one or more recoverable documents.
  2. Click "Yes"; the program will open all unsaved PDF files.
  3. In the open file, check your target document. Finally, click the save button to re-save it.

Tip: If you are using Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can also go to "File > Open Recent" to see if the unsaved PDF is listed. If it is, click on it to open it up and save it to your computer.

Ways 2. Check the Temp Folder

If the above solution does not work, you can try opening your Temporary Files folder to recover unsaved PDF files in Windows 11/10 and Mac.

  1. Please go to the corresponding folder according to your system.
  2. Open the temporary folder, and look for a file with the .tmp extension.
  3. After confirming the target file against similar files, open it in the reader and re-save it.

If all else fails, don't despair. You may be able to recover unsaved PDFs by using data recovery software. It will scan your drive and try to find previously saved PDF files.

How to Recover Permanently Deleted PDF Files on Mac/Windows

It can be frustrating to have important PDF files disappear without a trace. Whether you accidentally delete them or drive errors. However, there is hope for recovery if you act quickly. Here, You can rely on iBeesoft Data Recovery.

It is a robust app that allows for the seamless recovery of PDF files. This comprehensive software for PDF recovery also assists in recovering Word documents, photos, audio, video, etc., that got deleted permanently. It also helps in repairing files that get corrupted. In simple steps, you can get your lost PDF document instantly.

Your Safe & Effective PDF File Recovery Software

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
  • It supports retrieving PDF files from the computer, external hard drive, and more. In this case, you can think of it whenever you lose or delete them.
  • It has two scan modes: Quick Scan for time-saving and Deep Scan for a better PDF recovery result.
  • It was fully compatible with macOS and Windows PC.
Download for Windows Download for macOS

To Recover Deleted PDF Files in Windows 11/10/7

  1. Download the iBeesoft data recovery software and tap for its installation on your Windows PC.
  2. Launch it and click "Select Folder" to locate the disappeared PDF location.
  3. Select the found PDF and click "Preview" to check it.
  4. After seeing the target files, please select and click Recover to save them on your PC.

To Recover Deleted PDF Files on Mac

As stated above about iBeesoft data recovery software in detail, let us move on to what it can do for your Mac and how it can help you recover permanently deleted files on Mac.

  1. Start by downloading and installing iBeesoft Mac data recovery software. Allow it to launch, and go ahead by clicking on the Start option. Make sure you select only the PDF files you wish to recover to save your valuable time.
  2. Select a volume from where you lost your PDF files and tap on 'Scan.'
  3. Let it finish the process, then select file types from the left panel and observe the files' details. Once you can find the target files, make their selection and tap on the 'Recover' option to save them on your Mac.

Tip: You can be trying to retrieve permanently deleted PDF files or any other type of document; ibeesoft Data Recovery is worth your try. If it fails, you can still find PDFs with the help of a data recovery service. However, they are usually more expensive and time-consuming.

How to Restore Corrupted PDF Files Using Online Tools

Almost like any other format used for files, PDFs can get corrupted and can not open. The problem arises due to the shutdown of the system unexpectedly, errors with the software, malware, or anything

You can recover a PDF file in a healthy version using efficient data recovery software. However, if you are looking for ways to repair corrupt PDF files, some online tools might help.

If you're searching for a good and instant option to recover corrupted PDF files that are small and are required urgently, then comes to your rescue. It helps you repair PDF files without logging in or signing up.

Straightforward web design.
Valuable functions that are powerful as well.
It helps in repairing files from Dropbox and Google Drive too.
It is not ideal for bulk PDF files.

Step-by-Step Guide to Recover a Corrupt PDF File by ilovepdf

  1. On the homepage of, navigate to find the Repair PDF tool.
  2. Make a selection for the required file that needs repair from your PC, Dropbox, or Google Drive. You can continue by dragging, dropping, or tapping on the button to bring the file directly to the canvas.
  3. Tap on the button for Repair PDF.
  4. Tap to download the repaired file. Alternatively, make use of Dropbox or Google Drive to save your work. is an excellent option if you want a free opportunity to recover corrupted PDF files. You can easily upload PDF files from your PC, Mac, or even cloud drives like One Drive, Google Drive or Dropbox. Once your work gets done, the files get deleted from its database.

Easy to use.
Seamless drag and drop option.
Repairs documents only up to 50 Mb or 200 pages or three tasks hourly.

Guide to Fix Damaged PDF with Sejda

  1. Make a selection of your PDF files and upload them by tapping on the 'Upload your files' option to upload files from your PC. You can also drag and drop your files directly too.
  2. Now tap on the Repair PDF button and wait until the process is complete.

Bonus Tip: How to Protect PDF files from Accidental Deletion and Corruption

PDF files are a great way to share documents and images, but they can be easily corrupted or deleted by accident. To help protect your PDF files, there are a few simple steps you can take.

By following these recommendations, you can ensure that your PDF files are safe from accidental loss and corruption.

Frequently Asked Questions for PDF Recovery

PDF is commonly used for sharing documents and can be viewed on many devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. However, they can become corrupted or disappear like another file type. If you encounter such a problem, don't despair. Here, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about PDF file recovery or fixing a corrupted PDF.


PDF is a format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. Occasionally, it may also be damaged or disappear. To avoid such a disaster, we suggest you have your hands on multiple backups for your valuable data. But if you need to retrieve unsaved PDF files, the best option is to use the AutoSave feature. And if you want to recover deleted PDF files on Mac /Windows without backup, you can use iBeesoft Data Recovery.