How to Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive on Mac

Updated to File Recovery Tips by Robert on May 25, 2023 | Approved by Anthony Spadafora

An external hard drive is a great way to store and save significant amounts of data — lightweight and portable—so you can take them wherever you roam. Plus, instead of worrying about running out of space on your computer's disk, you can rely on the extra space offered by an external disk. However, data loss may occur while we enjoy the convenience it brings us. As a macOS user, if you are looking for ways to recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac, read on to learn about these solutions.

Quick Navigation
Part 1. Is it possible to recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac?
Part 2. Top 6 Best External Hard Drive Recovery Software for Mac
Part 3. How to Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive on Mac
Part 4. Tips for Keeping Your External Disk Data Safe
Part 5. Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac?

Most people think that if they delete a file from an external disk, it's gone forever. In some cases, this may be true, but removed contents can still be recovered as long as new data have not completely overwritten them. With the help of specialized software and some know-how, it is possible to retrieve files deleted from external hard drive on Mac. To this end, you can also take the following steps to increase your recovery rate.

After following the above tips, choosing a good tool can help you recover files from an external hard drive on Mac more quickly if you don't have a backup. If you are unsure which is more effective, you can also refer to the following six recovery procedures.

Top 6 Best External Hard Drive Recovery Software for Mac

Keeping track of digital data is essential in today’s world. The best disk recovery software is vital if you want to restore data from an external hard drive on Mac without backup. There are many different programs out there, so deciding which is suitable for your particular needs can be tricky. Fortunately, these six programs are all tried and true, allowing you to help yourself quickly.

  1. iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac
  2. iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac is one of the most reliable and robust recovery solutions available for macOS users. Its intuitive, user-friendly interface makes it one of the best options for those looking to recover deleted files on Mac quickly and with minimal effort. Using advanced scanning algorithms, it scans your external disk for lost data. Once the scan process has been completed, an easy-to-use list of recovered files can be organized and sorted by file name, extension, original file path, and time created. With just a few clicks, you can restore lost data to its original folder structure as before deletion.

    Recover 500M data from external hard drive on Mac for free.
    File types can be filtered to save scanning time.
    Can repair corrupted videos, pictures, etc.
    A deep scan takes time.
  3. R-Studio
  4. It is a comprehensive drive solution. It lets users quickly locate and find lost, deleted, or corrupted data from various storage devices, including hard disks, memory cards, USB drives, and other external devices. In addition to providing reliable and efficient data recovery services, it also features a user-friendly interface with step-by-step guidance and visual guides that make it easy for anyone to restore their files.

    Support RAID recovery
    Can create an emergency boot disk.
    Specific skills are required to use it.
    Slow scan
  5. TestDisk for Mac
  6. It is a powerful, free Mac data recovery software developed by the legendary It's an invaluable tool for users who have accidentally deleted or lost important files. TestDisk runs on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X systems and provides detailed reports on any detected issues with a hard drive or another storage device. With its impressive features and support for various operating systems, TestDisk makes it easier than ever to save valuable information from lost or damaged drives anytime, anywhere.

    Open-source Tool
    Provide additional features
    No user interface
    Can't preview file
  7. Disk Drill
  8. It is a good solution for recovering accidentally deleted files from an external hard drive on Mac. Not only does it get back lost items quickly and accurately, but it also saves time by only scanning the relevant file types so your files can be restored quickly. It features three recovery modes, including Quick Scan and Deep Scan, each of which facilitates recovery from different storage media with varying levels of severity.

    Supports multiple file systems
    Preview before recovery
    Some external drives are not recognized.
  9. EaseUS Data Recovery for Mac
  10. It is an easy-to-use tool that helps recover large amounts of deleted items on external hard disks quickly and efficiently. This software is designed with advanced algorithms to accurately scan and detect lost files, folders, images, videos, and other documents so that they can be effortlessly retrieved. With its navigation options, you can quickly complete a successful data recovery regardless of whether you’re a Mac newbie or an experienced user. Let it help you find those lost files!

    Supports all file types
    Can extract backup data from Time Machine
    The subscription model is unreasonable
    Sometimes it happens that the recovered files get corrupted.
  11. Recoverit for Mac
  12. If you have ever needed to recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac, then Recoverit is a choice. It provides users with an easy-to-use interface for getting data from various sources. Whether you accidentally deleted a few files or formatted the external disk, this application can help you quickly and safely retrieve your documents. And with the bonus of its high recovery rate, you can rest assured that recovered files are safe from potential threats. So if you need reliable external hard drive data recovery on your Mac, it is the way to go!

    It provides two recovery modes
    Fast scanning
    Some files cannot be previewed
    Simple filtration system

How to Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive on Mac

Obtaining those essential files that have mistakenly been deleted can feel like an impossible task. But, the process can be manageable. Recovering your lost data from an external hard drive on Mac is actually a simple process. But you need to use the right tools or methods. For this, you can choose the following methods according to the actual situation.

Ways 1. External Hard Drive Recovery on Mac withou Backup

In case of accidental deletion of files from an external drive without backup, they will be hidden from the system. We cannot free retrieve them manually. But this task can be done with free external hard drive recovery software. Here are the steps to use iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac to recover permanently deleted files from external hard drive on Mac free:

  1. Connect your external drive to your Mac computer.
  2. Download and install iBeesoft external hard disk recovery for Mac.
  3. After starting the software, filter the file type and click Start.
  4. Select the target drive and click on Scan.
  5. After completing the scanning, select the item you accidentally deleted and click the Recover button to save it.

Tip: If the Quick Scan doesn't find your missing files, you can also use the Deep Scan. It will scan sector by sector to extract more data.

Ways 2. Check Trash Folder to Get External Hard Disk Deleted Files

Your Mac computer and external drives have a folder for temporarily deleted data. So, you can go here to check if the accidentally removed item is here.

From Mac's Trash Bin:

  1. Click the Trash icon at the bottom right of macOS to open it.
  2. Browse its stored files. When you find what you need, please select it and right-click, choose "Put Back" to save it to your external drive again.

From Trash Folder of External Hard Drive:

  1. Open your external drive and click "Command + Shift + ."
  2. After refreshing, you will see the.Trashes folder.
  3. Open it and view the files you accidentally deleted.
  4. Once found, copy them to a new location.

Ways 3. Restore Deleted Files from External Hard Drive on Mac by Time Machine

Time Machine is a backup and restores tool built into macOS. If you have backed up files on your external hard drive before accidentally deleting them, you can get them back by the following methods.

  1. Connect the external disk used as a backup to your Mac and open Time Machine.
  2. Use the timeline to find previously backed-up items.
  3. Select the files you accidentally deleted and click "Restore" to restore them.

Ways 4. Get Your External Hard Drive Lost Files from Data Recovery Services

They are an invaluable resource in today's digital world. By leveraging powerful tools and methods, a data recovery service can save sensitive documents, important files, or even irreplaceable memories from oblivion. If the above methods of undelete files from an external hard drive on Mac failed, then you still try it. For this, you can search for "Data Recovery Service" to get related services, but it is more expensive.

Tips for Keeping Your External Hard Disk Data Safe

Securing external disk data should be a top priority in this digital age. It's essential to take precautions against losing or exposing critical documents, images, videos, and other information stored on an external hard drive. Fortunately, there are some simple tips that you can use to keep your data safe when using an external disk.

By committing to these easy tips, you will be well on your way toward preserving your external hard drive's valuable files from any malicious attack or accidental loss!

Frequently Asked Questions


It can be highly frustrating if an external hard disk file gets deleted accidentally. Luckily, you can quickly recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac with some methods provided in this article. Ultimately, it would help if you took a few essential tips to preserve potentially critical files and backups to other drives, so you don’t find yourself in an undesirable situation again.