How to Recover Deleted Files from USB Flash Drive on Mac for Free

Updated to macOS Data Recovery Tips by Robert on Sep 17, 2022 | Approved by Cesar C

Regardless of our system, USB drives are an essential part of our daily routines. We use them to carry all kinds of data; some even use them as permanent storage solutions on smaller devices. Suppose you need a USB drive to work every day. You must be wondering how to restore files from flash drive on Mac free if they get deleted or lost. Here, we will share some methods to recover USB flash drive with/without software.

Quick Navigation
Part 1. What to Do When You Accidentally Delete a File on a USB Flash drive?
Part 2. Restore Deleted Files from USB Drive on Mac without Software
Part 3. Free Recover Deleted Files from USB Drive on Mac with Software
Part 4. Other Freeware to Retrieve Data from Flash Drive on Mac
Part 5. Under What Circumstances We Cannot Free USB Drive Recovery on Mac
Part 6. Tips to Avoid Further Data Loss on Flash Drive
Part 7. How to Repair the Corrupted USB Flash Drive on Mac

Part 1. What to Do When You Accidentally Delete a File on a USB Flash drive?

Ensure that you give your USB drive maximum chances of recovery on Mac and do not lose any data. Some of the rules you must follow to avoid data loss permanently.

Each of these Don'ts and Dos will play a critical role in ensuring that you do not lose your data and can resume most or even all of it later.

Part 2. Restore Deleted Files from USB Drive on Mac without Software

Before you can move on to third-party solutions, looking at the options provided on your Mac by default for data recovery is a good idea. You can look at two places if you want to recover deleted files from a USB drive on Mac for free. You can check them, but both require applicable conditions. let's get to know them.

1. Using Time Machine Backup

Apple provides Mac users with the option to make a backup of their computer using a dedicated backup tool called Time Machine. This app comes preinstalled on all Macs and if you have taken steps to create a Time Machine backup of your files then you can easily find them from there.

  1. Connect the drive that contains your Backup to Mac.
  2. Launch the "Time Machine" app.
  3. Use the arrows and timeline to check the backup files.
  4. Please select the file and then select the "Restore" option to copy them successfully to your Mac.

Tips: this method will only work if you made a backup before losing your flash drive files.

2. Get Data Back from iCloud

Not everyone wants to use their Mac's storage to create backups, and if you are one of those people, then you might have an iCloud backup in place. If you do, it is a great place to look for your lost files. Having an online backup is convenient, and you can access it anywhere, which is why so many Mac owners use iCloud in the first place. If you have a backup of your remove file on iCloud and you want to retrieve files from USB drive on Mac free through iCloud, then here are the steps that you need to take:

  1. Open the iCloud on your browser and log in to your account.
  2. Click on the "Account Settings" option to open iCloud Settings.
  3. In the screen that appears, find the Advanced section, and under that section, click on the "Restore Files" option.
  4. The system will now search for all the files you can recover from your iCloud backup.
  5. Select the need files you and click on the "Restore" Files button to download them to your Mac.

If you want to get everything in your iCloud storage, you can take the faster route and click on the Select All option to restore all files.

Part 3. Free Recover Deleted Files from USB Drive on Mac with Software

One of the easiest ways you can use to recover files from a USB drive on a Mac for free is a data recovery software tool. While there are plenty of options that you can choose from, iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac is a great option.

Another great feature of iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac is that it supports hundreds of file formats, so even less commonly used files can be identified and recovered. The app also allows you to recover 500MB files free of charge, and with its preview option, you can decide which files you need to recover and which ones you need to ignore. It also will help you recover data from formatted disks, USB drives, SD cards, and more for free.

To Recover Files Deleted from USB Drive on Mac for Free using Software:

  1. Download iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac, then install and run it.
  2. Connect your USB drive to your Mac.
  3. On the main screen, click on the large "Start" button in the middle to begin the recovery process. You can also select specific types to save time.
  4. On the next screen, you will see all the drives listed, including the USB drive you want to recover data. Select it, and then click on the "Scan" button on the top left of the screen to begin scanning.
  5. The next screen will show all the recoverable files, and you can use the preview feature to decide which files you want to find.
  6. Select the files you need and then click the "Recover" button on top of the window to save the files to your Mac.

If you are trying to recover permanently deleted files from USB drive on Mac free, but the software is not showing your files, then you can also click on the Deep Scan button on the top left to look for more obscure file formats. It may take longer to scan, but you should be able to see all your recoverable data.

Part 4. Other Freeware to Retrieve Data from Flash Drive on Mac

While iBeesoft is undoubtedly your best option, there are other tools you can also try. We will be sharing three more options you can consider to extend your search further.

  1. Test Disk for Mac
  2. Not many options can compete with Test Disk for Mac when recovering deleted files from a USB drive on Mac free with zero payments attached. It allows you to get back files from various devices and file systems. Of course, being an open-source freeware means it also contains some issues and limitations, but it is still usable for you.

    Advantages
    Free, even source code.
    Work on Windows, macOS, and Linux
    Disadvantages
    Command-line interface can be tricky to handle
    Slow data scanning process.
    File preview is not supported.
  3. Exif Untrasher for Mac
  4. It is a tool to rescue deleted files from memory cards, memory sticks, USB drives, etc. It can also help you to retrieve files from formatted disks on Mac.

    Advantages
    Completely free without any limitations.
    Proven record of recovering files in most situations.
    Disadvantages
    Except for images, other file types are not supported.
    Not available for Macs with M1 and T2 chips.
    File preview is not supported.
  5. Free Mac Any Data Recovery
  6. This free Mac data recovery software supports all storage devices and a wide range of data loss scenarios. So the chances of recovering your data in case of accidental deletion are pretty high.

    Advantages
    Easy-to-use
    Provides two powerful scan modes
    Disadvantages
    The full version is expensive.
    Analyzing drives is slow.
    RAID arrays are not supported

If you are still unsure which app is best for you, you can also check this comparison next.

By comparison, we should be able to intuitively know that iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac is the best. It can undelete and unformat flash drive in macOS quickly and efficiently.

Part 5. Under What Circumstances We Cannot Free USB Drive Recovery on Mac

While data recovery software can help you retrieve deleted files from a USB drive on Mac for free in many seemingly impossible situations, they still have limitations. There are some scenarios where you cannot do anything to get your data back, and some of them are as follows:

Part 6. Tips to Avoid Further Data Loss on USB Drive

With electronics, you should always hope for the best and plan for the worst. It is especially true for USB drives as they can malfunction anytime without warning. To ensure you don't lose any files, you need to follow these simple tips to prepare yourself for any situation.

How to Repair the Corrupted USB Flash Drive on Mac

If you have a corrupted USB drive and you want to recover data from a USB drive on Mac free, then there are some methods that you can use. We are sharing them here to try if your USB drive ever gets corrupted.

1. USB Drive Not Recognized by Mac

There are many reasons why an external drive won't appear on your Mac. You can try the methods below to fix it.

2. Cannot Copy and Edit USB Files

If you cannot change the contents of your USB drive or copy them elsewhere, it is most likely locked in a read-only state. You can quickly solve this problem using the following steps.

  1. Connect your USB drive and when its icon appears, right-click on it, then select Get Info from the dropdown list.
  2. Expand the Sharing & Permissions section and click on the lock icon to authenticate.
  3. Tick the checkbox next to the text that says "Ignore ownership on this volume" to complete the process.

If your drive is empty, you can also take the easier route and format it to remove the read-only restriction.

3. The Prompt Needs to Be Formatted

This situation can occur when your USB drive has a corrupted file system, a virus attack, or if it is suffering from improper device removal. Your Mac will prompt you in all these cases, saying that the USB drive needs to be formatted. If your drive is empty, you can directly solve the problem by formatting the drive in Disk Utility. However, if you have data on the drive that needs to be saved, you might consider using First Aid Options for Disk Utility.

Summing Up

There is plenty of evidence that USB drives are not the most reliable storage medium. However, they still serve a purpose that no other device can, so we need them for many different reasons. However, the situation can be improved by taking precautions, using the drives properly, and making regular backups of your data to prevent losses.

For anyone who may need to recover deleted files from USB drive on Mac free, the best option, is the iBeesoft Data Recovery tool. With its robust features and free recovery, you can get almost any data lost on your drives.

Frequently Asked Questions