How to Recover Data from a Formatted Hard Drive on Mac

Updated to macOS File Recovery Tips by Nancy on Feb 23, 2024 | Approved by Anthony Spadafora

"How can you get files back after formatting the hard disk on Mac? There is nothing left, no partition, no files, and what’s worse, I did not get any backup file at all."

Accidentally formatting a hard drive will result in the partition as well files stored there is lost. If there were important files, then it’s a disaster for most individuals. However, it’s not as bad as you think. You can make use of iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac to recover files from formatted hard disk on Mac.

Recover Formatted Hard Drive on Mac with iBeesoft Mac Data Recovery Software

If you haven’t chosen "secure erase" or using any third-party tools, like iBeesoft File Shredder to get the hard drive formatted, you can make use of iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac to scan and restore formatted data from hard disk on Mac. This software can meet your requirements for undoing formatting on a hard drive.

Your Best Software for Formatted Hard Drive Recovery on Mac

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
  • Supports 2000+ hard drives, covering all the branded and unbranded USB, SSD, HDD, SD cards, etc.
  • Retrieves 1000+ types of files, including videos, images, documents, archives, and more with different file extensions.
  • Recover files deleted from hard drives due to different reasons.
  • It can also recover data from a uninitialized disk on Mac.
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Steps for how to recover formatted hard disk on Mac

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac
  2. Click the DOWNLOAD button to get the installation package of the hard disk recovery software on your Mac. After then, install it. While doing it, please don’t install it to the hard drive where were formatted and you want to get data back from. It will cause data overwritten issues, which means permanent data loss.

  3. Choose file types you want to retrieve from the formatted hard disk
  4. Launch the data recovery software. From the first window, you can see all the supported file types are selected by default. As you like, you can deselect the unwanted ones and keep the wanted ones. Click "Start".

  5. Scan for a formatted disk for lost data
  6. In the next window, you can see the hard drive list, covering all the Mac main drive as well as connected external hard drives. If the formatted hard drive is an external hard drive, you should connect it with your Mac before running the data recovery software. Click "Scan" to let the software scan the formatted hard drove, looking for all the recoverable files.

    Note: By default, if there is partition lost, then it will scan in the hard drive list as well. Just select and scan it.

  7. Preview recoverable data from formatted hard drive on Mac
  8. All the files found will be sorted into categories. From the left panel, choose the file type and preview the details on the right side. If there are some files with unfamiliar names, don’t ignore them. If some file properties got partially deleted or removed, the software may not get the exact file name.

  9. Get the wiped files back from the formatted disk on Mac
  10. Select the needed files and click "Recover". After then, specify a safe location to save the recovered files. To avoid data loss issues, don’t save the recovered files to the formatted hard drive. Save them on a different hard disk.

This is the default scanning mode: Quick Scan. If you want to find more files from the formatted hard drive, you can try Deep Scan in the result window. It will start to scan the formatted hard drive again, looking deeply for recoverable files for you.

Why files can be recovered from a formatted hard drive on Mac?

All devices, including different branded internal disks, external hard drives, USB flash drives/micro SD cards, follow the principle of data storage. Namely, when files are deleted from a hard drive, they’re marked as deleted and useless. But they are still there. Physical access to them is denied, which means they are invisible. Only with data recovery software, they will be displayed and recoverable. However, you should notice the 2 exceptions.

  1. "Secure Erase" will cause all data not recoverable. While erasing data with this option, files are deleted first and after then, the hard drive is zero-filled, which means new data is written there to replace the deleted files.
  2. If TRIM on SSD hard drives is ON, it means the deleted files are permanently removed after deletion. It’s another case of zero filling.

How to Protect Data on Hard Drive on Mac

1. Backup is the top option

You can use Time Machine to back up Mac data regularly. When there is any incident, restoring files to a hard drive is so easy. Of course, for important files, having a few copies is necessary.

2. Guard Computer with Security Software

No matter to protect your Mac's internal hard drives or external hard drives, it’s a must to have a security software tool installed on your Mac. It will protect your files from being attacked by viruses and malware.

3. Look before You Leap

Don’t be so silly to delete files regularly. If you must, you need to find time to clean the useless files. If you do it regularly unconsciously, then it’s very likely you will delete files or format hard drive mistakenly.

4. Recover Files in the First Place

Whenever you found you have accidentally deleted files or formatted a hard drive on Mac, stop using the hard drive and use a professional data recovery tool to recover files right away.

Frequently Asked Questions for Hard Drive Data Recovery on Mac

Q: How do you unformat a hard drive on a Mac?

To unformat a hard drive on a Mac, you need data recovery software for Mac to retrieve the files removed from the formatted hard drive. Follow these steps:

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery on your Mac.
  2. Connect the target disk to your computer.
  3. launch it the formatted hard drive recovery software for mac and click "Start".
  4. Select choose a location and click "Scan" to extracting files
  5. Preview all the recoverable files found.
  6. Select needed files and click "Recover".
  7. Specify a new location to save the restored files.

Q: Can the formatted Mac hard drive be recovered?

It depends. If you do the formatting by the regular way, namely not selecting "secure erase", then you can recover the formatted hard drive on Mac.

To recover erased hard drive on Mac, try data recovery software to retrieve the files back.

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac.
  2. Connect the disk with your Mac
  3. launch it and click "Start" to start the formatted drive recovery process.
  4. Click the "Scan" button beside the erased hard drive.
  5. Preview found files and click "Recover" to save the erased data for the Mac hard drive.

Q: Can I recover data from a formatted external hard drive on Mac?

You can get file back from a formatted external hard disk on Mac by using iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac.

  1. Connect the formatted external hard drive with your Mac.
  2. Download and install the best format recovery software.
  3. Filter file types and click "Start".
  4. Select the formatted external hard drive and click "Scan".
  5. Preview all the recoverable files found
  6. Select needed files from the result window and click "Recover" to save them on your Mac.