Using Mac Data Recovery Software – Guide to the Best Practices

Deleting a file, folder or disk on Mac by mistake is a frequent situation encountered by almost every user. It is possible to recover the deleted data for free using the built-in Mac OS X system tools. In particular cases, resorting to third-party applications can be the best way to solve the problem.

Mac File Recovery from the Trash Bin & After Emptying It

In MacOS, the Trash Bin serves as a temporary storage for all the deleted files. Until it is emptied, it is possible to go back and restore a specific item or multiple files from the Trash Bin. However, once the Mac Trash Bin is emptied, it may be problematic to retrieve the erased data. In this case, the best solution might be to use free or paid third-party Mac data recovery software to back out the deleted information.

back out the deleted information

Mac Trash Recovery

To retrieve the deleted files from the Trash Bin, do the following:

Click the Trash icon in the Dock

Drag the files out of the Trash Bin

It is possible to restore files deleted in the Finder. Whether you dragged the items to the Trash Bin or used File -> Empty Trash or Command-Delete on the selected files, go to Edit -> Undo Move (Command-Z) to recover the deleted items.

How to Perform Mac Hard Drive Recovery?

In the event of hard disk failure or other critical issues, you may need to do Mac hard drive recovery. Before starting the Mac hard drive recovery/repair procedure, make sure all the required data is backed up to a separate volume or an external drive. There are several ways to have the files backed up on Mac:

  • by using Time Machine to store the backup on external devices;
  • by using iCloud Storage to contain the rarely used files in the cloud, making them available on demand;
  • by copying the files to another disk/partition;
  • by creating the compressed disk image with Disk Utility;
  • by burning the needed files to a CD/DVD.
use First Aid to make repairs

In case you need to repair/recover Mac hard drive or volume, using Mac’s onboard Disk Utility is the best option. To find theDisk Utility, go to Utilities folder-> Apps folder or search for it using Spotlight Search. The first thing you can do is check the disk for errors, and use First Aid to make repairs, if necessary.

Select the disk or volume that needs repair in the Disk Utility console sidebar

To run First Aid, click the button

Running First Aid on a hard disk drive allows the Disk Utility tool to check the partition maps on the HDD and separate volumes within the hard drive. If the First Aid is launched on a particular volume, the Disk Utility verifies all the contents of that partition only.

Depending on the severity of the problem, you may get the following results:

  • If the Disk Utility informs that disk or volume is about to fail, it needs to be backed up and replaced immediately.
  • If the Disk Utility reports that the disk is OK or it has been repaired, no further action is needed from your side.
  • If the Disk Utility reports errors or displays ‘The underlying task reported failure’ message, try to repair the hard disk drive or a partition again.

In case the disk repair has failed, do the following:

Backup the needed data

Format the disk

Reinstall the macOS

Restore the backed up data

mac hard drive recovery
To revert your Mac device to the original settings, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. To enter the Mac Recovery mode, restart your Mac.
  2. During the boot process hold down the Option key to enter the startup disk menu.
  3. Once the startup disk menu is loaded, it is possible to select the recovery disk/partition: Macintosh HD, Recovery HD, etc. depending on your installation settings.
  4. Choose Recovery HD to upload and press Return.
  5. Once the system boots, the MacOS Utilities window will appear with four options:
  • Restore from Time Machine Backup;
  • Install MacOS;
  • Get Help Online;
  • Disk Utility.
  1. Choose the Disk Utility option. Select the disk that needs to be recovered (Macintosh HD or other) in the sidebar and go to Erase tab. Keep the drive format and name intact.
  2. Hit Erase button to run formatting on the selected hard disk drive. The formatting will completely remove all existing files on the drive to ensure proper MacOS reinstall.
  3. Wait until the Disk Utility completes the erase process.

How to Create Mac Recovery Disk?

Mac users are strongly recommended to create a Mac recovery disk or partition stored on a hard disk drive or the external USB drive. In case of emergency, it is possible to boot to the recovery disc/partition and use Disk Utility to correct the hard drive or software issues.

How to Create a Mac Recovery Partition on Internal Drive?

To make a Recovery HD volume on an internal Mac drive, create a disk image of the invisible Recovery HD first. Before you start, find out the Recovery HD identifier. For that, go to /Applications/Utilities and launch Terminal. Enter the prompt diskutil list -> hit Return to look for the recovery HD partition identifier in the list of all accessible Mac partitions. Search for the entry with TYPE of Apple_Boot and a NAME of Recovery HD and IDENTIFIER including the word “disk,” a number, the letter “s,” and another number (for example, disk1s3).

Apple_Boot Recovery HD
partition recovery HD
  1. Type in the command below in Terminal, inserting your Recovery HD identifier and hit Enter/Return key.

sudo hdiutil create ~/Desktop/Recovery\ HD.dmg –srcdevice /dev/DiskIdentifier

  1. Enter the administrator password in Terminal, and hit the Return key.
  2. The return of the Terminal prompt would mean that the Recovery HD disk image is now created on your Mac’s desktop.

      4. Using the Disk Utility, create the partition on the hard drive a Recovery HD volume will be created on.

5. Copy the Recovery HD disk image to the newly created partition. For this, use Restore command in the Disk Utility

6. Using the Disk Utility tool, find out the identifier for a newly created Recovery HD volume. Unmount the volume in the Disk Utility toolbar and launch Terminal. Enter the below command to set the Recovery HD volume to Apple_Boot type and hit Enter/Return:

sudo asr adjust –target /dev/DiskIdentifier -settype Apple_Boot

Be sure to enter the correct disk identifier.

command in disk utility

7. Once finished, provide your administrator password in Terminal, and hit Enter/Return.

As a result, the Recovery HD volume will become hidden and can be used in the event of an emergency.

How to Create an External Mac Recovery Drive?

Having a Mac recovery USB drive might seem more reliable than creating an internal recovery partition. Before you start, make sure to have an 8GB or larger USB flash drive or external storage device. Have it formatted as MacOS Extended (Journaled), named “Untitled” and mounted on the system. Also, download the macOS Sierra installer from the AppStore in your Applications folder. To proceed with creating a recovery USB drive for your Mac, launch Terminal and type in the below command:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app –nointeraction

As a result, the USB drive will be loaded up with the MacOS installer and an external recovery partition. Using an emergency USB drive for Mac recovery will be handy in case of a hard drive failure or when you don’t have an Internet connection.

Creating a Recovery HD volume on a hard drive or an external USB drive is a must for all Mac users. The optimum solution would be to have both, with a recovery USB drive periodically updated with the latest MacOS installer releases. However, less experienced Mac users can have difficulties operating the Disk Utility and running the Terminal commands. In this case, using third-party applications with intuitive user interface seems an appropriate solution.

mac file recovery

How to Perform an SD Card Recovery on Mac?

Accidental deletion of photos and videos from a camera flash drive or memory card can be disappointing. It is possible to recover deleted/lost images even if the card/drive has been formatted, but only if you have not taken new pictures afterward. In case you had, some of the deleted images may be overwritten while some may still be recoverable. The best way to solve the above issue is using a specialized third-party photo recovery software for Mac. It might help to recover if not all, but the majority of lost pictures.

How to Perform Mac Password Recovery?

Mac login password and Zip/RAR password recovery are typical situations for most Mac users. Zip or RAR archive password recovery tools are not provided on Mac by default. Using third-party apps is needed to unlock the protected archives and reset the passwords.

Mac users can change or reset the login password in case it has been forgotten or a password hint failed. There are several ways to restore/reset the lost Mac password, some of them involve using MacOS Utilities and Terminal. To avoid a cumbersome Mac password recovery procedure, users should refresh their login password regularly. To do this, enter the Apple Menu, go to System Preferences and click on Users & Groups.

Enter your username and password to Unlock Users & Groups preferences. In the sidebar on the left, select your username, then click Reset Password.

System Preferences