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How to Recover Data on a Mac

published 3/9/2021

Data is crucial and even sentimental in the digital era. No one likes losing pictures from their most recent adventure or messages from loved ones.

65.1 percent of consumers or their family members lost data due to accidental deletion, hardware malfunction, or software errors in 2019. Losing data is frustrating, but trying to get it back can be even worse.

The good news is that there are multiple avenues you can take to recover data on your Mac computer. Continue reading to learn about all of the different ways you can take to get your lost data back.

Restarting Your Mac in Recovery Mode

Restarting your Mac in recovery mode will let you access tools that Apple designed specifically for recovering missing data. Time Machine is the most useful of these tools.

Time Machine is a backup tool for backing up your Mac's data to prevent losing it in the case of a software or hardware issue or accidental deletion. In order for this way to work, you need to regularly backup your Mac.

If you activated Time Machine prior to losing your data then Time Machine will allow you to access that data again even if it is no longer on your Mac anymore.

There are five steps to follow with this method to recover data:

  1. Reboot your Mac into recovery mode. Restart your Mac and hold down Command + R until you see an Apple logo.
  2. Choose to restore from Time Machine Backup.
  3. Read the information about restoring your data and then hit "Continue."
  4. Select the correct disk that your backup was saved to and hit "Continue."

From here, you can select the backed-up file that you want to restore to your Mac from Time Machine.

Restore Data Using App or Software

There are a lot of software and application options available for helping you recover data that was deleted or lost on your Mac, but they won't do you much good if your Mac will not startup or boot.

Luckily, there is software like Disk Drill, which doesn't require your Mac to boot or start in order to recover your data. Disk Drill allows you to create a USB boot drive that will let you recover your data even if your Mac is refusing to boot.

You can use Disk Drill by taking these steps:

  1. Download and install the Disk Drill application on a Mac computer that is working.
  2. Plug your USB flash drive into the USB port and make sure it is an empty flash drive.
  3. Open Disk Drill and create a boot drive for data recovery in the menu.
  4. You'll then want to select "Recovery" on your Mac and choose to Use As Source.
  5. Then choose to make the flash drive bootable.
  6. Restart your Mac and press "Option" or "Alt" during the booting process.
  7. Select Disk Drill from the list of Mac utilities.
  8. Select the Recover button next to your Mac's hard drive.
  9. Let Disk Drill analyze the hard drive.
  10. Select the files you want to recover. You can choose to preview each file before selecting it.

Now you can specify which files you wish to recover and hit the Recover button.

Recover Files Via Time Machine

Time Machine is arguably the most user-friendly backup software for any computer system. Using Time Machine to back up your Mac makes restoring deleted data or lost data a walk in the park.

Best of all, with Time Machine you are able to select which documents or photos you want to recover so that you don't have to recover multiple gigabytes of data in order to get a few pictures back.

You can recover data on a Mac with Time Machine by following these steps:

  1. Connect the Time Machine backup disk to your Mac computer.
  2. Open the folder that contains the deleted data. Use Finder if necessary.
  3. Select the Time Machine icon on the menu bar and select Enter Time Machine.
  4. Select the data that you want to recover. There is a timeline on the right which is helpful for finding the data you want to recover.

Select Restore to begin restoring your missing data.

Check Trash Can To Recover Data

It sounds obvious, but checking your Mac's Trash Can is a great way to find any missing or lost data. The good news is that Trash Can doesn't delete any files, so if anything was moved to there you should be able to recover data.

To check the Trash Can, right-click on it and select Open. From there you can sift through the files that you've recently deleted and see if the data you're seeking is located there.

You can also check hidden files within your Mac to see if that is where your data ended up. If you're using Sierra or a later version of macOS, you can find hidden files by going in Finder and hitting Shift + Control +. and it will allow you to access the hidden files.

This can also be achieved on older Mac computers. You'll need to access Terminal by pressing Command + Space and searching for Terminal.

Then enter a command of "defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE killall finder" and you will be able to access the ".Trashes" folder where your deleted files are stored.

Get Your Computer Repair Solutions

Unfortunately, software and hardware issues happen sometimes when it comes to computers. It can be frustrating when it causes you to lose data that is important to you, whether personally or professionally.

Thankfully there are a lot of solutions out there that can help recover data from your Mac computer. Whether it is apps and software, or just searching the Apple Trash Can on your Mac, there is a solution for your data recovery.

If you have data recovery issues with your Mac computer and can't get these solutions to work, there is one more solution available to you. Book an appointment with Data Doctors today and get your data back.