The best free data recovery software for Mac available online is described below. These five applications vary in their characteristics. However, all share one commonality, they are free, and therefore useful for the casual user.
Disk Drill is the free top data recovery app for Mac OS X. Disk Drill Basic, in addition to having previewing capabilities for recovered files, contains several other functionalities, such as Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery, lost partition restoration, boot disk maker and so on, which make it one of the best Mac data recovery software applications available.
Disk Drill works on internal and external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards and many other appliances that can be connected to a Mac, including iOS and Android devices. Its last version has an extensive database of file signatures that can be restored from drives even after formatting and uses very efficient and fast scanning algorithms.
Disk Drill is constantly updated and supported by its ever-growing team and covers cases of data corruption resulting from loss of power, or removal of a device without first unmounting it.
#1 Recovery Vault is an advanced extra layer to the Trash Bin that keeps a reference to deleted data.
#2 Guaranteed Recovery is a background service that saves a copy of each file to a user-specified folder. Both data protection modules substantially reduce the possibilities of permanently losing critical data.
#3 Data Backup feature provides users with the ability to recover lost data from a byte-to-byte clone version of the device/partition, without having to risk the original storage source.
#4 In addition to that, multiple extra tools like Duplicate File Finder, Disk Health Monitor, Disk Space Analyzer, Emergency Recovery Boot Drive, are available for free.
Disk Drill successfully manages the balance of essential and advanced features for the casual, professional and enterprise users alike, that makes it worth the money spent on the upgrade.
PhotoRec is not the most powerful free Mac data recovery tool, but it has the advantage of being open source. This basically means that not only the application but also the source code is available to the public.
PhotoRec can work with OS X, Linux, Free BSD, Net BSD, Open BSD, and Windows. It can recover the most common file formats, such as JPEG pictures, MP3 audio files, OpenDocument and Microsoft Office files, PDF documents and ZIP archives. Files can be recovered from different devices such as digital camera memory cards, USB flash drives and hard disks.
This free file recovery Mac app uses a powerful technology known as file carving. This method consists of two steps. Firstly, it searches for the data block or cluster size. If the file system is not corrupted, this value is obtained from the superblock (ext2/ext3/ext4) or volume boot record (FAT, NTFS). If this is not possible, the app checks each sector of the device, and using the first ten files found, it calculates the block or cluster size.
Secondly, the app reads the device, block by block/cluster by cluster, checking against the different file signatures available in the app’s database, thus assembling and recuperating the available files. Though it’s unclear how many of those file signatures are known to the app.
Recuva is a nice tool to use when in need to recover some personal files, without having to resort to a professional application.
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is another one of the best data recovery Mac software applications. The developer has released three different versions: free trial, Pro and unlimited.
The free version is limited to a maximum of 2GB of restored data. This free data recovery software can recover data from Mac notebooks, desktops, hard drives, USB drives, SD cards, memory cards, digital cameras, etc. It works on internal HFS+ drives, and on FAT/FAT32 file systems used in USB flash drives and external hard drives connected to an Apple computer.
Easeus tool recovers file formats most commonly used in image, video, music and document files. It is mostly designed for recovering lost files due to unintentional deletes or drive formatting.
EaseUS free data recovery tool is a handy app designed for casual unintentional file deletions.
MiniTool can recover photos, music, videos, emails, documents, and other types of data from Mac computers or other common storage devices. The free version only offers support via email.
This data recovery software for Mac works in four different modes. The first, “Undelete Recovery”, can be used to quickly recover data lost due to accidental deletion. The second, “Damaged Partition Recovery”, recovers lost data from existing partitions. The third, “Lost Partition Recovery”, recovers lost data from lost or deleted partitions, subject to success in finding them. And finally, the “Digital Media Recovery” mode, recovers multimedia files from portable storage devices.
This data recovery Mac software has a personal edition that is free for use only on one computer and with a maximum restore capacity of 1MB. Is that why it’s called a Mini Tool? Possibly. The developer also offers commercial, enterprise and technician editions of the software.
MiniTool Data Recovery tool offers a valid option for the casual accidental delete, in cases that don’t involve big volumes.
Softtote’s app can recover lost files from internal and external hard drives. File types include ONLY .bmp, .jpg, .png, .tif and .mp3. It works on devices supported by NTFS, HFS/HFS+ and FAT file systems. The application has the capacity to preview file details, such as image size and creation date before recovering them.
Just like other apps in this list, this free data recovery software Mac comes with free technical support.
Softtote’s software can be included among the best data recovery software Mac, and even though it is not so well known, it deserves a try in case of accidental file loss, but mind the limited set of supported file types.
How to Pick the Best Data Recovery Software for Mac
Selecting the best data recovery software for Mac can be a challenge since there are so many seemingly great options available. To help you narrow down available data recovery software for Mac, here are the most important selection criteria you need to focus on:
The best data recovery software apps for Mac have been perfecting their data recovery algorithms for years to quickly and reliably find all deleted files. Since data recovery is a time-sensitive task, it makes sense to select the most capable app available and get all deleted data back on the first try.
💻 Files System Support
Mac users typically format disks and volumes using Apple File System (APFS), HFS+ (Mac OS Extended), MS-DOS (FAT), FAT32, and exFAT file systems, so make sure to select a data recovery software application that supports them. If you also want to recover Windows drives, the application needs to support NTFS.
👩🏽💻 macOS Version Supported
In recent versions of macOS, Apple introduced some pretty substantial changes intended to make the operating system safer for its users. Unfortunately, many developers of data recovery software for Mac have yet to update their apps accordingly to support the latest versions of Apple’s operating system.
📷 File Type Support
There are thousands of file formats in existence, and no data recovery software supports every single one. However, some solutions can recover virtually all file formats you are likely to come across, and we highly recommend you prioritize them over data recovery applications that can recover only a handful of commonly used file formats.
🗂 Set of Features
While all data recovery software apps for Mac can recover deleted files, some have many extra features that make the recovery process easier and more likely to end successfully, such as the ability to preview deleted files, recover files from failing, corrupted, and formatted devices, or scan RAW and lost partitions. You may even come across recovery apps that double as capable backup solutions, giving you more value for your money.
The price of data recovery software apps for Mac varies greatly, and it’s definitely not true that more expensive apps are always better than those that are either cheaper or free. Especially attractive are paid data recovery apps that let you preview recoverable files, allowing you to evaluate their data recovery performance without costing a single dollar. Keep in mind that some recovery apps charge you only once for a lifetime license, while other apps charge their users on a monthly or yearly basis, which can increase their price substantially over time.
Not all software applications are secure, and data recovery software is no exception to this. While you can use all the apps listed in this article without any worries, the same can’t be said about many lesser-known data recovery solutions that can be found online.
If you keep the above-described criteria in mind when selecting data recovery software for Mac, you won’t have any trouble picking the best solution available and recovering your data in no time.
The Bottom Line
We recommend going with Disk Drill, as it delivers on its data recovery odds. This awesome data recovery tool is backed up by good looks, a more intuitive user interface and a ton of free disk tools that may become handy for any user.