How to Recover Data from a Formatted Hard Drive on Mac

It happens. You reformat a drive and then suddenly realize that you had a critical file on there that was not backed up anywhere. But don’t lose hope – Disk Drill can help. MacOS Catalina Ready!
As long as you did not choose a “secure erase” option, your old data will remain on your drive until it is overwritten. So formatted hard drive recovery on Mac is still possible! Disk Drill can scan your drive and find invisible files that haven’t been erased yet.

It is actually pretty easy to recover formatted hard drive on Mac. Simply download the free Disk Drill Basic software, scan the drive and review the files. If you find your files, great! You can proceed with recovery. If not, all you’ve spent is a few minutes of your time.

#1 Before You Begin

Connect the drive to your Mac (if it is an external drive or memory card). If it is your internal hard drive that you have reformatted, consider using Target Disk Mode or Disk Drill's Portable Mode to increase your chances of data recovery on your Mac’s formatted hard drive. You can also create a bootable drive for data recovery with Disk Drill on any other Mac to recover the formatted system hard drive.
  • 1Download Disk Drill
  • 2Drag to Applications Folder
  • 3Launch Disk Drill

#2 Download and Install Disk Drill

Download the Disk Drill Basic app. Follow the installation instructions and launch the app. As we mentioned before, Disk Drill Basic is completely free and allows you to scan your drive and preview files.

#3 Scan Your Drive for Lost Data

Once the Disk Drill app is launched, it will show you the list of drives available for scanning. You will want to select the entire drive (not one of its individual partitions). This will ensure that Disk Drill scans the empty spaces of the drive where your old files might still exist. Click the “Recover” button and wait for the scan to finish.
Mac data recovery from a formatted drive may take several minutes to several hours (depending on the size of the drive and number of files and the drive's condition). Scan Your Drive for Lost Data

#4 Formatted Data Recovery

Once the scan is complete, you can review the found files. Be sure to examine the files closely, because the correct file names may not have been recovered. You can filter files by file type and size to narrow your search. If you find the files you need, select them and click the “Recover” button to proceed.
That’s all there is to it! Disk Drill makes formatted card recovery on Mac as well as formatted hard drive recovery easy. Download Disk Drill Basic today to get started. Formatted Data Recovery

It is better to stay safe – protect your data now!

Disk Drill is outstanding in its protection options. They will keep your files safe and prevent data loss. Use S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring to constantly keep an eye on your hard drive performance. Guaranteed Recovery keeps invisible copies of the files that were moved to Trash and they can be restored whenever needed. Recovery Vault options saves the metadata, so that files can be restored with their proper names and locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team
Yes, it is possible. When a drive is formatted, macOS makes its space available for future use. It does not physically remove the files if you perform a quick format. The data still exists on the drive and can be recovered until it is overwritten. Using data recovery software, you can restore data from a drive after it is formatted.

To recover files from a formatted hard drive on Mac:

  1. Install Disk Drill on a different drive than the formatted on you wish to restore.
  2. Launch the app and select the formatted drive from the disk list.
  3. Click Recover to scan for recoverable data. 
  4. Preview the files and select those to be restored.
  5. Click Recover to perform the restore.

Follow these steps to recover data from a formatted external hard drive:

  1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer.
  2. Start Disk Drill and select the external drive.
  3. Click Recover to begin scanning for lost data on the formatted drive.
  4. Preview the files that can be retrieved.
  5. Select the files you want and click Recover to perform the restore.

Recovering formatted data on a Mac for free requires you to restore from a previously made backup. As a precaution against the problem of accidentally formatting the wrong partition or disk, you should always create a backup before performing a format operation on your computer’s disks. It is the only way to recover from formatting without using data recovery software.

Disk Drill is the best option to recover data from formatted hard drive on OS X

Disk Drill offers its Deep Scan feature for what can seem a hopeless case. The app will scan through the raw data on your drive and it won't matter whether it is FAT, NTFS, or other. Disk Drill works through the remaining structure of the files working them into a single piece. Once it discovers a file signature files are recovered even faster. XLS, DOC, AVI, MP4, JPG, and others are all supported.

Keep your important data well protected!

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Formatted Drives Data Recovery for Mac OS X
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What others say about Disk Drill

  • Will Fenton,
    Will Fenton
    "Disk Drill Pro offers one of the most advanced data recovery utilities available"
    Overall, I'm happy to recommend Disk Drill to Mac users. There were no bugs during testing and the software does exactly what it says, and does it well. I’m happy to recommend Disk Drill to Mac users. It is designed for the majority of Mac users.
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