Undelete Data on Mac with Disk Drill

We all occasionally delete a folder or a file on a Mac or erasing entire disk many times. But what if you realized it was a mistake after the Trash has already been emptied? Is there a way to undelete Mac Trash somehow? Yes, and the answer is Disk Drill!
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If you are looking for software to help you undelete files on Mac, you’ve come to the right place. Disk Drill is the premier file recovery app for Mac OS X. If you’ve emptied your Trash and then realized that you need one of the files you deleted, we can help. Read on to learn all about how to undelete files on Mac — whether they are on your hard drive, an external drive, flash drive or camera disk.

Below is just a quick overview of the steps. For detailed tutorials, see How to Install Disk Drill and How to Recover Lost Files with Disk Drill Basic in our Knowledgebase. Note that there are special steps you should take if you are trying to recover files from your Mac's internal hard drive.

Undelete files on a Mac using Disk Drill Data Recovery software

Use these steps to undelete files from your OS X computer or laptop.

1. Download and Install Disk Drill for Mac

Download and install Disk Drill for Mac. Don’t download the file to the device that has lost data as this risks overwriting the items you hope to recover. If the deleted information was on your computer’s main disk, use an external device to download and install the software.

recover formatted hard drive mac

2. Connect Device to Your Mac

Connect an external device if necessary and launch the application. Select the device from the list of available disks in the main window.

mac os undelete

3. Start Scanning for Lost Files

Click the Recover button to start scanning the selected device for deleted data. For the best recovery results, you should allow Disk Drill to run all of its scanning algorithms in the optimal order. You can select this option or choose to run a Quick scan to search for recently deleted data or a Deep scan that searches the device on a sector level to reconstruct hard to find files. We suggest that using the full scanning power of Disk Drill will allow you to recover the maximum amount of data. Scans can be paused and restarted at your convenience and the results can be filtered so you only see the recovered files that matter to you.

osx undelete

4. Preview Found Files

Preview the recoverable files and select those that you want to restore. Choose a new storage location where the recovered data will be saved. Do not use the device that had lost data to prevent file corruption during recovery.

undelete on mac

5. Undelete Files on Mac

Click the Recover button a second time to perform the recovery after specifying the storage location. Disk Drill will recover your files to the safe storage location so they can be accessed by the system and applications.

undelete mac files

Disk Drill: Professional Mac Undelete Freeware

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There are many benefits to using Disk Drill to undelete OS X files from your Mac or MacBook. Here are some of the features that set Disk Drill apart from its competitors:

  • Preview all recoverable files before upgrading to the Pro version of the tool Preview all recoverable files before upgrading to the Pro version of the tool
  • Advanced scanning algorithms for a more complete recovery Advanced scanning algorithms for a more complete recovery
  • User-friendly interface that takes the stress out of the recovery process User-friendly interface that takes the stress out of the recovery process
  • Free data protection with Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery Free data protection with Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery
  • Free byte-level backups that can be used to guard against failing storage devices Free byte-level backups that can be used to guard against failing storage devices
  • Free S.M.A.R.T. monitoring to ensure the health of your computer’s disks Free S.M.A.R.T. monitoring to ensure the health of your computer’s disks

Undelete Files on Mac from Any Type of Storage Device

Disk Drill is fully compatible with all types of disk-based storage devices that you might find yourself using with your Mac. Whether you need to recover deleted files from your Mac Trash or have accidentally formatted a memory card, Disk Drill can get your files back.

PC / MacPC / Mac
PC / Mac

Dell®, HP®, Acer®, Asus®, MacBook Pro®, MacBook Air®, Apple iMac® and more


HP®, Samsung®, Seagate®, Toshiba®, WD®, LaCie®, Intel®, Adata® and more

USB Drive
USB Drive

SanDisk®, Samsung®, Kingston®, Corsair®, Patriot®, PNY®, Verbatim®, Silicon Power® and more

SD / CF Card
SD / CF Card

SanDisk®, Transcend®, Toshiba®, Lexar®, Integral®, SP®, PNY®, Kingston® and more

Digital Camera
Digital Camera

Samsung®, HP®, Sony®, GoPro®, Canon®, Sigma®, Nikon®, Epson®, Panasonic® and more

iPhone / Android
iPhone / Android

Samsung Galaxy®, iPhone®, Lenovo®, Huawei®, OnePlus®, Google Pixel®, LG® and more

File Types Supported by Mac OS Undelete Software

Disk Drill can handle virtually any type of file you need to undelete from your Mac home folder or other storage location. The tool provides the best way to recover your valuable video, audio, image, document, and archive files with just a few clicks of your mouse. Its deep scanning algorithms recognize and reconstruct over 400 different file types.

CAB (Windows Cabinet File), RAR (WinRAR Compressed Archive), DMG (Mac OS X Disk Image), 7Z (7-Zip Compressed), ZIP (Extended Zip File)
AIF, MP3 (MPEG Audio Stream, Layer III), AIFF (Audio Interchange File), AIFC, WMA (Windows Media audio files)
PPTX (Microsoft PowerPoint), DOCX (Microsoft Word), XLSX (Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet), PDF (Portable Document Format)
BMP, TIFF, JPEG, JP2, GIF, PSP. Polaroid/Sigma: X3F. Pentax: PEF. Adobe: AI, INX, LRCAT, APM, IDML, INDB, INDD, INDL, PSB, PSD.
FLV, AVI (Flash video), MP4 (MPEG-4 video), MPG (MPEG video), M4V (iTunes video), WMV (Windows Media Video)
Other Files
Other Files
ACCDB (Microsoft Database), MYO (MYOB Limited Windows File), DB (Paradox), OTF (OpenType Font), SQL (bundled SQL queries)

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

Can I recover deleted files on Mac?

Yes, you can. Deleted files can be restored with data recovery software on your Mac. When macOS deletes a file, it does not physically remove it from its storage media. It simply marks the space previously occupied by the files as available for use. Until that space is reused and the data is overwritten, the original file can be recovered.

How to recover permanently deleted files on Mac?

To recover permanently deleted files from a Mac:

  1. Download, install and launch Disk Drill.
  2. Select the disk that contained the deleted files.
  3. Click the Recover button to initiate the scanning algorithms.
  4. Preview the list of recoverable files.
  5. Select the files to be recovered and a new storage location for them.
  6. Click Recover to restore the data.

How do I recover deleted files on my Mac for free?

Recovery Vault is a feature included in the free version of Disk Drill that can recover deleted files from your Mac. You can designate specific files or folders to be protected as well as the length of time they will remain in the vault. When a protected file is deleted it can easily be restored from the Recovery Vault.

How to undelete files on Mac without software?

The best way to undelete files on Mac without software is with a Time Machine backup. Follow these steps:

  1. Connect the storage media containing the backup to your Mac.
  2. Open a Finder window of the location that contained the deleted files.
  3. Launch Time Machine by clicking the clock icon on the menu bar.
  4. Select the items to recover.
  5. Click Restore.

How do I recover overwritten files on Mac?

Once a file has been overwritten, it usually cannot be restored with data recovery software. You can try scanning with Disk Drill to scavenge any recoverable data. You probably need to have a backup of the file if you want to retrieve it. Follow these general steps:

  1. Connect the backup storage media to your computer.
  2. Start the backup and recovery program.
  3. Search for the lost data and select it for restoration.
  4. Perform the recovery.

Can I undelete files on macOS Big Sur?

Yes, you can undelete files on Big Sur, the newest version of macOS. The Trash Bin is there and can be used to restore recently deleted files. In some situations, you can use the Command - Z shortcut to recover deleted data. Disk Drill is fully compatible with all versions of macOS and can help you recover from any data loss scenario.

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Customers and software guru say

Simon Rüegg Simon Rüegg
Disk Drill is the best data recovery tool there is. It offers many functions and is easy to understand even for non-experts. In a more complicated case, the support team helped me within a very short time and I was able to recover all my data! Thanks again for your great support!
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iCreate Magazine #164 iCreate Magazine #164
Disk Drill is a great, highly useful utility and you can install it and use some of its features for free. If you do ever lose any important files, just buy a license to unlock the additional features in order to recover them. Definitely recommended.
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