How to recover deleted files on Mac without Time Machine?

Hey folks, I accidentally deleted some important files from my Mac, and I don’t have a Time Machine backup. Could anyone guide me on how to recover them? Any reliable software or methods you recommend? Thanks in advance!

Hey folks,

I see you’re stressed about those important files you accidentally wiped out from your Mac. We’ve all been there, and it’s nerve-racking, especially without a Time Machine backup. Don’t worry, though; I’ve got a handful of ways you can try to get those files back. Let’s dive right into some methods!

Method 1: Check Trash Bin

Before you go into panic mode, let’s check the Trash. Deleted files often stay there, giving you a chance to recover them easily.

  1. Open Trash:
    Go to the Dock and click on the Trash icon.

  2. Search for Your Files:
    Look through the Trash for your lost files. If you find them, you can simply drag them back to your desktop or any other folder.

  3. Restore Files:
    Right-click the file you want to restore and select “Put Back.” This will move the file back to its original location.

If the files aren’t in the Trash, don’t worry! Move on to the next method.

Method 2: Use Restore from Previous Versions

Macs don’t have a built-in restore point system like Windows, but some apps do keep versions. If you were working in a program, it might have saved automatic versions you can revert to.

  1. Open the App You Used:
    If you were working in, say, Pages or Numbers, open the app.

  2. Check for Previous Versions:
    Go to File > Revert To > Browse All Versions. You might find an autosave or previous version that has your data.

This doesn’t work for all file types, but it’s worth a shot.

Method 3: Third-Party Software

When simple methods fail, recovery software can come to the rescue. I highly recommend Disk Drill, a robust recovery tool. It’s straightforward and gets the job done without hassles.

Using Disk Drill:

  1. Download Disk Drill:
    Visit the CleverFiles homepage and download Disk Drill.

  2. Install and Open Disk Drill:
    Follow the installation instructions, then open the application.

  3. Select the Drive:
    Choose the drive where your files were located. Click on “Search for lost data.”

  4. Scan for Deleted Files:
    Disk Drill will perform a quick scan first. If it doesn’t find your files, opt for a deeper scan.

  5. Preview and Recover:
    Once the scan is complete, you can preview the files it found. Select the files you need, then click “Recover.”

Method 4: Recover from iCloud Drive

If you have iCloud Drive set up, your deleted files might be recoverable from there.

  1. Visit iCloud Website:
    Go to and log into your Apple ID.

  2. Go to iCloud Drive:
    Click on the “iCloud Drive” option.

  3. Check for Deleted Files:
    Look through your files here. Sometimes deleted files remain on the server for a while before being removed permanently.

  4. Recover Files:
    If you see your files, drag them back to your desktop or download them directly to your Mac.

Method 5: Use Terminal to Recover Files

If you’re comfortable using Terminal, you can use it to look for lost files. Be cautious with this method, though.

  1. Open Terminal:
    Open Terminal from Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

  2. Use the fsck Command:
    Type in sudo fsck_hfs -r /dev/disk1s1 (replace disk1s1 with your actual drive identifier, which you can find in Disk Utility).

  3. Check for Recovered Files:
    Terminal will go through and attempt to find any lost files or directories.

Method 6: Data Recovery Services

When all else fails, data recovery services can be a last resort. They can be pricey, but companies specialize in recovering data from severely corrupted or wiped drives. Services like DriveSavers or other local data recovery pros might be able to help.

Preventing Future Data Loss:

To avoid this kind of stress in the future, here are a few tips:

  1. Regular Backups:
    Set up Time Machine or another backup solution to run weekly or daily backups.

  2. Use Cloud Storage:
    Services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud make it simple to keep an extra copy off-site.

  3. Keep Data Rescue Software Installed:
    Having something like Disk Drill installed so you’re ready to go instantly if something happens means you’ll lose less time and possibly recover more files.

Hopefully, one of these methods will help you get those important files back. Good luck, and remember: Always keep backups!

Let me know if you need more detailed steps or run into any issues!