Free File Recovery Program for Mac: Step-by-Step Guide

Losing important files on Mac due to accidental deletion, formatting, virus attacks, or any other reason can be a distressful experience. Luckily, there are several free Mac data recovery methods available online that you can use to restore missing files on a Mac. This step-by-step guide will walk you through such recovery workarounds, including manual methods and third-party Mac data recovery software, for easy and quick recovery of deleted files. So, let’s get started!

What Causes Deletion of Files on Mac?

Before you use any Mac data recovery software or apply manual methods to recover deleted files on Mac, it is important to find the exact cause of your file deletion. There are several reasons why files usually get deleted on Mac, some of them are as follows:

  • Accidental Deletion: You may have unintentionally deleted files on your Mac while browsing other files and folders.
  • System Errors: Operating system crashes or malfunctions can also cause the deletion of files.
  • Software Bugs: Faulty software updates or bugs in applications may delete files.
  • Hard Drive Failures:Physical damage or wear and tear on the hard drive can cause data loss.
  • Virus or Malware: Malicious software, like viruses or malware, can corrupt or delete files.
  • File System Corruption: Corruption in the file system may make files inaccessible or delete them.
  • Human Error: Mistakenly formatting the hard drive or performing incorrect operations can lead to file deletion.
  • Power Failures: Sudden power outages can cause files to be lost or corrupted during save operations.

Quick Methods to Recover Deleted Files on Mac

Whatever is the reason for the deletion of files on your Mac, many free Mac data recovery methods can easily help you to recover those deleted files. Check a few of them as mentioned below:

Method 01: Check the Trash Folder

Before you proceed with any other Mac data recovery method, it is important to check the Trash folder. Every deleted file on Mac goes to the Trash Bin before getting permanently deleted. To easily restore deleted files via Trash Bin on your Mac, follow the below steps:

  • Double-click on the Trash icon from the Dock.
  • Browse through deleted files and locate the file that you need to restore.
  • Right-click on that file and select the “Put Back” option to restore the selected file to its original location.

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If the Trash Bin is emptied, your file might have been permanently removed and you need to apply other free Mac data recovery methods to recover your files.

Method 02: Use Time Machine Backups

You can use Mac in-built Time Machine backup to create a backup of important files on your Mac and to restore files from these backups. If you have enabled Time Machine on the Mac, follow the below steps to recover deleted files:

  • Firstly, connect the external drive containing Time Machine backups to your Mac.
  • Click on Time Machine icon from the menu bar and select “Enter Time Machine”.
  • Use the timeline on the right side to browse through different backups created before the file was deleted. Browse through the folders to find the desired file.
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  • Select the file and tap the “Restore” button to restore the selected file to its original location.

Method 03: Use iCloud Drive

Another backup alternative that you can try to recover missing or deleted files on Mac is via iCloud backups. If you use iCloud Drive to store your files, you can recover deleted files from All you have to do is:

  • Visit and log in with your Apple ID.
  • Now, click on the “iCloud Drive” icon and then click on the “Recently Deleted” folder from the sidebar.
  • Choose all the files you need to restore and click “Recover” to save them back on your Mac.

Method 04: Use Mac Data Recovery Software

If the above-mentioned manual methods fail to restore your deleted files on Mac, you can use a free file recovery program for easy and quick recovery. Tools like Stellar Data Recovery Free for Mac allow you to easily recover permanently deleted files even without any backups. The free version of the software recovers up to 1 GB of files securely without any cost.

Key Features of Stellar Data Recovery Free for Mac:

  • Recover deleted files of multiple types, including photos, videos, documents, emails, and many more.
  • Customize your scan for a fast and efficient data recovery experience.
  • Compatible with Mac devices powered with the latest M3 and T2 chips. new tag en
  • Supports Mac devices running on macOS Sierra 10.12 up till the macOS Sequoia 15 Edition.
  • Recover files deleted from external storage drives, USB drives, jump drives, and other Mac storage devices.

Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to recover deleted files using this free file recovery program for Mac:

Step 1: After downloading and installing the Stellar Data Recovery Free software on your Mac, launch it and from the homepage, select the type of data you need to restore and click Next.

Step 2: From the Recover From window, choose the storage drive where your deleted file was earlier stored and click Scan.

Step 3: Wait till the scanning process is completed. After that, preview the recovered files and choose the files that you want to restore. Click the Recover button to save selected files at the desired location.

Tips to Prevent Data Loss on Mac

Here are some quick tips or preventive measures that you can consider to avoid deletion of files on your Mac:

  • Regular Backups: Maintain regular backups of your important files using Time Machine backup utility or cloud storage services like iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
  • Avoid Data Overwriting: When you realize that files are deleted, stop saving new files on that drive immediately to prevent data overwriting.
  • Encrypt Your Data: Use FileVault to encrypt your data, adding an extra layer of security and avoiding such data loss issues.
  • Protect from Malware: Use antivirus software to protect your Mac from malware that can cause data loss.
  • Update macOS and Applications: Regularly update macOS and applications to protect against vulnerabilities.

Wrapping Up

Recovering deleted files on a Mac using the aforementioned free Mac data recovery methods can be a straightforward process. Start by checking the Trash Bin, then move on to Time Machine, iCloud Drive, or free Mac data recovery software if necessary. Moreover, following the above preventive measures like regularly backing up your data or avoiding data overwrites can minimize the risk of data loss in the future.

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