How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac 

Mac recover deleted files

Open Trash Bin on Mac by clicking on its icon. Search and locate the files you want to recover. Right-click the selected file or folder. Choose "Put Back" to restore deleted files on Mac to their original location.

5 Methods to Recover Deleted Files on Mac 

You can restore recently deleted files from Mac Trash quickly. If you have emptied the Trash, you can recover deleted files on Mac with Mac hard drive recovery software, undo options, time machine backup files, and terminal commands. There are five different ways to retrieve deleted files on Mac. The following table outlines these options.

🥇Mac deleted file recovery software This solution offers the highest chance of Mac deleted file recovery. Whether you've deleted Mac files recently or permanently lost your data for various reasons, this software can undelete Mac without backup. 
📌Trash Put Back It only works when the deleted files are in Trash without being emptied.
🎯Undo Delete Option You just deleted the file and did not restart the Mac.
🧭Time Machine Backup You enabled Time Machine and created backup copies before data loss.
🔁Mac Terminal You are familiar with computer operations and can retrieve deleted files by typing commands.

You can watch the video first to learn how to restore deleted files on a Mac.

  • 00:00 Deleted Files Recovery
  • 00:23 EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
  • 01:14 Put Back Option
  • 01:41 Undo Option
  • 02:12 Time Machine Data Recovery
  • 03:07 Recover files with Terminal

If you prefer a step-by-step guide, follow the steps below to restore deleted files on Mac.

Method 1. Recover Deleted Files Mac with Deleted File Recovery Tool

This applies to macOS 10.9 ~ macOS 13

This method is the most effective, as it supports macOS 10.9 ~ 13. The operation steps are the same, even if you are on different macOS versions. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is an ideal tool for Macintosh data recovery. No other file recovery tool is as user-friendly and straightforward as this one.

No matter what caused your data loss - corrupted data, mistaken deletion, unintentional formatting - we can help you get it back. What's more, a Mac hard drive recovery program can hopefully recover an emptied Trash, a formatted hard disk, a crashed operating system, and even a virus-infected Apple computer. 

Highlights Details
👨‍💻Recover files from almost any storage device
  • Deleted files from an external hard drive or internal hard drive
  • Lost data on a memory card (SD Card, Flash card, XD Card, etc.)
  • Lost pictures or movies from a camera or camcorder
💾Recover files in all file systems and types
  • Supports HFS X, HFS+, FAT, FAT16/32, exFAT, NTFS, APFS.
  • Picture files like JPG, PNG, BMP, and TIFF
  • Music files like AIF, MP3, and WAV
  • Videos like AVI, MOV, 3GP, and MP4
📌Free scanning and previewing of files
  • There is no need to purchase until you have confirmed that your Macintosh hard drive recovery runs successfully.

Download this data recovery software for Mac and undelete files on Mac with the steps below.

Note: You can create a backup by clicking the "Disk Backup" on the left first. The software will recover the deleted files from the backup image. It can prevent further damage to your disk and data, making it safer and more reliable.

Step 1. Scan for deleted files

Select the hard drive, external drive, or SSD where your important data & files were deleted and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for deleted files on Mac

Step 2. Filter the lost files

The software will run quick and deep scans and work hard to find as many deleted files as possible on the selected volume. Filter wanted files through the "Type" and "Path" options.

Filter and select the lost files

Step 3. Recover deleted files

Double-click the deleted files to preview. Then, click the "Recover" button to get them back.

recover deleted files from Mac

If you are a Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP user, you can also recover deleted files with 100% working solutions. The following methods show you four practical solutions for recovering deleted files on a Mac without third-party software. Keep reading, and recover deleted files on macOS Ventura/Monterey/Big Sur/Catalina/High Sierra.

Find this Mac file recovery tool useful. Share it with your followers on social media.


Method 2. Restore Deleted Files on Mac from Trash via Put Back

Where is the recently deleted file on Mac? If you drag a file to the Trash or right-click on the file and click "Delete", and you haven't emptied the Trash can yet, the recently deleted files to go the Trash, the following simple steps can quickly restore the deleted data on macOS Trash folder.

Step 1. Open the Trash Bin icon on your desktop, and you can see all the deleted files there.

Step 2. Find the files you want to recover and drag them to the desktop. Or right-click on them and select the "put back" option to recover files on Mac from the Trash. The files will return recovered files to their original location.

recover mac deleted files through the put back option

You can check the restored files on your Mac desktop. For Windows users, the Recycle Bin recovery operations could be slightly different. You need to right-click the file and choose "Restore".

Method 3. How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac with Undo Options

If you accidentally delete important files on Mac, you can easily restore them by using the "Undo" option. But you should do it immediately after removing the files. It is invalid after you empty the Trash or permanently delete files.

Step 1. After deleting files, go to "Edit" and select the "Undo Move" option. You can also use the command + Z key to undo the delete operation.

bring back mac deleted files via undo option

After the process, you can put back lost files on a Mac. These two methods help recover lost data on Mac that have not been permanently deleted. If you emptied the Trash, you must use a Time Machine backup or macOS data recovery software.

Method 4. Restore Deleted Mac Files via Time Machine Backup

Time Machine application is Apple's backup solution for the Mac. If you have enabled Time Machine backup, you can recover deleted data on Mac via a recent backup even if you have emptied the Trash bin. This way is useless if no backup has been created before. In case you need to recover permanently deleted files without backup, refer to the Mac deleted file recovery program for help.

Applies to macOS High Sierra ~ macOS Ventura

To recover Mac deleted files with Time Machine:

Step 1. Connect the previously created backup media to your Mac, which can be an external storage device.

Step 2. Launch Time Machine on your Mac. You can click on the Time Machine icon in the menu bar, choose Enter Time Machine, or search for Time Machine using Spotlight.

Step 3. Find the specific files you want to restore using the onscreen up and down arrows to locate them. Then, you can preview it by pressing Space Bar.

Step 4. Finally, click the "Restore" button, and the recovered files will return to their original location. 

retrieve deleted files via time machine from mac

Apple Support provides full instructions on restoring items backed up with Time Machine on Mac. Go to check the content in detail.

Method 5. Mac Recover Deleted Files Through Terminal

Using Terminal is an excellent choice If you want to recover data on a Mac without software. But note that the Terminal command can only recover files deleted from Trash folder on Mac. If the Trash becomes empty, turn to a Mac data recovery tool for help.

To restore deleted files on Mac via Terminal, follow these steps:

Step 1. Go to "Finder" > "Applications" > "Utilities" and double-click "Terminal".

restore mac files from terminal - 1

Step 2. Type command cd .Trash and press the "Return" key on your Mac.

Step 3. Continue typing "ls -al ~/.Trash". This is a command to let you view the contents of your Trash folder.

Step 4. Input "mv filename ../" and hit "Return". (Important: the filename must be the full file name to make this command line take effect)

terminal recover deleted files on mac

Step 5. Type "Quit" in the Terminal to exit the Terminal window. 

The recovered files by Terminal are located in your home directory folder. You can then navigate there and check the items.

recover deleted files on mac Terminal

How to Recover Deleted Files with Mac Terminal

First, open Terminal through Utilities on Mac. Then, type cd . and hit Return. Now, type ls -al ~/. Trash to check the files or folders in the Trash. Read more >>

5 Common Reasons Leading to Mac Data Loss or Deletion

The following list shows the most typical ways to delete files/folders on a Mac. These removed items (even not in the Trash anymore) are recoverable by using professional Mac data recovery software.

  • Directly drag files to the Trash and restart the computer.
  • Regularly empty the Trash to remove deleted files for good.
  • Permanently deleted files by using "Option + Command + Delete" hotkeys.
  • Deleted files by clicking on the Finder menu and selecting "Empty Trash...".
  • Mac Trash bin automatically deletes files without asking.

The image also proves how encouraging to have powerful software to help recuperate the non-existed data files!

lost Mac files with unintentional operations

Why Is It Possible to Recover Deleted Files Mac

You remove the entry when you delete a file instead of the data itself. First, the space of this deleted file will be marked as "available" for writing new data. That's the key point why you can apply macOS Ventura data recovery software to trace the deep entry and eventually find the raw files!

Accordingly, once new data occupies the marked area for "available", it's getting hard for any piece of software on the market to retrieve replaced and overwritten files. That's it. The sooner you find data recovery solutions, the more deleted files you can get back.

Additional Help for Mac Data Protection

Creating a regular backup is a simple but effective way to prevent data loss due to unexpected causes. macOS's Time Machine is a great built-in utility to handle backups automatically. 

To back up Mac data with Time Machine

Step 1. Connect an external hard drive to your computer or MacBook

Step 2. Go to "System Preferences > Time Machine > Select Backup Disk".

Step 3. Select the location where you want to save the Time Machine backup files and click "Use disk".

Step 4. Tick the "Back Up Automatically" option to automatically set Time Machine to back up everything on your Mac.

back up mac files with time machine

If you want to back up a Mac without a Time Machine, you can trust a reliable Mac data backup tool, which lets you back up in full, incremental, or differential modes.


I hope this article helps you recover files on the Mac after deletion. There are five approaches you can take. The first approach is relevant when you don't have a backup of your Mac. Follow the mentioned steps to recover data from any macOS version. Other approaches enable you to get files back before emptying the trash bin. You can also restore Mac data with Time Machine if you have a backup.

Sharing is caring. Help more people who need to get deleted files back.

It is pretty easy to undelete files and folders from the emptied Trash with an all-in-one solution for Mac deleted recovery! The magic tool comes in handy anytime when you lose important data on an internal hard drive, a USB flash drive, a memory card, or a pen drive... Why not share your happy moment in regaining the deleted files with others in trouble?


Recover Deleted Files Mac FAQs

After Mac data recovery, you can read these frequently asked questions to get additional help.

1. Is it possible to recover deleted files on Mac?

Of course, it is possible to recover deleted files on Mac. In general, the deleted files from the Mac hard drive are put into the Trash Can, from where you can restore them quickly. If you have emptied the Trash, you can restore deleted files on Mac without software by time machine backup files, undo options, and terminal commands.

To recover deleted files on Mac from an emptied Trash:

Step 1. Download and launch EaseUS Mac data recovery software. Select the location where your data or files were deleted and click the Scan button.

Step 2. The software will run quick and deep scans and work hard to find deleted files.

Step 3. Select the files and click the Recover Now button to get them back.

2. How do I recover permanently deleted photos from my Mac?

Permanently deleted files are not gone forever. You can recover deleted photos on Mac for free with secure methods.

  • Recover deleted photos in the Photos App on Mac
  • Recover deleted photos from Trash/emptied Trash
  • Recover deleted photos from Time Machine backup
  • Recover deleted pictures and photos from Mac with Mac data recovery software 

3. How can I recover permanently deleted files from Mac without the software?

Recover permanently deleted files on Mac without Software:

Step 1. Launch Time Machine on your Mac. 

Step 2. Find the deleted files you want to restore using the onscreen up-and-down arrows to locate them. 

Step 3. Click the Restore button, and the deleted file will return to its original location. 

4. Where do permanently deleted files go?

Files moved to the recycle bin (on PCs) or the trash can (on Macs) stay in those folders until the user empties the recycle bin or trash can. Once they have been deleted from those folders, they are still in the hard drive and can be retrieved with the right software.

Was This Page Helpful?

Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization.

Read full bio

Written by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working at EaseUS for over ten years, starting as a technical writer and moving on to being a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over ten years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

Read full bio