Top 15 Best Data Recovery Software for Mac OS X

Data recovery software is something that you hope you never have to use. Unfortunately, many computer users will need to avail themselves of the power of this type of program at some time. We are going to review the top 10 data recovery software applications for the Mac to help you get your data back.

1. Disk Drill Data Recovery for Mac

Disk Drill is one of the best data recovery software applications for Mac users. It is a full-featured and comprehensive data recovery tool that offers advanced features to raise the level of data protection on your computer and peripheral devices. Using this powerful tool, you can recover files on just about any type of external media, including iOS and Android devices.


Best data recovery software for Mac

Disk Drill recognizes several hundred file types, making it the perfect choice for recovering your lost or deleted data. Photos, music files, videos, and important documents are just a few of the types of data that can be recovered with the app. You have the ability to preview the files that can be recovered before buying the full product.


The application uses a number of powerful scanning algorithms as it searches your disks for lost and damaged files. Quick scan will quickly locate files that can be recovered, and the more time-intensive Deep scan can be used on any type of disk, even one with no file system. You can limit the scanning results by choosing the file types that you are interested in recovering before initiating the process.


 


An easy-to-use graphic interface makes this data recovery tool simple to use. You just select the drive you are interested in recovering, click the “Recover” button, and Disk Drill will show you which files can be recovered.

Taking advantage of Disk Drill’s “Recovery Vault” and “Guaranteed Recovery” functions adds an extra level of data protection to your Mac machine. These features keep track of metadata regarding deleted files and can make recovering files deleted from the Trash bin a simple matter. Using Disk Drill in this proactive manner takes the guesswork out of recovering lost and deleted files.


Pros

  • Intuitive user interface

  • Great recovery rate for photos and documents

  • Proactive data protection

  • Extra free disk tools: disk cleanup, duplicate finder, disk health, etc.

  • Free version to preview recoverable files and recover what was protected


Cons

  • No telephone support

2. PhotoRec Recovery Software for Mac

PhotoRec is a free and open-source data recovery application capable of recovering much more than simply photos from your hard drive as well as a wide variety of peripheral storage devices.


PhotoRec for Mac

PhotoRec is a companion program to TestDisk, a partition recovery and repair software application capable of making non-booting disks bootable again. The idea is to first use TestDisk to repair file system damage and then safely recover any lost data with PhotoRec in read-only mode, which eliminates the chance of overwriting files during recovery.


Despite what its name suggests, PhotoRec doesn’t recover only photos. According to its developers, it recognizes more than 480 file extensions (about 300 file families), making it one of the most comprehensive data recovery software applications for Mac. Here’s the complete list of file formats recognized by PhotoRec.


Because PhotoRec is open-source data recovery software without a graphical user interface, it’s very easy for developers to port it to various operating systems, which is exactly what they did and why it runs under Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, *BSD, and even Sun Solaris.


The absence of a graphical user interface could certainly be a major obstacle for many less experienced users, but we found PhotoRec’s command-line interface to be fairly intuitive, which is why we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.


Pros

  • Freeware, so there is no cost to use the app

  • Recognizes many file types

  • Runs under many different operating systems


Cons

  • Command-line interface

  • No customer support

3. Data Rescue 5 for Mac

Data Rescue 5 is a data recovery tool for Mac OS X 10.10 or later. It can recover data from your hard drives as well as external drives, SD cards, solid-state drives, and other devices.


Prosoft Data Rescue 5

This well-known and popular data recovery software for Mac computers offers a straightforward recovery process and several unique features that make it stand out when compared with other similar software applications.


To start recovering lost data with Data Rescue 5, all you need to do is select the device you want to recover from, pick the most suitable scan type, and wait for the application to do its job. The Quick Scan option is great for recovering data from storage devices that fail to boot or mount, while Deep Scan is ideal for getting back files that have been permanently deleted.


Users of Mac OS X 10.10, 10.11,10.12, 10.13, and 10.14 can use Data Rescue 5 to create a special startup drive for simple recovery of a non-booting internal drive. Unfortunately, the developers of Data Rescue 5 are unable to support this feature in Mac OS X 10.15 and newer due to the restrictions imposed by Apple.


Customers can choose between a Standard and Professional license. The Standard license includes one system activation, and it limits recovery to five drives, while the Professional license doesn’t have any activation or recovery limits.


Pros

  • Free version for previewing potential file recovery

  • Email notifications

  • Duplicate file recognition to save recovery space


Cons

  • More expensive than some alternatives

  • Recovery drive does not support Mac OS X 10.15

4. RStudio for Mac

R-Studio for Mac can recover deleted data from all types of file systems using advanced scanning algorithms, restore formatted partitions and drives, and create an image file of a disk with bad sectors to facilitate recovery.


RStudio for Mac

R-Studio for Mac is a feature-packed data recovery software for professional and regular home users alike. It can recover data from all commonly used Mac, Windows, and Linux file systems, including APFS, HFS+/HFS, FAT, NTFS, ReFS, UFS1/UFS2, and Ext2/Ext3/Ext4.


Professionals swear by R-Studio for Mac because of its advanced data recovery capabilities and many impressive features, such as a built-in hex editor, support for RAIDs, and the ability to first copy the entire storage device into an image file and then use the image file for recovery.


Because R-Studio for Mac has so many advanced features, its user interface can be somewhat confusing and intimidating. Whereas most data recovery software applications attempt to hide all but the most essential options until they’re really necessary, R-Studio for Mac displays an almost overwhelming amount of information on a single screen.


The free version of R-Studio for Mac can recover an unlimited number of files, but the files must be smaller than 256 KB. To recover larger files, users must purchase either a regular or a commercial license for $79.99 or $899.00, respectively. As you can see, the commercial license is very expensive, placing R-Studio for Mac out of the reach of many data recovery professionals.


Pros

  • Free version available

  • Estimates the probability of file recovery

  • Graphically displays recoverable data

  • Support for Linux partitions


Cons

  • Commercial version is expensive

  • Intimidating user interface

  • Demands a high level of computer knowledge

  • Free version can’t recover files larger than 256 KB

5. Softtote Mac Data Recovery

Even though Softtote Mac Data Recovery doesn’t support the latest version of macOS, it still deserves the attention of all Mac users who are looking for a data recovery software application that provides a guided approach to data recovery.


Softtote Mac Data Recovery

The next entry in our review of data recovery programs is Softtote Mac Data Recovery. This easy to use application runs on the macOS from version 10.7 through 10.14. Using this tool, you can recover files from a variety of file systems, including NTFS, HFS, HFS+, HFSX, HFS Wrapper, and FAT.


The program enables recovery on your system hard drive or most peripheral storage devices. It offers flexible file filtering to minimize scanning time and is able to recover deleted, damaged, or corrupted files in many different file formats.


Users like Softtote Mac Data Recovery because of its three recovery wizards, which do a great job of guiding through photo recovery, file recovery, and partition recovery. All recoverable files can be previewed before recovery so that you can decide which files you want to get back and which can be left behind.


By far the biggest issue with this data recovery software is the fact that it doesn’t support the latest version of macOS. This alone wouldn’t be all that bad if Softtote Mac Data Recovery was slightly cheaper. The good news is that there’s a free trial version that you can use to test what the software can do before you spend your hard-earned money on it.


Pros

  • Software wizards to assist with partition, file, and photo recoveries

  • Simple user interface with clear descriptions

  • Above-average recovery results


Cons

  • The limited set of supported file types

  • Doesn’t support the latest version of macOS

6. Cisdem DataRecovery for Mac

This versatile recovery program enables you to recover just about any type of deleted, damaged, or formatted file in your Mac machine or peripheral device. The three-step recovery process lets you choose a data loss scenario, scan and preview recoverable files, and then perform the actual data restoration.


Cisdem DataRecovery for Mac

Cisdem DataRecovery for Mac is a great example of a data recovery software application that succeeds because it doesn’t try to do too much. Instead of spreading themselves thin, its developers made it their priority to create an easy-to-use solution to all common data loss situations for Mac users who aren’t technically savvy.


When you launch Cisdem DataRecovery for Mac, you’re immediately asked which data loss situation you’re trying to solve. The available options include Basic Data Recovery, Trash Recovery, Formatted Data Recovery, External Drive Recovery, and Advanced Data Recovery. The subsequent steps reflect the selected data recovery option, making the entire process very straightforward.


Cisdem DataRecovery for Mac advertises support for over 200 different types of files, including all commonly used photo, audio, video, document, and archive, file formats. All major storage devices are supported, and the same goes for file systems.


You can try Cisdem DataRecovery for Mac for free before purchase, and the data recovery software also comes with a 30-days money-back guarantee that makes you eligible for a full refund if it fails to recover your data.


Pros

  • 30-day money back guarantee

  • 5 specific recovery modes to address data loss scenarios

  • Free lifetime updates


Cons

  • No pre-scan filtering options

  • Doesn’t work with Mac OS X 10.10 and older

7. M3 Mac Data Recovery

M3 data recovery is free data recovery software compatible with all recent versions of macOS (from Mountain Lion to Catalina). It supports many file system formats, including encrypted APFS drives, and has the ability to recover files deleted from your Trash bin.


M3 Mac Data Recovery

Regardless of if you need to retrieve lost files from a formatted hard drive or recover a lost partition, M3 Mac Data Recovery makes it easy to get the job done with just a few clicks. This Mac data recovery software comes with far more powerful features than its simple user interface suggests.


To start with, it can recover data even from encrypted APFS volumes and unreadable or unmountable drives. As long as the storage device hasn’t been damaged, you can be pretty sure that M3 Mac Data Recovery will be able to recognize it and find the data you’re looking for.


When dealing with a Mac that’s not booting up properly, you can take advantage of the option to run M3 Mac Data Recovery in macOS Recovery mode. You don’t even need to create a bootable recovery drive first because it’s possible to launch a bootable version of M3 Mac Data Recovery from the internet with a single command.


Even though M3 Mac Data Recovery provides two flexible scanning modes, we have found its recovery performance to be underwhelming, especially when recovering video and photo files. However, the recovery process itself was intuitive and easy to understand.


Pros

  • Free edition allows the recovery of 1 GB of data

  • Recovers data from encrypted drives

  • Frequently receives new updates


Cons

  • Below-average performance recovering video and photo files

  • Makes you wait for the scan to finish

8. Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery

Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery is a freeware application that offers users a free method of recovering deleted files from Mac machines. You can use the tool to recover from damaged or deleted partitions, and the software allows you to restore data from a variety of external devices.


Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery

Truth be told, there are not many data recovery software applications for Mac OS X that offer unlimited recovery without charging a penny for it. In most cases, users are allowed to preview recoverable files for free but asked to purchase a license or subscription to recover them. Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery is a notable exception in this regard, and this alone is enough to secure it a spot on this list.


Of course, unlimited recovery isn’t worth much if the application can’t deliver satisfactory recovery results. Despite its outdated user interface, which makes Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery much less intuitive than most other similar applications, we were able to achieve solid recovery results and get back most deleted files without any issues.


The latest version of Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery introduced support for the exFAT file system, which means that virtually all commonly used file systems are now supported. The only major exception is the Apple File System (APFS), which is available in macOS High Sierra (10.13) and later. There’s no support for APFS because the latest version of Mac OS X that’s officially supported by Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery is 10.9 Mavericks.


Pros

  • Free unlimited recovery

  • You can preview your files even while the scan is still in progress

  • Offers several recovery options


Cons

  • Does not officially support the newest macOS versions

  • Outdated user interface

9. TechTool Pro

TechTool Pro is designed to help you test and repair a number of problematic conditions that you may experience with your Mac. Using this tool, you can perform drive testing and repair, monitor your network and connectivity, conduct memory tests, and more.


TechTool Pro

TechTool Pro is a comprehensive toolbox with a plethora of hard drive and system repair and maintenance tools. When it comes to data recovery, you’ll appreciate TechTool Pro’s Volume Rebuild tool, which can automatically repair the most common drive problems.


Because it’s always better to spot problems in their infancy, before they have a chance to cause major damage, TechTool Pro features a full testing suite that you can use to determine the health of your Mac’s hardware and your storage devices.


With TechTool Protection, you can protect important files and folders against accidental deletion by storing a complete back up of your directory structure. Should you accidentally delete an important file, TechTool Pro’s Data Recovery will be able to read this backup like a map and determine where to look to get your files back.


Included with every copy of TechTool Pro is TechTool Protogo, which makes it possible to create a bootable diagnostic device containing TechTool Pro and all of its most powerful tools for portable Mac diagnosis and recovery.


Pros

  • Can recover deleted APFS files

  • Offers many features beyond that of data recovery

  • SMART drive check to alert you of potential drive failures


Cons

  • Required to purchase additional licenses for application upgrades

  • Can be difficult to control startup parameters

  • Some reports of issues with the eDrive creation feature

10. Ontrack EasyRecovery for Mac

Ontrack’s EasyRecovery application performs precision data recovery following accidental deletion or formatting of data from your storage media. You can use it to recover lost data from your main hard drive or just about any external storage device.


Ontrack EasyRecovery for Mac

There’s a good reason why Ontrack EasyRecovery tends to receive more praise from professionals than regular Mac users: its user interface leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to its polish and intuitiveness.


Just like most other data recovery software applications, Ontrack EasyRecovery relies on a step-by-step recovery wizard to guide users through the recovery process. However, each step requires users to pick from a variety of different options, some of which are easier to understand than others.


For example, step number three asks users to choose a recovery scenario that best fits their data loss problems. That alone wouldn’t be an issue if it wasn’t for the fact that Ontrack EasyRecovery also requires users to select which file systems they want to search for.


The free version can recover 1 GB of data, which is a fairly generous amount that should be more than enough for most users. Other available versions of Ontrack EasyRecovery include Home, Professional, Premium, Technician, and Toolkit.


Pros

  • Fast data recovery tool

  • Can recover from damaged optical media

  • Repairs damaged and corrupted photo and video files

  • Recovers up to 1 GB of data free


Cons

  • Multiple versions make it challenging to find the correct tool

  • Cannot create a disk image to be used for recovery

  • Less intuitive interface than competitive tools

11. Tenorshare Data Recovery for Mac

Tenorshare UltData for Mac provides a real-time preview of the recoverable data so you can easily select which files to restore. You can recover your data with a simple three-step process that employs advanced scanning algorithms.


Tenorshare Data Recovery for Mac

Tenorshare has plenty of experience with developing software applications for macOS, and they used this experience to make Tenorshare UltData for Mac one of the most user-friendly data recovery software applications available.


At its core is a simple 3-step recovery process, which anyone can figure out without an online guide or video tutorial. First, you select the storage device on which your lost data was originally located, and then you begin a scan of the selected storage device. Finally, you review the recovered files and choose those that you want to recover.


From start to finish, this whole process shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes, but several users have reported slow recovery performance, so your mileage may vary. Tenorshare UltData for Mac can recover around 550 file formats and preview most of them.


The latest version of this polished data recovery software fully supports macOS 10.15 Catalina. If you decide to unlock unlimited recovery, you can pay for a Tenorshare UltData for Mac subscription (monthly or annual) or purchase a lifetime license. Because the annual subscription is nearly as expensive as the lifetime license, we see absolutely no reason to spend money on it.


Pros

  • Supports recovery of over 550 file formats

  • Simple and intuitive interface

  • Can recover iPhone data


Cons

  • Does not log recovery data

  • No filtering to recover specific folders or data

  • Some reports of slow recovery performance

  • Doesn’t support NTFS

12. Wondershare Data Recovery for Mac

This application by Wondershare is designed to allow you to recover lost or deleted data, including videos, photos, music files, documents, and many other types of files, on a computer running macOS 10.9–10.15 (macOS Catalina).


Wondershare Data Recovery for Mac

The developers behind this data recovery software for macOS are known largely for their simple video editor, called Filmora, but they have also developed a broad range of utilities intended to solve issues Mac users around the world face on a daily basis, and Recoverit is one of them.


Geared toward regular Mac users who are looking for a simple and effective way to recover all lost data, Wondershare Recoverit boasts an intuitive user interface that makes it immediately obvious where you need to click next to get your data back. The software can recover more than 200 file types, but it specializes in photo and video files.


The most recent version introduced two useful video recovery features, called Advanced Video Recovery and Video Repair. The former can recover videos by merging video fragments, while the latter can repair damaged video files by analyzing a sample video file shot using the same device as the damaged video file.


These two features alone would make Wondershare Recoverit an easy choice for all photographers and filmmakers if it wasn’t for the fact that you need the most expensive yearly subscription license to take advantage of them, making this data recovery software fairly expensive.


Pros

  • Free trial to preview recoverable files

  • Simple user interface

  • Great photo and video recovery rate


Cons

  • Yearly subscription license

13. Minitool Power Data Recovery

Minitool Power Data Recovery is a popular freemium data recovery application that should be more than able to satisfy the needs of most Mac users who have recently lost or accidentally deleted an important file and would like to restore it on their own.


MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Minitool Power Data Recovery may be significantly more popular among Windows users than it is among Mac users, but that doesn’t mean the Mac version is any worse. The only reason why it doesn’t enjoy more popularity is the fact that it makes it possible to recover only 1 MB of data for free (the users of the Windows version can recover up to 1 GB).


If you can look past the obvious attempt to convince Mac users to spend money on a license, there are many reasons to choose Minitool Power Data Recovery. For example, it can recover permanently deleted data from all common storage devices, including optical disks.


Even corrupted hard drives and removable storage devices are no match for the advanced data recovery algorithms that are available to users of all versions of Minitool Power Data Recovery. The application delivers below-average performance only when recovering video and music files.


Not that long ago, Minitool Power Data Recovery received a major user interface upgrade, and it’s now easier to use than ever before. The new user interface lets you apply search filters with a few simple clicks or find specific files just by entering their names.


Pros

  • Easy to use

  • Useful search function

  • Capable of recovering lost partitions

  • Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee


Cons

  • Below-average performance recovering video and music files

  • Free version makes it possible to recover only 1 MB of data

14. EaseUs Data Recovery Wizard for Mac

This powerful data recovery tool supports macOS 10.9–10.15, and its notable features include the ability to create an emergency bootable USB drive and recover lost data from a Time Machine backup drive.


Easeus Data Recovery Wizard for Mac

EaseUS is a well-known software company with a strong lineup of useful applications, and EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac demonstrates its ability to combine impressive features with great usability. Available for Mac and Windows, this data recovery software has already helped millions of people around the world recover data that many other similar applications were unable to recover.


It can deal with permanently deleted files, partition issues, and even complex data loss scenarios like improperly formatting. According to its website, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac supports more than 1,000 file types, which is more than any other data recovery software application on this list. While objectively verifying this claim would be extremely difficult, we can say based on our experience that EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac can recover all commonly used file formats without any issues.


The free version of this data recovery software can recover up to 2 GB of data, so it’s no wonder that many users never upgrade to the Pro edition, which includes not only unlimited recovery but also free 1-on-1 remote assistance, the ability to recover from Time Machine backups, and more.


Pros

  • Recover up to 2 GB with the application’s free version

  • Live chat support

  • Makes it easy to sort recoverable files

  • Step-by-step recovery wizard


Cons

  • Paid version is more expensive than some competitors

  • Sometimes displays files that can’t be recovered

15. Stellar Mac Data Recovery Professional

Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac is a data recovery tool that enables you to restore deleted files on your Mac computer. It can help you recover many types of files, including photos, documents, and videos from accidental deletion or a mistakenly formatted HDD.


Stellar Mac Data Recovery Professional

With its impressive data recovery capabilities and user-friendly interface, Stellar Mac Data Recovery Professional is a great choice for all Mac users who want to recover deleted documents, photos, videos, audio, and other data without much effort.


Stellar Mac Data Recovery Professional can recover data from all APFS, HFS, HFS+, ex-FAT, NTFS storage devices, including hard drives, solid-state drives, flash drives, Fusion Drives (hybrid drives), and SD cards via Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) or USB.


The latest version introduced the ability to perform recovery from a bootable USB flash drive, allowing users to recover data even from crashed Macs that refuse to boot properly. Other features you should know about include drive health monitoring and the ability to create an image of a corrupted storage device to facilitate faster and more secure data recovery.


While you can download Stellar Mac Data Recovery Professional for free, you can’t use it to recover any data. To do that, you must purchase one of the three available licenses (Professional, Premium, Technician), the most affordable of which costs $79.99.


Pros

  • Recovers data from Time Machine backups

  • Can recover deleted data from encrypted drives

  • Create clone drives for data recovery


Cons

  • Fewer file formats supported compared to some competitors

  • More expensive than some of the competitive products

  • Repairing volumes requires the Premium version of the tool

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

Data recovery can take a variable amount of time depending on the scope and type of recovery to be performed. If a deep scan is required to identify recoverable data, more time will be expended in the restore. The quantity of data being restored will also impact the speed of the recovery.

Data recovery works by taking advantage of the way modern operating systems perform deletions. Deleted files are marked as inaccessible and their storage space made available to the system if needed. The files are still physically present on the disk and can be recovered with specialized software.

Most of the quality data recovery applications for macOS offer a free trial during which you can get the functionality of the product. You may need to purchase the full program to actually perform data recovery on your machine. The program may provide a preview of files that it can recover.

Recovery mode is a feature of macOS that is used to help restore your computer if you are experiencing problems. You boot your computer into macOS Recovery mode to take advantage of the macOS utilities that can address the issues you are facing by restoring from Time Machine or reinstalling the OS.

Here is a list of the five best data recovery software applications for macOS:

  1. Disk Drill Data Recovery for Mac;
  2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac;
  3. Softtote Mac Data Recovery;
  4. Wondershare Data Recovery for Mac;
  5. Stellar Data Recovery Professional.

Conclusion

Even if you follow best practices and regularly backup your machine, there are a number of reasons that you may need to recover deleted or missing files.

Your computer’s hard drive can experience physical or logical damage causing files to disappear. Operating system or software application upgrades can also result in inadvertently lost or deleted files. Plain old human error, such as remembering you needed a file right after you emptied the trash or recycle bin, is always a possibility.

Whatever the reason, if you experience deleted or lost files you will need to use some file recovery software for Mac. The key is not to panic and to stop using the drive where you will be attempting a data recovery as soon as possible. Continued use of your drive or partition can lead to your files being overwritten before they can be recovered, so stop using it and download and install data recovery software on another disk or partition.
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