Top 3 Proven Ways to Recover Deleted Folder on Mac

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recover deleted folder on mac

I just accidentally deleted a complete folder full of important files and photos on my Mac. Is it possible to recover those files?

Yes, if you act quickly and follow the instructions provided in this article, you should be able to recover the entire content of the deleted folder.

Solution #1: Try to Recover Deleted Folders from a Trash Bin

Unless you press Option + Command + Delete on your keyboard or select the Delete Immediately option from the File menu in Finder (available only when you hold the Option key), deleted folders on Mac are moved to Trash, where they sit until you empty Trash or recover them.

To recover a folder from trash:

  1. Click the Trash icon in the Dock.restore folder mac from trash
  2. Select the folder you want to recover and either:

    – Drag it from Trash to your desktop or some other folder.

    – Right-click on the folder and select Put Back.

Solution #2: Restore Deleted Folders with Disk Drill for Mac

If you haven’t found the deleted folder in Trash, not all hope is lost. With Disk Drill for Mac, you might still be able to restore it.

Disk Drill is a data recovery software application that can recover deleted files and folders after emptying Trash thanks to its powerful scanning algorithms, which can recognize hundreds of different file formats.

Your chance of success with Disk Drill depends in part on how quickly you begin the recovery process, so don’t hesitate and follow the instructions below.

To recover a deleted folder via Disk Drill:

  1. Download Disk Drill from its website.recovered files folder mac
    free data recovery software Disk Drill for Windows & macOS Free Download
  2. Install it by copying the downloaded .dmg file to the Applications folder.recover deleted folder mac with disk drill
  3. Go to the Applications folder and launch Disk Drill by clicking on its icon.instantly restore folder mac
  4. Click the Recover button next to the hard drive where the deleted folder was located.recovered files folder mac os x
  5. Look for the deleted folder in the Quick Scan – deleted folder.
  6. Click on the checkbox next to it to select it.
  7. Click the Recover button in the upper-right corner to recover it.recover deleted folder on macos
  8. Select where you want Disk Drill to recover the deleted folder and click Choose.recover deleted folder on mac for free

That’s it! The deleted folder should now be restored, and all of its content with it.  


Solution #3: Restore Deleted Folder from Time Machine

If you use Time Machine to automatically backup your data, you can enter it to restore the deleted folder from an earlier backup.

To recover a deleted folder from Time Machine:

  1. Connect your Time Machine backup disk to your Mac.
  2. Launch Finder and navigate to the folder where the folder you want to recover was located.
  3. Select Enter Time Machine from the Time Machine menu.easily restore folder mac
  4. Find the folder you want to recover and select it.
  5. Click Restore to restore the selected folder.restore folder mac with time machine

Bonus: Restore Deleted Folders from a 3rd Party Backup

There are many excellent 3rd party backup solutions available to Mac users, offering many advanced features not present in Apple’s Time Machine.

With its ability to create bootable backups, Carbon Copy Cloner is among the most popular 3rd party Mac backup solutions, and it works even with the new APFS filesystem.

restore folder with carbon copy cloner

To recover a deleted folder from a backup on Mac:

  1. Launch Carbon Copy Cloner.
  2. Select Restore from disk image from the Source menu.
  3. Choose where you want to restore the deleted folder.
  4. Select Preserve newer files, don’t delete anything from the preconfigured settings menu.
  5. Deselect any items from the list of items to be copied apart from the folder you want to recover.
  6. Click the Clone

Most Common Issues That Can Cause Data Loss on Mac

Data loss on Mac computers can be caused by multiple issues, each of which requires a slightly different approach to data recovery.

According to data loss statistics, mechanical damage (31%) and human error (29%) are the most common issues that cause data loss, together representing 60% of all cases of data loss.

As interesting as data loss statistics can be, they represent only the imaginary average user, who may or may not have anything in common with you.

For example, if you consider yourself to be an advanced Mac user, you’re probably very unlikely to lose data by mistake. But there’s a chance that you own a more expensive Mac than the average user, which increases the chance of someone stealing your computer and your data along with it. That’s why you should familiarize yourself with all common issues that can cause data loss on Mac and prepare for them.  

Human Error

If there’s one thing history tells us, it’s that humans make mistakes. Some mistakes lead to wars, some lead to relationships to falling apart, and some cause data loss.

Many Mac users have overwritten entire folders because it’s necessary to press and hold the Option key for the folders to merge, which is what happens by default on Windows when two folders with the same name are copied to the same location. Another danger is the Move to Trash option located in the context menu. As soon as you click on it, the selected is moved to Trash without any warning.

Minimizing data loss caused by human error requires a combination of training and reliable data backup and recovery solutions.  

Mechanical Damage

In very large companies with thousands of computers, hard drives fail almost every day, which is why such companies implement bullet-proof data backup and recovery processes. Even though most Mac users will never have to deal with a hard drive failure, they should still prepare for it ahead of time because it usually comes unannounced and at the worst possible moment.

Typically, hard drives fail as a result of mechanical damage. Anything from excessive heat to a drop from a height of more than just a few inches to water can damage the sensitive components inside modern hard drives and render them useless. What’s worse, some types of mechanical damage can make data recovery impossible, so having a backup is crucial.  

Viruses and Malware

Apple does a lot to protect the data of Mac users, restricting the permissions of installed applications and encouraging users to avoid installing applications from unknown sources. Despite all this effort, it’s still possible for a virus or malicious application to delete files and folders, especially if the user unknowingly gives it permission to do so.

Businesses are especially at risk from hackers because they typically value their data far more than home users. Even when it’s not the goal of hackers to delete important data, they sometimes do so just to cover their tracks.

Power Failures

Have you ever worked on an important document for hours just to lose it due to a sudden power outage? If so, you already know how easily can power failures lead to data loss. Power failures can also cause data corruption and make your entire hard drive unreadable. The sudden change in voltage and current can damage various hardware components, including the motherboard.

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) provide a great first line of defense against power outages, but they don’t protect against power failures caused by the power supply itself, which is where automated cloud backups come in.

Theft

Unless you have your Mac with your day and night, there’s always the danger of someone stealing it. Even if you manage to find your stolen Mac and recover it from the thief, it will most likely be erased and reinstalled.

With the help of a capable data recovery software application, there’s a chance that you’ll get at least some of your data back, but it all depends on how quickly you start the data recovery process.


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David Morelo is a professional content writer in the technology niche, covering everything from consumer products to emerging technologies and their cross-industry application.
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This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.