Stellar Data Recovery for Mac Review – Popular but Not Flawless
Out of 5 Total Score
No. 4 Among all macOS solutions
You would be hard-pressed to find any list of the best data recovery software applications that doesn’t include Stellar Data Recovery for Mac. But is the software recommended so often because of its capabilities or because of Stellar’s ongoing marketing efforts?
S.M.A.R.T. There is a built-in S.M.A.R.T. module. Unfortunately, it only supports internal drives.
Preview in safe mode. There is an option to preview files in safe mode in order to prevent crashes cause by corrupted data being opened.
Backup creation. When making a byte-by-byte copy of a drive, you can specify the range you want to copy.
Learning new signatures. The application can learn new signatures for scanning based on provided sample files.
Search settings. Both at application startup and in the preferences, there is an option to disable individual file signatures, allowing you to search for only certain file types.
Scanning of disk surfaces. The program has an option that makes it possible to scan the disk surface for bad sectors.
Disk cloning. Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can create byte-to-byte clones of storage devices.
Fast scanning speed. The data reading speed is very fast, but the analysis of the obtained data is slow.
Scanning screen. The scanning screen is quite informative and uniquely designed.
Icons mode. Icons mode making it possible to disable the generation of icons, forcing the program to show the associated application for a given file type.
Long disk refreshes. When a new disk is connected, the program completely refreshes the entire list of connected devices, causing a long hang.
Automatic updates in the free version. Only the paid version of the software can automatically check for updates. The free version can’t.
Loses license information. License information becomes invalid after every update and must be entered again.
Slow previews. Previews take a lot of time to generate.
Preview limits. The preview feature only works for files under 100 megabytes, and only some file formats are supported.
Bootdrive. The feature doesn't work on macOS 11 and 12.
Scan speed. Although the scan speed is very fast, it takes a long time to analyze the data, which leads to long delays until scan results are displayed.
Recovery speed. Recovery speed is very slow.
General convenience. There’s no way to preview and recover files while scanning is still in progress.
Scanning of disks without a file system. Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can’t scan disks without a file system. Such disks are simply not listed. To scan a disk that doesn’t have a file system, you have to format it first, which may lead to data loss.
Crashes during a scan. The application failed to scan all 10 provided test disk sets provided, crashing each time.
Dark mode only. The application always start in dark mode and there’s no way to switch to light mode.
Launch without password. The app ask for the admin password every time it launches.
М1. Doesn't work without Rosetta on M1 devices.
T2 deep scan. Deep scan of system disks on T2 devices displays only existing files, not deleted ones.
Loading sessions. The session download menu is hidden and very uncomfortable to open.
Signatures. Very few signatures (118) are recognized.
Extra features. Additional tools (image burning, boot disk creation, photo and video repair) are hidden deep in the interface of the program, and it takes some effort to find them.
Scan entire disk. The program does not let you scan the whole disk if it has partitions. You have to scan each partition separately.
Hidden disk names. By default, Stellar Data Recovery for Mac only displays Volumes during device selection, and you have to enter an advanced source selection screen to see hardware disks.
Search for lost partitions. Search for lost partitions is not part of general drive scanning. You need to invoke it separately.
Recovery quality. The overall recovery quality is low in relation to the price of the product.
Changelog. Changelogs are not available for previous versions of the product. The site only says what's changed in the current version and there is a one-month delay before the information appears on the site.
Auto rescanning. If the connection to a disk is lost during scanning/recovery/backup, the program won't react and will silently act as if it the scan is still in progress.
Bad sectors. If a disk has bad sectors, the application will not inform about it and will continue working as if everything was fine, which can cause more damage to the disk and data.
Hex. A hex file viewer isn’t present.
Language support. The app is translated into only 6 languages.
Full screen application. It is not possible to enter full screen mode.
End of recovery. When the program finishes writing the recovered files, there is no end to the process of recovering the files. The copying process just silently closes.
Found tree. The found tree feature is very slow when used with large data set, but the last item in the tree is always cut off by the bottom scroll bar.
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac – Overview #
The fact that there have been 11 major releases of Stellar Data Recovery for Mac should tell you a lot about the application’s maturity and its developers’ ongoing commitment to making it better. Here are some of the most important facts about this data recovery software that you should know before diving deep into our detailed review.
|Latest version||184.108.40.206 • Released 4th Mar, 2022|
|Download size||102 MB|
|Category||Data Recovery Software|
|UI languages||English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese|
|Trial version available|
|Trial version limitations|
|No credit card to try|
|Money back guarantee|
The free version of Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can recover up to 1 GB of data, but it lacks some of the best features the software has to offer. Multiple premium plans are available for those who want to unlock all capabilities, but only the most expensive plans are actually feature-complete.
|1||1 Year License||$59.99|
|1||1 Year License||$89.99|
Everything in Stellar Standard Data Recovery plus:
|1||1 Year License||$99.99|
Everything in Stellar Professional Data Recovery plus:
|1||1 Year License||$149.00|
Everything in Stellar Premium Data Recovery plus:
Discounts and coupons
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac 20% Discount
Coupon code - ColormangoStellarPST25.
|Get the Deal|
24% Discount on Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac
Coupon code - JANDELIGHT.
|Get the Deal|
Developer — Stellar Information Technology Pvt. Ltd.
The developers of Stellar Data Recovery for Mac, Stellar Information Technology Pvt. Ltd., are headquartered in India, and they’ve been around for almost three decades now, focusing mainly on the development of data recovery software. The company also runs a data recovery business in the Netherlands, and they have what seems to be a virtual office in the United States.
1% 30.8% than avg
Reflects the share of online traffic within the niche occupied by data recovery software, based on data taken from ahrefs.com (from Google US search engine).
1400 40.2% than avg
Based on the number of brand-related search queries on Google US according to ahrefs.com.
Even though Stellar is based in India, their marketing largely targets western customers, which is evident from the affiliate program they run and their numerous partnerships with English-speaking websites.
1993 • 29 years on the market
D16, Sector-33, Infocity Phase II, Gurugram-122001, India
Stellar clearly puts a lot of hard work into its social media presence, which spans multiple major social media sites. The good news for its customers is that the company also understands the importance of providing great customer support across multiple channels.
Data Recovery with Stellar Data Recovery for Mac
Tested on: macOS 12.3 (21E230)
Unlike many other sites that claim to publish trustworthy reviews, we actually comprehensively test the software we talk about, and Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is no exception.
How We Test
Our data recovery software tests are guided by our well-thought-out testing methodology, which is intended to reveal all strengths and weaknesses of the tested software, some of which become apparent only after extensive testing.
|1||Installation||Not all data recovery software is equally easy to install. That's why our tests start with the installation process.|
|2||Source selection||Because we want the results of our tests to be objective, we always prepare the same virtual hard drives containing carefully selected data samples.|
|3||Scanning process||We simulate data loss scenarios to see how the tested data recovery software application can handle them.|
|4||Managing found data||Being able to easily find and select the right files is almost as important as the application's ability to recover them.|
|5||Recovery and post-processing||Critical mistakes can be made even during the last stage of the recovery process, and the best data recovery software should help the user avoid them.|
The best data recovery software usually supports multiple recovery methods, and we always strive to test all supported methods to see how they handle different data loss scenarios.
Our test of Stellar Data Recovery for Mac began on its official website. There, you can either download the free version, which offers limited functionality and can recover only up to 1 GB of data, or you can choose between several different premium subscription plans.
Regardless of which option you choose, you will end up with a disk image containing the application file. To install Stellar Data Recovery for Mac, you simply need to drag the application icon to the Applications folder.
When you launch the data recovery software for the first time, you will be asked to give it Full Disk Access and permission to access removable volumes. Stellar Data Recovery for Mac requests these permissions only once, but it does require you to enter the admin password every time the application starts.
Selecting the right storage device is fairly easy, but you need to know how the volume on which the deleted files were stored is called. If you only know the name of the storage device itself, you can switch to an advance source selection screen (see the screenshot on the right).
The reason why Stellar Data Recovery for Mac displays volumes by default is simple: the data recovery software can't recover entire storage devices in one go, forcing you to complete the recovery of lost data one volume at a time.
To start scanning for lost data, all you have to do is click the Scan button. Stellar Data Recovery for Mac will then display a scanning progress screen, showing a wealth of information so that you always have a good idea of how well the scan is progressing.
If you want to, you can turn on real-time previews, but you should know that the feature can slow down the scanning process. Since individual previews are gone in the blink of an eye, we don't think keeping the preview feature turned on makes much sense.
Overall, Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is a fast data recovery software application when it comes to scanning, but the analysis of found files takes much longer than it should.
Managing found files
Once Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is done scanning, the application takes a while to generate file previews so that you can conveniently browse recoverable files and select those you want to get back.
Plenty of sorting and filtering options are available, so finding the files you're looking for shouldn't feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Unfortunately, there are a few annoying limitations that complicate the management of found files a bit, such as the fact that the preview feature only works for files under 100 megabytes, and only some file formats are supported.
Recovery and post-processing
Assuming you've successfully found the deleted files and added them to your recovery queue by checking the checkboxes next to them, you can retrieve them to a safe location by clicking the Recover button.
When you do that, Stellar Data Recovery for Mac will prompt you to select a suitable destination and click the Save button to save the selected files. If you pick the same destination as the source volume, you won't be allowed to recover your files at all. Instead, the software will simply inform you that recovering to the same volume could lead to data loss.
While it's admirable that Stellar wants to protect its users from data loss caused by their ignorance, we don't like that there's no option to continue anyway, which might come in handy in certain desperate situations.
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac – Tutorials and Other Videos
To help you better understand how Stellar Data Recovery for Mac works, we’ve put together a collection of useful tutorials and other video resources.
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac – Full Review
Now that you’ve seen Stellar Data Recovery for Mac in action, it’s time to analyze what a single data recovery test can’t possibly reveal to learn how good the software really is.
Partly thanks to its impressive marketing efforts, Stellar is a well-known developer of data recovery software applications, and finding both professional and user reviews that describe the pros and cons of its products, including Stellar Data Recovery for Mac, is easy.
Just be careful which reviews you read because Stellar runs an affiliate program that allows people to earn money by promoting the software on their blogs, social media sites, forums, and other online places.
Despite being based in India, Stellar provides phone support to customers from around the world, with live chat and helpdesk options also available.
Every 6 months
Available (View full update history)
|4||Latest macOS supported|
Yes, all good
|5||Runs natively on M1 Macs|
Does not support
|6||Genuine or clone?|
|7||Brand name popularity|
|8||Online market share|
|10||Extensive knowledge base|
Because Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can recover up to 1 GB of data free of charge, the software is often recommended to people who want to recover a small amount of data while paying as little money as possible (ideally nothing at all).
The only problem with the free version is the fact that it doesn’t support most features that are included in the paid versions. For example, the free version can’t recover data from lost volumes, create a bootable recovery drive, or repair corrupted videos and photos.
To unlock these and other capabilities, an annual subscription is required. Just be careful which one you choose because only the most expensive subscription plans are feature-complete.
Yes (unlimited time but limited features and amount of data)
|4||Is it free?|
The trial version can recover up to 1 GB of data
Multiple subscription plans
|6||Unlimited recovery in full version|
With an annual subscription plan
|8||Commercial rights in the cheapest license|
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac scores a lot of points for its above-average usability. The application has a modern user interface that makes it easy to locate most main features and begin the data recovery process.
By default, Stellar Data Recovery for Mac uses the Quick scan mode to locate recently deleted data. When the mode fails to deliver any results, the software automatically suggests the user to perform a Deep scan.
Data recovery results are conveniently organized in folders, and it’s possible to narrow them down using scan results filters. Convenient thumbnail previews are displayed for supported file formats.
|1||Modern user-friendly interface|
|4||Automatic implementation of multiple appropriate scanning methods without user interaction|
|5||Auto-resuming scans of failing drives|
|6||Auto-resuming backups of failing drives|
|7||Convenient source selection on start|
|8||Convenient file-by-file preview of recoverable items|
|9||Convenient thumbnail preview of recoverable items|
|10||Mount recoverable items as disk|
|12||Multiple view modes in scan results|
|13||Hex view for recoverable items|
|14||Filter recoverable items by type|
|15||Search recoverable items by file names|
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac has a lot of potential, but all this potential is undermined by its lackluster data recovery performance. The Quick scan feature seems to be particularly useless, forcing the user to perform a Deep scan virtually every single time.
Perhaps the best recovery feature Stellar Data Recovery for Mac has to offer is the ability to learn new file types from provided samples, but this feature isn’t something most regular users would ever need. What regular users would definitely appreciate is the ability to recover corrupted photos and videos. Unfortunately, photo and video repair capabilities are limited to the premium versions of the software.
|1||Clever in-depth scan|
|Failed to deliver any results.|
|Failed to deliver any results.|
|3||Other types of scan|
|Stellar Data Recovery for Mac has a Deep scan feature that delivers acceptable results.|
|Mobile devices and encrypted storage devices are not supported.|
|5||Real-life recovery challenge|
|Stellar Data Recovery for Mac delivered average results during our real-life recovery challenges.|
|6||Other notable recovery features|
|The software can learn to recover new file formats from provided samples.|
The ability to restore original folder structure and file names. Most consumer-oriented data recovery software applications can attempt to not only restore deleted files but also recover their original file names and folder structure. We call this type of functionality Clever scan
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac has the ability to restore original folder structure and file names, but our experience with the feature was greatly disappointing.
Recovery of recently deleted files Every lost minute can significantly worsen the outcome of a data recovery attempt, and Quick scan certainly doesn’t waste your time because it’s designed to find as many recently deleted files as quickly as possible
Unfortunately, the Quick scan feature failed to deliver any positive results at all, regardless of which file system it analyzed.
Other scan types
Advanced scan types for solving complicated data loss situations Basic data recovery algorithms aimed at recovering recently deleted data cover only a small subset of the data loss issues users experience every day. That’s why developers also implement all kinds of advanced scan types
|1||The number of formats supported by deep scan|
|2||Native deep scan of system drives on M1-powered Macs|
|3||Native deep scan of system drives on T2-encrypted Macs|
|4||Native data recovery from local Time Machine snapshots|
|5||Scan for lost partitions|
|6||HFS+ directory rebuild|
|7||Recovered files' labeling|
|8||Partial file recovery|
|9||Disk images: scan and recovery|
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can scan disk image, correctly label recovered files, and scan specific file formats. The software can also learn to recognize new file formats from provided samples.
Supported internal and external storage devices Ideally, data recovery software applications should be able to recover from internal and external hard drives, external USB flash drives, memory cards, smartphones, and other commonly used storage devices
|1||Internal and external HDD|
|2||Internal and external SSD|
|3||USB thumb drives / Classic iPods (non-iOS) / FireWire devices|
|9||Recovery from RAID1, 0, JBOD|
|10||Encrypted device support|
Stellar offers a dedicated iPhone data recovery software tool, so it’s no wonder that mobile devices are not supported by Stellar Data Recovery for Mac. Unfortunately, encrypted storage devices are not supported either.
Real-life recovery challenges
Results of real-life data recovery tests performed under controlled conditions It’s one thing to advertise support for hundreds of file formats, and it’s something else entirely to recover them in practice. Our tests reveal whether the data recovery software lives up to its promises
|1||Raw photo recovery|
|2||Video formats recovery|
|3||Document formats recovery|
Raw photo recovery
The ability to recover raw photo file formats used by digital cameras and mobile devices Most modern digital cameras and increasingly many mobile devices let their users capture raw image data in a variety of raw file formats, so having the ability to recover them can be extremely helpful
|1||3fr (Hasselblad 3F raw image)|
|2||arw (Sony alpha raw)|
|3||bmp (bitmap image file)|
|4||cr2 (Canon raw version 2)|
|5||cr3 (Canon raw version 3)|
|6||crw (Canon raw CIFF image file)|
|7||dcr (Kodak digital camera raw)|
|8||dng (digital negative lossless raw image)|
|9||CinemaDNG (Blackmagic, Penelope, Pocket)|
|10||erf (Epson raw file)|
|11||exr (high dynamic-range file format)|
|12||fff (Hasselblad raw image)|
|13||gpr (GoPro raw format)|
|14||heic (high efficiency image file format)|
|15||iiq (intelligent image quality raw Leaf, Phase One)|
|16||insp (panoramic image Insta360)|
|17||jp2 (bitmap image format JPEG 2000)|
|18||jpg (joint photographic experts group compressed image)|
|19||kdc (Kodak digital camera raw image)|
|20||mef (Mamiya raw image file)|
|21||mos (Leaf and Mamiya raw image file)|
|22||mpo (multi picture stereoscopic object file)|
|23||mrw (Konica Minolta raw image format)|
|24||nef (Nikon raw image file)|
|25||nrw (Nikon raw image file)|
|26||orf (Olympus raw format)|
|27||pef (Pentax raw image file)|
|28||raf (Fujifilm raw image file)|
|29||raw (native digital camera file)|
|30||rw2 (Panasonic LUMIX raw image file)|
|31||rwl (Leica raw image format)|
|32||sr2 (Sony raw 2 image file)|
|33||srf (Sony raw file)|
|34||srw (Samsung raw image file)|
|35||tiff (tag image file format)|
|36||x3f (Sigma camera raw picture file)|
|37||x3i (Sigma super fine detail picture file)|
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can recover supported photo file formats just fine, but the problem is that not many raw photo formats are supported to begin with. When the software encounters a corrupted photo, it can attempt to fix the corruption and resolve issues such as stuttering. This feature is available only in Premium and Technician editions of the tool.
Video formats recovery
Video recovery performance measured against commonly used video formats Video file formats have evolved a lot during the last decade, and not all recovery software tools support modern formats used by the latest digital cameras, camcorders, and mobile devices
|1||360 (GoPRO 360 degree videos)|
|2||ari (ARRI professional digital video camera)|
|3||arx (ARRI professional digital video camera)|
|4||avi (GoPRO CineForm intermediate codec)|
|5||avi (MJPG, H.264, MSMPEG4 v2 codecs)|
|6||braw (Blackmagic raw video file)|
|7||insv (Insta360 panoramic AVC H.264 video file)|
|8||insv (Insta360 panoramic HEVC HVC1 video file)|
|9||mov (Apple ProRes 422 Proxy/LT/HQ)|
|10||mov (Apple ProRes 4444 Raw/HQ)|
|11||mov (advanced video coding H.264)|
|12||mov (CineForm HD codec)|
|13||mov (HEVC, HVC1 codecs)|
|14||mp4 (advanced video coding H.264)|
|15||mp4 (HEVC, HVC1, Apple ProRes codecs)|
|16||mxf (advanced video coding H.264)|
|17||mxf (DVCPRO HD codec)|
|18||mxf (ARRI raw, Apple ProRes codecs)|
|19||mxf (XDCAM HD422, HD35 MPEG2 codecs)|
|20||r3d (Red digital camera company raw video file)|
|21||wmv (pro raw 9 codec)|
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac offers middle-of-the-road video recovery performance. When the software encounters a corrupted video, it can attempt to fix the corruption and resolve issues such as stuttering. This feature is available only in Premium and Technician editions of the tool.
Document formats recovery
Determining how well the software recovers document file formats Documents are among the most commonly recovered file formats because their importance can be tremendous, especially when they're related to work or school. Because of how many document file formats exist these days, older and less developed data recovery software often struggle recovering and recognizing all of them
|1||accdb (Microsoft Access 2007+ database file)|
|2||key (Apple Keynote)|
|3||pages (Apple Pages)|
|4||numbers (Apple Numbers)|
|5||djvu (compressed image format)|
|6||doc (Microsoft Word 97 – 2003 document file)|
|7||docx (Microsoft Word 2007+ document file)|
|8||fb2 (FictionBook 2.0 File)|
|9||mdb (Microsoft Access 97 - 2003 database file)|
|10||odp (OpenOffice presentation file format)|
|11||ods (OpenDocument spreadsheet file format)|
|12||odt (OpenDocument text document file format)|
|13||pdf (portable document format)|
|14||ppt (Microsoft Powerpoint 97 - 2003 presentation file)|
|15||pptx (Microsoft Powerpoint 2007+ presentation file)|
|16||rtf (rich text format)|
|17||xls (Microsoft Excel 97 - 2003 spreadsheet file)|
|18||xlsx (Microsoft Excel 2007+ spreadsheet file)|
You can expect an average performance when recovering document file formats, such as DOC/DOCX and XLS/XLSX files.
Other notable recovery features
Additional recovery features and their performance These additional recovery features are what often separates average data recovery software solutions from those that can satisfy the needs of professionals and power users
|1||Overall non-intrusive read-only algorithms|
|3||Effectively filters out corrupted scan results|
|4||Byte-to-byte device backups|
|5||Bootable recovery drive creation|
|6||Runs in macOS native recovery mode|
|7||Convenient scan session management|
|8||Bad sector management|
|9||Recovery chance prediction|
|11||Disk vitals monitoring and tracking during scan|
|13||Links to in-lab recovery service for physically damaged devices|
|15||Scan free space only|
|16||Start file recovery without interrupting the scan|
|17||Preview recoverable items without interrupting the scan|
Paid editions of Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can create a bootable recovery drive, monitor S.M.A.R.T. data, and clone storage devices. The free version, unfortunately, lacks these critical capabilities.
|1||Disk space mapping|
|2||Disk clean up|
|3||Corrupted video repair tool|
|Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is known for its great video repair capabilities.|
|4||Corrupted photo repair tool|
|Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is known for its great photo repair capabilities.|
|5||Time Machine backups parser|
|There is a built-in S.M.A.R.T. module, but it only works for internal drives.|
|7||Bootable macOS installer|
|9||Built-in disk space secure eraser|
|You can use Stellar Data Recovery for Mac to clone any storage device.|
|11||Disk surface test|
|You can use Stellar Data Recovery for Mac to scan and test disk surface.|
|12||Secure data shredding|
It’s nice that Stellar Data Recovery for Mac can clone any storage device and repair corrupted videos/photos, but there are several data recovery software applications that can do a lot more than that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to several frequently asked questions about Stellar Data Recovery for Mac.
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is a data recovery software application that can recover deleted documents, photos, videos, and other file formats.
Yes, Stellar Data Recovery is compatible with macOS and M1 & T2 chip-enabled Macs.
There’s nothing difficult about using Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery. Simply download & install the software so that you can use it to scan any storage device.
Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery needs to change your settings so that it can access your storage devices and recover data from them.
The trial version of Stellar Mac Data Recovery doesn’t require any activation, and you can easily use it to recover up to 1 GB of data just like you would with the unlimited version of the software.
That depends largely on the size and speed of the drive, as well as the number of files stored on it.
To recover the main Mac recycle bin, better known as the Trash folder, you need to scan your system drive, which is where the folder is located.
To get back deleted videos on Mac using Stellar Data Recovery, you need to scan the storage devices on which they were located. We recommend using the most expensive version of the software because it has video repair capabilities.
You should always recover data to any storage except for the one where the data was located to avoid overwriting partially recovered files.
Using the Stellar Mac Recovery app, you can recover up to 1 GB of data for free. To recover more, you need to purchase one of the premium subscriptions.
Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is a fairly reliable data recovery application, but it did crash several times during our testing.
You can download a free trial version of Stellar Data Recovery for Mac from its official website and use it to recover up to 1 GB of data.
To get Activation Key for Stellar Mac Data Recovery, click the “Get it now” button on the application’s “Activation” dialog box and purchase a license.
You can uninstall Stellar Phoenix for Mac by dragging the application from the Applications folder to Trash.