Free External Hard Drive Data Recovery Mac: Recover Data from External Hard Drives

By Molly | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, updated on April 11th, 2019 |

Summary: If you have lost important data on external hard drives, this tutorial will give you the best solution to recover lost data from external hard drives on Mac with free external hard drive data recovery software for Mac - iBoysoft Data Recovery.

Table of contents
1. Why the data on your external hard drive is not readable?
2. Why your external hard drive is not showing up on Mac?
3. How to recover deleted files from external hard drives on Mac?
4. How to recover data from corrupted/formatted external hard drives?

External hard drives are effective to store files but prone to corruption at any time. Such hard drive error will make your files inaccessible and even is likely to cause serious data loss when you don't have any file backup. If you are facing such external hard drive problems, external hard drive data recovery probably is the first thing that comes to your mind, just like the Mac user below.

Hello Apple Support Communities! I have a Western Digital 320GB external hard drive and it currently has 0 bytes available. This has prevented me from even viewing the hard drive on my finder window. I can only see it in disk utility. I have tried repairing the disk and verifying it but neither has worked in letting me view my files. I use the hard drive for movies but now I can't see them! Can anyone recommend free data recovery software so I can delete a few files so that I can view my hard drive? Thank you!

-- From Apple Community

Therefore, to solve your problem, this page will talk about how to recover lost data from external hard drive on your Mac computer and will introduce your desired free external hard drive data recovery software as well.

Why the data on your external hard drive is not readable?

external hard drive is not readable on Mac computer

The first thing you need to figure out is why you lose data on this external hard drive and check if you can get them back with ease. The reasons that your external hard drive is not readable by the Mac computer could be

  • You mistakenly formatted the hard drive
  • The hard drive was attacked by virus or malware
  • Your external hard drive crashed because of file system error, bad sectors, partition table lost, etc.
  • The external hard drive failed due to physical damages, etc.

Besides the causes mentioned above, accidental deletion and other human negligence could also result in data loss on the external hard drive.

Why your external hard drive is not showing up on Mac?

When people lose the access to their external hard drives on Mac computers, they're eager to look for external hard drive data recovery solutions because they think something horrible has happened, but actually, the external hard drive is just not showing up on your Mac computer. In case it's a false alarm, you can simply follow these steps to check.

Step 1: Open Finder on your Mac computer and choose "Preferences" (or press Control + ,).

Step 2: Check "External disks" in the General sidebar so that your external hard drive can be shown on the desktop.

show external hard drive on the desktop

Step 3: Then click on "Sidebar" tab and check "External disks" to show them in Finder.

show external hard drive in Finder

How to recover deleted files from external hard drives on Mac?

If the external hard drive is showing up and can be opened as normal but your files are gone, you may have deleted your files mistakenly. Fortunately, you can easily recover the deleted files from Trash before you emptied your Trash on Mac with these methods.

Method 1:Recover deleted files from Trash

If you delete files on external hard drive by press "Control + Delete" or click on "Move to Trash" on Mac computer, you can recover these deleted files from Trash with no fuss.

Step 1: Open Trash on the desktop and check if your files are here.

Step 2: Simply drag them out, or you can right-click on them and choose "Put back" to recover them.

Method 2:Restore deleted files with Time Machine

If you didn't find the lost files on Mac but have backed up files previously with Time Machine on Mac computer, congratulations, deleted files recovery will be easier for you. Just follow the steps as below and get them back.

Step 1: Connect the backup drive to the Mac computer.

Step 2: Open the folder that once contained your deleted files.

Step 3: Click the Time Machine icon in the top left menu bar and select Enter Time Machine.

Tips: Did you know how to show Time Machine icon on the menu bar?

  1. Click Apple icon at the top-right corner.
  2. Select System Preferences… and then click on Time Machine.
  3. Check Show Time Machine in menu bar.

Step 4: Browse the items in the backup folder by using on screen up/down arrows or using the timeline at the edge of the screen. If you want to find files of older version, using timeline to navigate the files is faster. You will be able to see a lot of snapshots of this whole folder and how the folder changes.

Step 5: Select an item and prese Space bar or double-click it to preview it.

Step 6: Select the file you want to restore, and then click Restore.

restore files deleted from external hard drive

How to recover deleted files from external hard drives on Mac?

If you don't have a Time Machine backup, can you recover lost files when your external hard drive becomes corrupted and unreadable? What about the formatted external hard drive? Don't worry! With free external hard drive data recovery software for Mac, you have a great chance to get them back as long as the external hard drive has no hardware problems.

Tips: To avoid improper operations overwrite your files and lower the possibility of recovering files, please stop using this external hard drive until you recover your lost data from it.

What is the best free external hard drive data recovery software for Mac?

As an alternative to Recuva for Mac freeware, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is one of the best free external hard drive data recovery software for Mac. It is able to recover deleted and lost files from external hard drives, USB drives, SD cards, memory cards and many other external storage devices. No matter the external hard drive is unmountable, unreadable, corrupted, or formatted, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can correctly detect it and recover files from it with ease.

Except for traditional HFS+, exFAT, FAT32 file system, this useful data recovery tool supports recovering data from APFS formatted external hard drives and from encrypted APFS external hard drives on macOS 10.14 (Mojave), macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.7 (Lion).

Tutorial to recover data from external hard drives with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

Step 1: Connect the external hard drive you want to recover data from to your Mac.

Step 2: Download, install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Step 3: Select the external hard drive, then click "Next" to start scanning for lost files.

Free external hard drive data recovery for Mac

Step 4: Preview the scanning results, choose files you want to recover, and then click "Recover".

Free external hard drive data recovery for Mac

After recovering data and the external hard drive won't work normally, you can erase this external hard drive in Disk Utility to fix some external hard drive errors so that you can use it again.

Molly

Molly is an editor @iBoysoft who frequently shares useful tutorials about data recovery for Windows and Mac.

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