How to Recover Lost Data from an Apple Silicon M1 Mac

By Connie | Posted to Home > Mac Data Recovery Tips, updated on June 15th, 2021 |

Summary: M1 chip structures so differently from Intel chips. Regular data recovery methods and software are not applicable for an M1 Mac now. In this article, we will discuss the most effective way currently to recover files from Macs with an M1 chip.

data recovery from Apple Silicon Mac

Data loss is not unusual for most of us. It happens when your Mac is not booting up, you've mistakenly deleted files, hard drives are inaccessible, a pink screen shows on your Mac, or so on.

But for Apple silicon M1 Mac users like you, data loss is very troublesome. The CPU architecture of the M1 chip is vastly different from that of the Intel chips. Consequently, some of the data recovery ways or software that you used before are not applicable for an M1 Mac now.

So how to recover data from an Apple Silicon M1 Mac? This article will help you.

Data recovery from an Apple Silicon M1 Mac

For the mistakenly deleted files, you can restore them from the Trash. For other data loss situations, recover the lost data from your M1 Mac via the following ways:

How to recover lost data from M1 Mac?

Data loss reasons are various, such as Mac won't turn on, hard drive corruption, permanent deletion. However, data recovery ways can be universal. You are able to utilize some data recovery software or Time Machine backup to retrieve data from your M1 Mac.

Method 1: Recover files from M1 Mac with data recovery software

As the ARM-based M1 chip integrated the data security feature of the T2 chip and also made great enhancement, an M1 Mac has far higher security than pervious machines.

Apple's system-on-chip (SoC) contains the newest generation of Secure Enclave. As a secure coprocessor, the Secure Enclave supplies CPU hardware-level isolation and memory encryption on every server. Besides, it also includes hardware verified secure boot and a high-performance storage controller with AES encryption hardware. All these bring more challenges to data recovery from an M1 Mac.

M1 chip and macOS Big Sur offer the advanced security

So, that is why the data recovery software you've used before is inapplicable for your M1 Mac now. You have to abandon the prior data recovery software and pick up a new one.

iBoysoft Mac data recovery software is a decent choice. As an identified developer trusted by Apple, iBoysoft has been updated its data recovery software to fully support M1 Macs and macOS Big Sur.

Features of iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac

  • Support Apple Silicon M1 Mac.
  • Fully compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple T2 chip.
  • Support APFS, encrypted APFS, HFS+, exFAT, FAT32 file systems.
  • Recover data from Mac that won't boot.
  • Recover data from corrupted, unmountable, unreadable drive.
  • Recover lost photos, documents, files, videos, audio, emails, etc. from Macintosh HD and various external drives.

Recover data from M1 Mac that won't boot:

You need to create a bootable installer on an external hard drive to boot up your Mac first. Then, use iBoysoft data recovery software to recover lost data. Please read the stepwise operations in the following part.

What you should prepare:

  1. A Thunderbolt 3 external hard drive, which should be erased and then formatted as HFS+ with at least 64GB of available storage.
  2. Download the macOS Big Sur installation files from the App Store on another bootable Mac. Note that don't allow the installation process starting at this time.

Step 1. Create a bootable installer:

Now, watch this video to learn how to create a bootable installer.

  • Connect the Thunderbolt 3 drive to the healthy Mac.
  • Open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  • Type the command below and press Return.
  • Note: Here "MyVolume" in the command means where the macOS installation files will be stored, replace "MyVolume" to the name of your Thunderbolt 3 drive.
  • sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
  • Enter your admin password when required and press Return. And type Y when warning you that it will erase the external hard drive and press Return.

When you see the "Copy complete and Done" notification, the macOS Big Sur bootable installer is created.

Step 2. Utilizing the bootable installer to boot your M1 Mac:

  • Plug the Thunderbolt 3 drive into your M1 Mac that is connected to the internet.
  • Turn on your Mac and continue to hold the power button until seeing the startup options window.
  • Select the volume containing the bootable installer you've created just now, then click Continue.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to install macOS on external drive.
  • After installing macOS, restart your Mac and continue to hold the power button until seeing the startup options window.
  • Select the external drive to boot your M1 Mac.

Step 3. Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac:

Then, download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to recover data from your M1 Mac.

Recover data from unmounted volume on M1 Mac:

  • Download and install iBoysoft Mac data recovery software on your Mac.
  • Open iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac and select the target volume.
  • Click Scan, and then preview the searching results.
  • Select the desired data and click Recover.

To recover deleted or lost files from M1 Mac:

As the internal hard drive of Mac features the SSD TRIM technology to automatically remove permanently deleted files and the enhanced data security technique that applies to the M1 chip, recover permanently deleted files from the internal SSD of an M1 Mac becomes impossible. Even iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac can't do either.

Method 2: Recover lost data through the Time Machine backup

If you have the habbit to back up your Mac with Time Machine in routine before, you are lucky to use the Time Machien backup to recover lost data from your Mac.

When your Mac won't boot:

You should boot into macOS Recovery mode or Fallback Recovery OS first:

  • Turn on your M1 Mac and hold the power button.
  • Release the power button until you see the startup options window.
  • Select Options, then click Continue.

When you see the following four options on your screen, it means you've booted into macOS Recovery mode successfully.

macOS Recovery mode of M1 Mac

• What to domacOS Recovery mode not working

  • Connect your external hard drive or USB drive containing the Time Machine backup to your M1 Mac.
  • Select Restore from Time Machine, and then follow the instructions to restore your Mac.

On the other hand, you can restore your Time Machine backup when your Mac can start up.

After restoring your Mac with Time Machine backup, you'll find that the lost or inaccessible data is back.

As data loss happens from time to time, it's better for you to back up your Mac with Time Machine on routine. But for those without a Time Machine backup, recovering data from your M1 Mac with data recovery software, like iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, is the only and simplest way.

external hard drive

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Fix the problems on your disk after recovering data

If data loss due to your M1 Mac won't turn on, use First Aid to have a Mac hard disk checking first. First Aid will fix some of the errors it has found when checking.

  • Boot into macOS Recovery mode and choose Disk Utility.
  • Select the internal hard drive on the left-side bar of the Disk Utility window and click First Aid.
  • Use First Aid in Disk Utility to fix disk issues
  • Click Run and then wait for First Aid checking and fixing disk errors.

If your Mac can boot up and certain non-system volumes are inaccessible, open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Then, run First Aid to fix issues on these volumes.

Note: First Aid can only fix the limited disk errors. So, you have to recover your data when First Aid can't help to fix the disk issues.

How to reinstall macOS on an M1 Mac?

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