How to recover deleted files on Mac without software?

Summary: Delete files on Mac but regret right away? This page shows you how to recover deleted files without using software on Mac computers.

By Autumn X | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, updated on March 21st, 2019 |

I have accidentally deleted some important files on my MBP. Is it possible to recover deleted files on Mac without software? If it's possible, how can I do that? Any help will be appreciated!

You may have seen lots of similar questions and discussions on various forums when you accidentally deleted some important files on your Mac. Then what is the fact? Is it possible to recover deleted files on Mac without software? The answer, fortunately, is positive and this post will go in details about how to recover deleted files on Mac without using software.

Table of contents
1. Why recover deleted files on Mac is possible?
2. How to recover deleted files on Mac without software?
3. Final verdict

Why recover deleted files on Mac is possible?

What deletion means for most people, including you maybe, is the deleted files will vanish in the air. However, it is not a true case for deleting files in reality.

As a matter of fact, when you click on Delete button, the system just simply marks these spaces of a disk as free and available for saving new files. A more vivid illustration is, the disk is like a book, and deletion is the same as erasing a chapter in the contents table of this book, but the real words of this chapter are still here. As a result of erasing the table of contents, you can't locate where is this part of this book. Similarly, the Mac operating system is not able to locate where your deleted files are, but actually, your files are still there.

Therefore, it is possible to recover your deleted files on Mac before you save anything new to these "free" space and overwrite the original data.

How to recover deleted files on Mac without software?

As Apple is always doing to bring good experience for Mac users, there are some methods you can practice to recover your deleted files without using software. Check out the details as below.

Method 1:Recover deleted files from Trash on Mac computer

Files that you've deleted are often sent to the Trash. The Trash will hold your deleted files until you empty the Trash. So, if the last thing you did to your files on Mac was to click on "Move to Trash", you can recover the deleted files by operating "Undo Move". You can perform deleted file recovery without using any software but selecting Edit > Undo Move (Command-Z) in Finder. Then your deleted files will return to their previous positions.

undo deleted

Another choice is to open your Trash and find the files you deleted recently, then right-click on them and choose Put Back.

put deleted files back

Method 2:Recover deleted files from Time Machine backups

Time Machine is especially useful for Mac users to back up our files. If you have backed up those deleted files with Time Machine, you can restore our deleted file from there, no extra software needed.

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.

Method 3:Recover deleted files from emptied Trash

However, what if you have emptied Trash or have no backup of the deleted files? Don't worry. In that case, you still can undelete files on Mac with Mac data recovery software, like iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is free Mac undelete software that helps to recover deleted files from hard drives, external hard drives, USB hard drives, memory cards and other storage devices, no matter those deleted files are documents, photos, videos, emails, music, etc. And it can also recover lost files from unreadable external hard drives, unmountable hard drives, formatted hard drives, lost partitions, invalid volume header hard drives, etc.

Tutorial to recover deleted files on Mac with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on your Mac.

Step 2: Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Step 3: Choose the drive or partition which you have deleted files from, then click on "Next" button to search for deleted files.

Recover deleted files on Mac without software

Step 4: Preview the files in the searching results and choose files that you want to get back.

preview deleted files on Mac

Step 5: Click "Recover" to recover those deleted files from Mac.

Method 4:Recover deleted files via Terminal

Terminal, also known as Command prompt, is a built-in application for experienced Mac users to perform various tasks like drive erasure, files undeleting, disk partition, etc. through the command line. Therefore, if you are confident in your computer technology, you can recover the deleted files from (not emptied) Trash through Terminal.

Step 1: Go to Utilities > Terminal.

Step 2: Type in cd .Trash and press Enter.

Step 3: Type in mv *** ../ (You need to replace *** with the name of your deleted file, for example, family photo.jpg) and then press Enter.

Step 4: Open Finder and search the name of your file, and you will see your deleted file is recovered.

Final verdict

If you have deleted files mistakenly on Mac, you can try to recover deleted files without software as soon as possible. If unfortunately, you have emptied Trash and didn't find these deleted files, you'd better stop doing any further operation to this disk, including saving new files to this drive or formatting. Any improper operation will overwrite your deleted files and bury them deeper. Instead, you can recover these deleted files with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, which is easy-to-use and reliable, before you lose the chance of getting them back.

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