How to Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive on Mac?

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External hard drive is one of the most popular storage devices to back up and store files. But with the wide usage of external hard drive, the risks of losing data on it are increasing. The most common reason for losing data on external hard drive is accidental deletion. We may delete important files on external hard drives by mistake, or delete files and find them useful later.

The deleted files can be restored from Mac Trash if it is not emptied. Moreover, if you have Time Machine or cloud backup, you can also easily restore files from the backup resources. What if you don't find the files in the Trash neither have any backups? There is still a way to recover accidentally deleted files on Mac from external hard drives - using data recovery software.

Right here, we will introduce why we can recover deleted files, as well as offer tips and a detailed tutorial to recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac.

Why we can recover deleted files?

When we delete a file, the macOS will mark the file as deleted in directory instead of really moving it from the drive. After that, the space where the deleted file occupies will be regarded as free space and wait to store new data. Although we can't see or access those deleted files directly, they still remain on the drive until they are fully overwritten by new data. A reliable Mac data recovery software have advanced algorithms to scan the disk for deleted or lost data. It can follow the directory to find the remaining files for you.

However, deleted file recovery on Mac can fail in some certain circumstances. How to minimize the failure rate? Keep reading to learn tips for deleted files recovery.

Tips for deleted file recovery from external hard drive on Mac

Before data recovery from external hard drive, here are 3 tips that can help to keep our deleted files intact and achieve best data recovery results.
  1. Once we realize that we have deleted an important file, stop doing any further operations on the external hard drive as they may write new data to the drive and overwrite the deleted files. Especially saving new files or software on the external hard drive as those new files are very possible to cover the deleted file and make them unrecoverable. Once the deleted files have been overwritten, it's impossible to get them back.
  2. Don't save recovered files to the same disk. Be prepared with another disk with enough capacity for recovering deleted files. Saving the recovered files to the same disk can cause data overwriting as well.
  3. Free scan and preview the files before purchasing data recovery software. Data recovery is a complicated process, and the success rate varies a lot among different tools. To know which tool works the best for the deleted files recovery, it is recommended to free download, scan and preview the files first. Then we can have a rough idea about whether the files are recoverable with this software.
Let us dive in the data recovery tutorial now.

Step-by-step guidance to recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac

The guidance will explain in detail how to use iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to recover deleted files from external hard drive. So far, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is the simplest and most efficient data recovery tool for Mac we have tested, so we use it here. It is alright if you prefer another tool, and the steps might be different if you use a different tool.

About iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac
iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is a comprehensive data recovery tool on Mac running macOS 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7. It specializes in external hard drive data recovery. It can recover deleted or lost from external hard drives regardless of the manufacturers such as Westernal Digital, Seagate, Samsung and Toshiba. Even though the external hard drive is formatted, corrupted, unmounted, or unreadable, it can easily retrieve the important files from the external HDDs. In addition to external hard drive data recovery, the software can also recover files from Mac internal hard drive, SD cards, USB flash drives and other storage devices.

Step 1: free download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac.

The software is a .dmg file and less than 20MB, so it is easy and fast to download and install. It has excellent compatibility so that we don't worry it won't work properly on our Mac.

Step 2: Launch the software and attach the external hard drive to the Mac.

After the software detects our external hard drive, it will be listed in the home window with the partitions, file system, free space and other information.

Step 3: Select the external hard drive or the partition where we deleted the files and click on "Scan" button.

The software will automatically check Deep scan. However, for recently deleted files, it is recommended to run default quick scan first. The chances are high that quick scan can find our deleted files successfully. If we don't find the deleted files, restart the scanning with Deep scan checked.

Step 4: Filter the unwanted files and preview the deleted files to see if they are recoverable.
The tool provides multiple useful file filters to help us better locate your deleted files. The scan results are categorized on the left panel into Path, Type and Time. If we remember the exact clue of the deleted files, we can locate them faster by selecting one of the categories. Moreover, at the top corner, there is a search box where we can enter a file name or an extension to filter files as well. By single-clicking the deleted file in the list, we are able to see the thumbnail of the file. Also, we can click on "Preview" button and preview the whole content easily. Pre-recovery features are very important in data recovery process, which save us a lot of time of recovering unwanted files. 

Step 5: Select the desired files and click on "Recover" button.
After we choose a disk (not the disk where we deleted files), your deleted files will be recovered successfully. It may take a while to recover large files. Before we exit the software, make sure we have recovered all deleted important files. Otherwise, we will have to re-scan the disk for file recovery.

Don't panic when you come across the data loss because of accidental deletion. If you follow our tips and guidance, recover deleted file from external hard drive on Mac is possible.
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