Top 5 Free File Recovery Software for Mac OS X

Most computer users consider at least some of the files that reside on their machine to be important. Items such as digital photos, videos, and music files are just a few examples of electronic artifacts that would cause at least some emotional distress if they were suddenly to disappear. In some cases there may be financial incentive to retain files and their accidental deletion or loss can lead to unnecessary expenses in trying to recreate the lost files. Many files cannot be recreated meaning that the only solution will be to attempt a file restoration using data recovery software for the Mac.

Your first reaction upon discovering that you are missing your treasured family photos or those live recordings from a recent concert might be to panic. Try to control that feeling and look at the situation from an objective point of view. There are free file recovery software applications for the Mac and this is a time that you need to use one of them.

We are going to take a look at some of the best file recovery software for the Mac. All of the solutions reviewed offer at least a free trial download to preview recoverable files or to test the product. Some of these packages are totally free. One of them might be right for your data recovery needs.

1. Disk Drill for Mac

Let’s begin our review of free data recovery software for the Mac with the powerful and full-featured Disk Drill application. It is a complete data recovery package that is designed to recover deleted partitions or restore deleted files from your Mac’s internal drives as well as many peripherals including iOS and Android devices. In addition to its great data recovery capabilities, Disk Drill offers users advanced methods that increase your ability to proactively protect your precious data.

Disk Drill for Mac


Disk Drill employs a suite of powerful scanning options that can recover lost and deleted files from your Mac’s hard drive as well as from most external storage devices. When you first install and run the program you will be presented with a window that displays the drives or devices that are available for recovery. Depending on the type of device you may choose from a Quick scan that will often be able to recover your missing file, or dive deeper with Deep scanning technology. With a Deep scan, files can be recovered from formatted drives as the program identifies the scattered file components and puts them back together. Disk Drill can easily recover files from an emptied Trash Bin.

Disk Drill’s recovery and scanning algorithms can recognize more than 200 different file types meaning that the program can recover just about any file that might reside on your Mac machine. This includes photos, videos, documents, and applications to name a few. The application runs on Mac machines that run OS 10.8 or later and offers users an intuitive interface that allows you to filter files and select the recovery location for your files.

Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery are data protection options that are included in the free trial version of the software. Activating these functions allows Disk Drill to monitor your file deletion activity and retain metadata to allow for quick and easy file recovery.


  • Deep scanning technology provides a greater chance of recovery success.

  • Over 300 file types are supported.

  • Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery are included in the free version of the tool.


  • Free version only allows preview of data recovery or recovery of previously protected data.

2. TestDisk for Mac

TestDisk is an open-source, freeware product that is licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. It runs on many operating systems including the newest versions of the Mac OS X. The program is tailored to be useful to both experienced data recovery personnel as well as novices. Reports can be generated on non-bootable drives that can be used by tech support teams to diagnose drive problems.

TestDisk for Mac


The original intent of this freeware application was to recover lost partitions and correct problems in bootable drives that are failing to boot. It is excellent at performing those functions and can also be used to undelete files and recover or rebuild boot sectors. The tool recognizes many file types and can be instrumental in assisting you in your data recovery efforts.


  • No cost associated with using this freeware product.

  • Free customer support is available from the TestDisk team.


  • Command-line UI.

  • May be more suitable for expert users.

3. Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery

Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery is a totally free software tool that enables you to recover an unlimited amount of data with no financial investment whatsoever. The developers rely on donations to further product development and customer support. The package is specifically developed for the Mac OS environment and can be used to recover data from HFS/HFS+, FAT, FAT32, NTFS, EXFAT and other file systems.

Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery


The program employs complimentary file recovery and drive recovery methods to restore files that were accidentally deleted. Formatted partitions can be recovered using a deep scan with the drive recovery algorithms. You can use this program to recover photos, music files, documents, and applications from your hard drive of SD card. Data and file preview is supported during the applications scanning phase and the results are displayed in an easy-to-use user interface.


  • Designed to be used in the Mac OS environment.

  • No cost recovery of unlimited data.


  • May not support the most current version of the Mac operating system.

4. iSkysoft Data Recovery

iSkysoft Data Recovery is the next offering in our overview of recovery programs. It supports any type of storage device that uses the NTFS, FAT16, FAT32 or exFAT file systems. The application runs on Mac machines running OS 10.5 through the newest version 10.14. You can use this versatile program to recover photos, documents, music files, and just about any other type of file found on your computer.

iSkysoft Data Recovery


This software tool offers you the ability to preview files before recovery to ensure that you don’t waste time restoring invalid or corrupt files. The user interface presents your data in folder trees and filters make it easy to locate the file you are interested in recovering. The intuitive user interface makes file recovery simple. You can download a free trial version to test drive the app and recover a limited amount of data.


  • A 30-day money back guarantee is provided with the paid version of the software.


  • Slower than average scan and recovery speeds compared to other tools.

  • Free version is limited to 1GB of recovered data.

5. M3 Mac Data Recovery

Rounding out our look at free Mac data recovery tools is the M3 Data Recovery application. It runs on Mac machines running OS 10.7 through the newest version of Mojave. The program recognizes a wide variety of file types and systems including encrypted APFS partitions.

M3 Mac Data Recovery


Using this tool you can recover data from virtually any storage device that is compatible with your Mac computer. The app has the ability to recover deleted files from an emptied Trash Bin as well as from deleted logical volumes. A pre-recovery preview function allows you to view actual recovery results in virtual mode before proceeding with the actual restore.


  • Supports all Mac-compatible storage devices.


  • The free version has the ability to scan lost data but only allows 1GB of data recovery.


When faced with a lost or deleted file, don't despair. These software packages can help you recover those lost files. Using Disk Drill’s data protection capabilities before a data loss event occurs will give you peace of mind that you can always recover an accidentally deleted file. Download the application today and have it working behind the scenes to protect your data before an unfortunate data loss scenario.
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