How to Recover Deleted Files in MAC

There is nothing more frightening than searching for that PowerPoint presentation before a board meeting only to find it’s not there. By the time you realise you inadvertently deleted it, it’s too late.

In that situation, you find yourself wishing to recover it by saying a few magical words. To our disappointment, computers aren’t too familiar with Wingardium Leviosa. At least, not until now.

With that said, we searched for alternate ways to recover deleted files in MAC—and here are few we came up with.

2 Ways to Recover Deleted Files in MAC


First thing first. When you delete a file in MAC, you’re simply moving it to another location that the computer likes to call Trashcan or rubbish bin (unless you didn’t press the key combination: Option + Command + Delete which will permanently delete a file without moving it to Trashcan).

Recovering a file that you haven’t permanently deleted can be done by performing the following steps:

  1. Open Trash by left-clicking on the Trash icon that you will find at the right side of the dock.
  2. There might be a case that there are too many files in the Trashcan and you’ve a trouble finding the file you’ve deleted file recently. Type the filename in the box on the top-right corner and all the files that matches with the name will appear (refer to the below screenshot).
  • Once you’ve found the file you’re looking for, recovering it is a cup of cake. All of you have to do is to click on the file and drag it to the location you want to restore it to. As the best practice, choose the location that is the easiest to access. For the record, the desktop is what you’re looking for.
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The only drawback of the aforementioned recovery method is that it has time constraints.  If the realization hits you too late that you’ve deleted your file, MAC might have removed it from the Trashcan. It depends on what you’ve configured to. You might have set it to empty your trash after every fifteen or thirty days.

In that case, the second recovery method we found might become the rescuer.

Time Machine Backup

Time machine backup creates a restore point of individual files and documents. With recovery point, we mean it creates a copy of a particular state of a file and do it on the timely basis to create multiple restore points. Using time machine backup, you can restore a file in a state it was six days back or eleven days ago. The compulsion is that you’ve the time machine backup enabled.

Assuming that you’ve, here are the steps needed to be performed to restore a deleted file in MAC using time machine backup.

  1. Left-click on the Time Machine icon in the menu bar and select choose enter time machine. You can also press cmd + spacebar on the keyboard, and search for Time Machine in the Spotlight by typing Time Machine.
  2. Locate the deleted file by scrolling through onscreen up and down arrows on the keyboard.
  3. Once you find the file you’re looking for, press the spacebar on the keyboard to preview its details and confirm that it is the correct file. The details in the preview include full filename, date of backup, size and file location.
  4. Left-click on the Cloud icon. It will download a snapshot that will be previewed in the scenario when the external flash drive is disconnected.
  5. There are two ways you can restore the final preview. Either by replacing the current version of the file you’ve or by restoring the copy of the older version. To replace the current version—most suited in a scenario where you’ve inadvertently deleted your file—simply click on restore. To keep the original file, cut and paste it to the desired location.
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Until computers manage to raise themselves from being muggles to wizards, you may use the recovery methods enumerated above. In fact, computer geeks are none but wizards. Just like you’ve become now.

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