Human error and natural/unexpected occurrences are the two categories responsible for files being lost, damaged, formatted, or deleted. However, the great news is that with a little effort and time, these files can almost always be restored.
When a file is deleted, the sector that contained the data is labeled as available. This means that new data can be overwritten into that sector/space. Therefore, the first lesson to heed in Mac file recovery, is to stop using the drive, SD card, camera, flash drive, or whatever device that has the deleted file.
If the file was deleted rather recently, then it might still be in the Trash Can. To quickly restore a file from the Trash Can, locate the file and drag it onto the desktop. Another option is to press COMMAND-Z to restore the last file that was sent to the Trash Can.
A second Mac file recovery method is Mac’s Time Machine. This app allows you to use its timeline to locate a deleted file in a very specific time and date. The space bar is used to preview a file. The deleted file can be restored by clicking the Restore button. However, more options are available by doing Control-Click on the particular file. Time Machine backs-up data hourly, daily, and weekly. To prevent older backups from being deleted, it is important that enough space is always available on the drive.
A third Mac file recovery method is using a data recovery software. Most of these software will allow you to recover a certain amount of data with its free version (anywhere from about 100 MB to 2 GB). However, you may need to purchase the full version in order to recover certain files.
There are a number of highly rated Mac data recovery software and these include uFly Data Recovery , Mac Data Recovery Guru, UMacsoft Data Recovery, R-Studio for Mac, Mac Data Recovery, and Prosoft Data Rescue. They all have varying price tags.
Some, if not most, of these software will not restore files that have been overwritten; forensics data recovery will be needed to do so. Data recovery software usually have a quick scan mode, and at least two levels of deep scan for more detailed search. Quick scan is usually used to locate files that have deleted recently from the hard drive or for deleted files on devices such as a flash drive.
To prevent overwriting of data, just about all data recovery software has a safety feature that prevents the recovered file from being saved onto the same drive on which the original file is located. Therefore, an external storage device is recommended to store recovered files.
Each data recovery software might offer something extra or might have an interface that is more appealing in one way or another. With this in mind, it would not be a bad idea to check out/test a few of these software since most of them have a free version.