Best Mac Data Recovery Software to Recover Files on OS X (2016)

data recovery on a Mac computer

If you are looking for the best Mac data recovery software to get back your accidentally deleted or lost files, here's the place for you. We understand how frustrating it can be when you lose data either on your Apple Mac computer or from an external drive. The lost files are so precious that you can't lose them for whatever reasons. We've reviewed what we thought to be the top performing data recovery tools available for Mac OS X.

Pro tip: the best way to avoid data loss is to backup on a regular basis. Once you've recovered your lost files, we highly recommend you make multiple copies of these files by saving them in the cloud or on an external drive.

Please note: these Mac applications are for recovering data from common storage media, except mobile phones/tablets. You can read our best data recovery tools for iPhones, iPads, or Android devices.

QUICK PICKS: 3 GREAT CHOICES

**Below, you'll find our expert reviews, but you can also click the links above to learn more about the Mac recovery products or contact their support team for detailed information.

How We Chose The Best Mac File Recovery Software?

These are the criteria we used to test and narrow down the options. In short, an ideal Mac data recovery should be free of virus/spyware, able to find and recover as many file types as possible, easy to use, with technical tutorials or customer support, and compatible with all OS X versions.

  • Security: we first download and install each program on our Macs. At the same time, we open BitDefender Antivirus for Mac — known as the best Mac antivirus malware detection software, run a scan to see if the installed application contains any malicious process. Also, we monitor if the software performs read-only procedures, if it doesn't, chances are it will do more damage than help recover your data.
  • Recovery Quality: we try to mimic each Mac data loss scenario by preparing a folder filled with many files types (images, videos, songs, documents, etc.). We do so by saving them to Macintosh HD and an external HDD, then deleting them from Mac Trash and formatting the HDD — two of the most common data loss situations. After that, we use the installed data recovery program to scan and try recovering the files. We then evaluate the quality of the software with several factors: time needed to finish scan, percentage of files recovered, file quality of recovered items.
  • Ease of Use: since most of Mac users who suffer data loss only possess basic knowledge in using software. If a software is too complicated to use for a Mac novice, we consider its usability to be low and thus discount its score.
  • Tutorial/Support: we examine whether the software developer/provider offers related tutorials or materials for users to better understand their product and navigate the software. Also, whether we can contact them if we have any specific data recovery questions regarding their products. This factor can be reflected by email support, live chat, phone calls, etc.
  • OS X Compatibility: if a Mac data recovery utility is not going to run on the latest OS X platform (i.e. 10.11 El Capitan in 2016), we remove them from our list immediately. Because the software probably has not been updated for a while, not only you'll waste your time downloading it, but it might not be safe to use on your Mac.

What's The Best Mac Data Recovery Software: Top Performers

Please note: the recommended software listed below are all 100% secure and are compatible with the latest Mac OS X.

Wondershare Data Recovery for Mac

The top performer - Wondershare Data Recovery for Mac is an easy yet powerful tool to handle all types of data loss scenarios, through one of its four recovery modes available on the main interface: Lost File Recovery, Raw Recovery, Partition Recovery, and Resume Recovery. The software is able to recover over 500 file formats from any mountable storage media such as Macintosh hard drive and any removable disk. The software itself is very intuitive to use, we have no problem handling it at all by following the detailed instructions.

Stellar Macintosh Data Recovery

Stellar has been in the data recovery market for quite a while, and their products have won lots of awards. During our test of its Mac Data Recovery software, we found it to be a solid recovery program. The only drawback is that the scanning process takes a bit longer compared to other alternatives. However, it achieves 95 per cent in recovery rate for the folder of files we prepared in advance. In particular, the program is best at rescuing data lost from a re-formatted or crashed disk.

Remo Recover Mac

Remo Recovery is another excellent Mac file rescue tool and we find it excellent at searching for media files (photos, video, songs) lost due to accidental deletion. The raw recovery mode is less powerful compared to the other two alternatives we recommend above. But in general, it's a nice Mac data rescue app that does what it does. By the way, with Remo, you can also preview those found pictures and videos — making it easier to select those items you want to recover, and the recovery process is quick.

Disclaimer: our Mac data recovery reviews are based mostly on (1) our own experience in using and/or testing these programs on our Mac machines and (2) the expertise of Mac geeks with whom we consult and (3) the information provided by the Mac product providers. As such, please beware that the above recommendations are our own opinions. We aim to test every feature of each software, but due to the complex nature of data recovery scenarios, it's sometimes impossible for us to mimic each situation. We thus encourage you to get in touch with the product providers to know more information before or during your data recovery process.

Andreas Louis
 

Based in CA, Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. He also has contributed to several other notable technology journals.

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