Last updated: Jan. 13, 2017
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 and desperate it can be when you couldn't find something important either on your Apple Mac computer or an external drive. Those 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 OS X (now called macOS since 10.12 Sierra) in 2017.
Pro tip: the best way to avoid data loss is to make backups on a regular basis. Once you've recovered your lost files, we highly recommend you to keep multiple copies of these files by syncing them to the cloud or transferring to an external drive.
Please note: the Mac apps below are for recovering data from common storage media, except mobile phones/tablets. You can read our best recovery tools for iPhones, iPads, or Android. And if you use a PC, see our rated best Windows data recovery software.
QUICK PICKS: 3 GREAT CHOICES
**Below, you'll find our expert reviews, but you can also click the links above to learn more about each Mac data recovery product or get it and start retrieving your lost files.
How We Chose The Best Mac Recovery Tools?
Below are the criteria we used to test and narrow down the options. In short, the best Mac data recovery software should be free of virus/malware, easy to use, be able to find and recover as many file types as possible, with technical tutorials or customer support, and compatible with major Mac OS X versions.
- Security: we first download and install each program on our Macs. We then open BitDefender Antivirus for Mac — known as the best Mac security program, to run a scan and see if the installed application contains any malicious processes. Also, we observe whether the software performs read-only procedures, which is crucial in protecting your source drive.
- 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 first save them to Macintosh desktop and an external HDD, then delete them from Mac Trash and formatting the HDD. We believe these are two of the most common data loss situations. After that, we test each data recovery program to scan the disk and locate any recoverable items, followed by evaluating quality of the software with several factors: time needed to finish scan, percentage of files recovered, file intactness of recovered items.
- Ease of Use: since most of us Mac users aren't tech-savvy. If the recovery software is too complicated to navigate for a novice, we consider its usability to be low and thus discount its score. We won't recommend it unless it has other compelling features or merits.
- Tutorial/Support: we examine whether each software developer/provider offers up-to-date tutorials or materials for users to better understand its product and to navigate the software. Also, whether we can contact them if we have any specific data recovery questions regarding its product. This can be reflected by whether they can be reached by emails, live chat, phone calls.
- OS X Compatibility: if the app isn't compatible with the latest OS X (i.e. 10.12 macOS Sierra since September 2016), we remove it from our list. Because the software probably hasn't been updated for a while, not only you'll waste your time downloading and installing it, but it might not be safe to use at all.
What's The Best Mac Data Recovery Software in 2017: Top Performers
Please note: the recommended software below are all 100% secure and can run on any Apple Macs with modern OS X (including macOS Sierra).
Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery
Stellar Phoenix has been in the data recovery market for quite a while. Their recovery and repair related products have won lots of awards. After testing its the Mac Data Recovery software (version 7), we found it to be a very solid. Not only does it support recovery of common file types and from popular storage media, the app can also extract data from Time Machine backups in the latest macOS Sierra update. The only drawback is the scanning process takes a bit longer compared to other alternatives. However, the app impressed us with a 95 percent in recovery rate for files we deleted in advance.
Wondershare Data Recovery for Mac
Wondershare Data Recovery for Mac is extremely easy to use, yet it's powerful features to handle all types of data loss scenarios as seen by the four recovery modes available on its main interface: Lost File Recovery, Raw Recovery, Partition Recovery, and Resume Recovery. Wondershare claims the app is able to recover over 500 file formats from almost any mountable storage media such as internal Macintosh hard drive and removable disk. The software itself is intuitive, you should have no problem using it by following the instructions.
Remo Recover Mac Pro
Remo Recover is another excellent Mac file rescue tool. The app is excellent in searching for problematic partitions for inaccessible data. It can also scan and recover commonly used documents, archives, 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 Remo is a nice Mac data rescue software that lives up to what it does. With Remo, you can also preview found pictures and videos — making it easier to select those items you want to recover, and the recovery process is quick.
Disclaimer: our best 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 contact the product providers to know more information before or during your data recovery process.
Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. While he is not reading technology journals, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends or hiking in the wild.