Maybe it got deleted by accident, perhaps the file was unsaved due to iMovie app corruption.
The question is — how to recover a deleted or missing iMovie project on Mac?
That’s what we are going to cover in this article, explore different iMovie data loss situations and help you find recovery solutions.
What You May Need:
- Your Mac computer with the iMovie app
- The external hard drive with Time Machine backups (optional)
- A Mac data recovery software (optional)
- Time and patience
Note: it’s not 100% guaranteed that you’ll recover the project that disappeared or deleted, but if you follow the steps below, your chance of recovery could be high.
Step 1: Check Mac Trash
This step may sound very simple but often get overlooked. It’s always a good idea to check the Mac Trash just in case.
No matter your project is still under construction, or it has been exported into a .mp4 video, it may have been sent to the Trash.
If you find it, highlight the file, right-click and select “Put Back” to recover it.
Step 2: Retrieve Past Projects and Events from iMovie Library
iMovie is a bit tricky especially if you are new to the app, sometimes you may have created multiple files or projects, and later you couldn’t find the one you want. In this case, you’ll need to look up the iMovie project library.
How to access it? Follow these:
1. Open Finder > Go > Computer > Macintosh HD > (your username) > Movies.
2. Click the Movies folder and find the iMovie Library folder. Now right-click on it and select Show Package Contents.
3. Now check if your project is there. Double click to restore it.
Step 3: Restore iMovie Projects via Time Machine
If you use Time Machine to back up your Mac on a regular basis, then Time Machine may save your nerves.
Plug the external backup hard drive into your Mac, open the iMovie Library folder (as shown in Step 2), choose a snap where you can see your lost project and restore it.
This video from Apple Support shows you how:
Note: this step may be a bit time-consuming, but it’s worth checking.
Step 4: Try Data Recovery Software
If you accidentally deleted an iMovie file and emptied the Trash later, you may still be able to get it back by using a third-party software like Stellar Mac Data Recovery, which helps rescue files deleted or lost on Mac computers when you don’t have a backup.
Note: this app is not free, but it offers a free trial that allows you to scan your Mac for any recoverable items. You’ll need to pay to recover and save the found files.
- Get Stellar Mac Data Recovery and install the app on your Mac.
- Launch the application. Select the drive where you saved your iMovie files. Then let the app have a quick scan of the drive to look for recoverable items.
- Preview the found video files to see if yours is there. If yes, recover and save it.
In case Stellar doesn’t work out, we have also reviewed a list of the best Mac data recovery software in a separate post.
That’s all that we wanted to share with you in this article: four steps to retrieve a missing or deleted iMovie project. Good luck recovering your lost files!
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.