best data recovery programs for mac

Best data recovery programs for Mac

Data recovery programs for Mac do precisely what you’d expect, recover deleted or lost files. There are several use cases for such software. The most obvious one, of course, is to restore accidentally deleted files. Don’t forget to check the Trash folder, though, if that’s what you want – perhaps you don’t need a complicated data recovery suite after all. Other uses for data recovery tools are significantly less common, at least for your average user. It is possible for data to simply end up corrupted, especially when stored on an aging or otherwise damaged drive. Hard disk drives that are older than 5 years old are typically considered unreliable; they can last far longer than that without any issues, but you might lose a file or two in the meantime. This is especially true for laptops; their portable nature further strains the drive as it is subjected to things such as shakes. All MacBooks made after 2012 utilize SSD technology, which is generally more reliable, but if you have a MacBook made before that, data loss is a real possibility. Losing data thanks to viruses such as ransomware is also possible. Yes, macOS users have to deal with significantly less malware when compared to Windows users, but it does exist. Either way, if you’re reading this, you likely have a need for such a program. We have compiled a list of the best data recovery software for Mac so that you can review and compare your options.

The programs are compared using the following criteria:

  1. Price: self-explanatory, listed in US dollars.
  2. Free data limit: it is common for paid data recovery programs to have a free trial limited by the amount of data it can recover.
  3. Ease of use: self-explanatory.
  4. M1/M2 support: whether the program runs on M1/M2 Macs natively or not. If it doesn’t, you will have to use Rosetta 2 if you’re using such a Mac.

Stellar Data Recovery

stellar data recovery: data recovery toolkit for mac

Stellar Data Recovery is one of the best data recovery toolkits on the market, on both Windows and Mac. It boasts an impressive array of capabilities – not only it allows you to recover pretty much any type of file, but also to retrieve data from a corrupted drive, USB stick, or an optical disk. It can also repair damaged photo and video files. Although most of these capacities are only available in paid editions of the program, the free version is still very capable and will help you recover up to 1 GB of lost files.

Price Free data limit Ease of use M1/M2 support
Depends on version and subscription type
($69 – $399)
1 GB Easy Yes
Pros
  • Both accessible and powerful
Cons
  • Many features are locked behind paywalls
Download Stellar Data Recovery

R-Studio

r-studio: data recovery program for mac

R-Studio is another very powerful data recovery program for Mac. It can recover any file type as well as restore damaged file systems used by most operating systems. Its main advantage, however, is not in the number of features it has – you will have to purchase a very expensive Technician version to access most of them. But its basic version is cheaper than most other paid data recovery programs; it only costs $80. You can regularly buy it at discount, too, bringing the price down even further.
Its free version is unusual; you can recover as many files as you like, but only if they’re smaller than 256 KB. This, unfortunately, makes it unusable for recovering photos and videos, though it should be able to recover all but the largest text files.

Price Free data limit Ease of use M1/M2 support
$80, is often discounted Unlimited, but only works on small files Medium Yes
Pros
  • Comparatively cheap
Cons
  • The trial version is not very useful
Download R-Studio

iBoysoft Data Recovery

iboysoft data recovery: data recovery program for mac

iBoysoft Data Recovery is a decently capable program as well. Although it lacks certain advanced features Stellar Data Recovery and R-Studio have, the basic capabilities are pretty much the same. It, too, can recover any file type, including files on portable media such as USB sticks and memory cards. MacOS version of the program was given special attention; it comes with a Finder-like interface to make it easier to use, and can recover files stored inside corrupted DMG files.

Price Free data limit Ease of use M1/M2 support
Subscription only
($89/mo or $99/yr)
1 GB Easy Yes
Pros
  • MacOS-oriented interface
Cons
  • No lifetime purchase option
Download iBoysoft Data Recovery

DiskDrill

disk drill: data recovery software for mac

DiskDrill is another data recovery program. The macOS version utilizes a special Mac-oriented algorithm, which helps it achieve a high success rate. Although the basic package it offers is pretty much the same as other programs – it can recover all file types, including on external media – it also includes tools to help users manage their data and prevent data loss. These features are even available in the free version. On the other hand, when it comes to actually recovering data, DiskDrill free version is less generous than other data recovery programs for Mac, allowing users to recover only 500 MB for free.

Price Free data limit Ease of use M1/M2 support
$106 500 MB Easy Yes
Pros
  • Includes data management tools
Cons
  • Can’t recover much data for free
Download DiskDrill

PhotoRec

photorec: data recovery program for mac

Unlike all previous data recovery programs for Mac on this list, PhotoRec is completely free to use. Sadly, this doesn’t mean you should ignore all the recommendations above and download this one; it lacks a graphic interface, making it difficult to use. But if you can handle a command-line-only program, PhotoRec is a good option. Despite the name, it can recover more than just photos; in fact it can recover all file types, including files located on external media and/or corrupted file systems.

Price Free data limit Ease of use M1/M2 support
Free N/A Hard Rosetta 2 required
Pros
  • Literally free
Cons
  • Lacks a graphical interface
Download PhotoRec

Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery

lazesoft mac data recovery: data recovery program for mac

Another free program on this list, Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery, too, comes with a catch. When it was released, it was a capable enough program for an average user. It lacked most features found in paid recovery toolkits, but it did its job – and came with a graphic interface. However, it did not receive any updates in years. Thankfully, the developer did release a 64-bit version, so in theory, you should be able to use it on a modern macOS. That said, some users reported that the program doesn’t launch, while others said it works perfectly fine, so your mileage may vary.

Price Free data limit Ease of use M1/M2 support
Free N/A Medium Rosetta 2 required
Pros
  • Literally free
Cons
  • May not work
Download Lazesoft Data Recovery

Conclusion

Although macOS generally doesn’t offer its users the library of software as large as Windows’s, in this case, the selection is more than reasonable. Many data recovery programs for Mac exist, so the users have plenty of different options to match any budget and use-case. This, unfortunately, is not always the case. There are many useful programs that cannot natively run on Mac – check out our “Apps on Mac” category to see what you’re missing on (and to learn how to run them on Mac anyway). Another useful resource would be our guide explaining how to install Windows on Mac. This will allow you to run pretty much any program you want on your Mac, though in some cases they won’t run as fast as they would on a Windows PC.

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