Best data re­cov­ery apps

Karen Haslam re­veals our favourite of­fer­ings

Macworld - - CONTENTS -

It’s a night­mare sce­nario. Your Mac has been play­ing up for weeks but you’ve been ig­nor­ing it, or just haven’t been able to fig­ure out how to fix it, and then it re­fuses to start up. Why didn’t you make that backup? Is there any way you can get back your lost data from your Mac? Luck­ily there are apps that can re­cover your pho­tos and files from your failed Mac hard drive.

If you are un­able to boot up your Mac in order to try any of our sug­ges­tions in the story above,

your next port of call is a data re­cov­ery app. Luck­ily there are a few options here, some of which have trial ver­sions that may be able to re­cover some files, and should, at least, be able to in­di­cate that it will be pos­si­ble to re­cover what you need be­fore you pay a penny. Un­for­tu­nately, this sort of soft­ware is pretty much al­ways go­ing to have a price as­so­ci­ated with it be­fore you can re­cover what you need – but if you’ve lost hun­dreds of trea­sured pho­tos or the first 1,000 pages of your novel, then no price is too high, prob­a­bly – of course that’s what they are bank­ing on.

What Mac data re­cov­ery apps can do

All data re­cov­ery apps work in a sim­i­lar way. If the di­rec­tory in­di­cat­ing where files were orig­i­nally stored is sal­vage­able, the rest is easy. But if that isn’t the case, the soft­ware will scan the data for fa­mil­iar pat­terns that would de­note a file type. Once it finds a file type, there’s a good chance that there will be data in that file.

But ex­pect it to be a time-con­sum­ing process to piece the bits of files back to­gether. With pa­tience, most files that haven’t been over­writ­ten should, in the­ory, be re­cov­er­able. If a hard drive is still spin­ning, and the head is still scan­ning, there is still hope. Some drives can take days to fully scan, and the higher ca­pac­ity they are, the longer it will take. But if it’s your wed­ding pho­tos, or per­haps your Bit­coin vault that is miss­ing, you can af­ford to wait.

The fol­low­ing are well known Mac data re­cov­ery soft­ware options that you might like to con­sider.

EaseUS Mac Data Re­cov­ery Soft­ware

Price: $89 (around £69) from

If you are look­ing to re­cover a deleted file, EaseUS might be a good op­tion since it has a free ver­sion that is lim­ited to 2GB – that might not sound like a lot, but it’s more than is of­fered by most tri­als, and that’s po­ten­tially enough to find what you are look­ing for, or at least at least enough for you to know it can see your lost data be­fore you pay for a full li­cence.

The un­lim­ited app costs $89 (around £69) and should be able to re­cover files from a cor­rupt drive or a drive that’s been for­mat­ted. It may also be able to re­cover data from a deleted par­ti­tion. Be­cause it can cre­ate a bootable USB drive it

should be able to re­cover data even when macOS

is un­able to boot up.

EaseUS can work with APFS, HFS+, HFS X,

FAT (FAT16, FAT32), exFAT, and NTFS, and it isn’t

lim­ited to re­cov­er­ing data from hard drives, you

can also use it re­cover data from an SSD, USB

stor­age, mem­ory cards. Once the app has lo­cated

your data it dis­plays the files with their full file

names. You can check each file, view­ing it in plain

text, or in an im­age file viewer.

MiniTool Mac Data Re­cov­ery

Price: $69 (around £52) from

MiniTools from MiniTool So­lu­tions will only let you

re­cover 1MB of data be­fore pay­ing for the app, but

it does at least of­fer you a 30-day money-back

guar­an­tee, so if it doesn’t do the job you should be

able to re­cover your money (al­though maybe not

your data). Options in­clude Lost Par­ti­tion Re­cov­ery,

which can scan not only your drive’s cur­rent

par­ti­tion but also un­cover past par­ti­tion el­e­ments

that may have been for­mat­ted over.

There are also options for Un­delete Re­cov­ery,

Dam­aged Par­ti­tion Re­cov­ery and Digital Me­dia

Re­cov­ery. The lat­ter would be handy if you want to

re­cover old pho­tos from an SD card as well as data

from stor­age de­vices and flash drives, while the

par­ti­tion re­cov­ery tool will help you re­cover data

from a lost par­ti­tion.

If you use Un­delete Re­cov­ery, the app will scan

the vol­ume to lo­cate what it can – you can the save

what­ever data is re­cov­ered into a folder. If the scan is tak­ing a long time you can save and re­turn to it later on, which might be use­ful if the vol­ume is par­tic­u­larly large.

Along with Mac file sup­port, it also offers sup­port for Win­dows file ar­chi­tec­tures such as NTFS, FAT16, FAT32, which could be use­ful if you have Boot Camp. There is a util­ity to cre­ate a boot vol­ume that you can use if your Mac isn’t boot­ing up – but this isn’t in­te­grated into the main ap­pli­ca­tion.

Data Res­cue 5

Price: $99 (around £76) from

Users can try out ProSoft’s free Deleted File Finder app and pre­view re­cov­er­able files be­fore

down­load­ing the Data Res­cue 5 app. There is also a Data Res­cue 5 trial which you can down­load to scan your drive to find out what is re­cov­er­able be­fore pur­chas­ing the full soft­ware.

The $99 Data Res­cue 5 app is lim­ited to five de­vices (but you can use it mul­ti­ple times). Users can scan their drive, clone a fail­ing drive onto a healthy drive, and cre­ate a re­cov­ery drive that you can use if you can’t boot into the op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Users should also be able to re­cover data from re­for­mat­ted drives and even work with drives that can’t be mounted or­di­nar­ily.

You can set the pro­gram to ig­nore slow hard drive warn­ings and pull all pos­si­ble data from the hard drive, no mat­ter how long it takes – be aware that this could take weeks, de­pend­ing on the size

of the vol­ume, but Data Res­cue should be able to re­cover the data.

The soft­ware can scan SD cards, USB drives, SSDs, and so on. It scans for 150 rec­og­nized file types in­clud­ing var­i­ous im­age file types, videos and ar­chives. It can also scan vir­tual ma­chines and should be able to re­cover data from a Boot Camp par­ti­tion. There’s an easy-to-fol­low re­cov­ery guide to make the process as simple as pos­si­ble – you will even re­ceive email no­ti­fi­ca­tions re­lat­ing re­cov­ery process.

Disk Drill

Price: $89 (around £69) from

You can down­load the basic ver­sion of Disk Drill for free to find out what data is re­cov­er­able, in­clud­ing de­tails about file names and mod­i­fi­ca­tion date. You may also be able to pre­view the lost doc­u­ments in order to con­firm that they aren’t cor­rupted. But you will need to update to Disk Drill Pro to per­form deep scans, ex­port the data, cat­a­logue re­build, and search lost par­ti­tions. The free ver­sion can also back up fail­ing vol­umes to a disk im­age backup as a DMG on an ex­ter­nal drive.

If you’ve al­ready in­stalled Disk Drill, and have the Re­cov­ery Vault and other Re­cov­ery fea­tures en­abled, if data loss strikes, the re­cov­ery will be quick and pain­less. So in­stalling the free ver­sion in prepa­ra­tion for the worse might save pain later on.

Disk Drill isn’t lim­ited to re­cov­er­ing data from your Mac, it can re­cover data from any stor­age

de­vice at­tached to your Mac, in­clud­ing USB flash drives and mem­ory cards, and is also able to re­cover data from iOS de­vices.

You can fi­nesse what you are search­ing for in Disk Drill’s Pref­er­ences to speed up the scan­ning process. For ex­am­ple, you can en­able search­ing for Word doc­u­ments, and dis­able search­ing for any other file type. Disk Drill is also able to re­build the cat­a­logue of an HFS+ par­ti­tion.

EaseUS Mac Data Re­cov­ery Soft­ware

MiniTool Mac Data Re­cov­ery

Data Res­cue 5

Disk Drill

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