Recover lost files on your Mac with Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery

Mac Data Recovery scans disks for deleted files and can recover them. App review.

No matter how careful we are, sometimes files go missing. Whether they are on the Apple Mac’s internal drive or an external one, Mac Data Recovery might be able to restore them for you.

Is it gremlins that get onto your Mac at night while you are asleep and delete files? It is a mystery where they go to sometimes. Of course, it may be our own fault and we may accidentally delete files, or format a disk without thinking.

Sometimes files, folders or even whole drives become corrupted. For example, files on a thumb drive (USB flash memory drive), may be lost, or storage used for cameras and other devices can become corrupt.

Mac Data Recovery is free to download and to use to find deleted files on disks and it works with not just the internal Mac drive, but USB, SSD, SD, CF, HDD, ex-HDDs and more. It can even find data on Bootcamp partitions.

Among the new features in this version are recovery of backup files from a Time Machine drive and recovery of deleted files from an encrypted drive.

The interface

This latest version of Mac Data Recovery has a nice interface and on the home screen you can select what to recover. The options are Documents, Emails, Videos, Audio and Photos, or you can simply recover everything.

Mac Data Recovery app for finding deleted files on drives attached to the Apple Mac

The next screen shows a list of drives, both internal and external, and selecting one begins a scan. It is simple and easy to use.

Scan for files

There is a quick scan that is worth trying first and it may be all you need. It takes very little time to produce a list of files on the disk and they can be displayed in several different ways - a classic list, file list and deleted list.

You can browse the folders and files, and hopefully find the deleted ones you need.

Mac Data Recovery app for finding deleted files on drives attached to the Apple Mac

If the files you want are not listed, a deep scan can be performed and this looks at the disk sector by sector and it builds a list of the files it finds. This can be a very slow process on old style mechanical disk drives and external drives.

Recover deleted files

Deleted files can be selected and then recovered, to a different disk of course. You can’t save them back to the same disk because they may overwrite files you are trying to recover.

Up to this point the software is free to download and use. You can install it and scan your disks for deleted files. Only when you try to recover a file does it ask you for a license code. (Stellar provided one for testing.)

Mac Data Recovery app for finding deleted files on drives attached to the Apple Mac

This means that you can use the app to see if it can find your lost files before you hand over your money. After confirming that your files are found, buying the app lets you save them.

Does it work?

Yes and no, and maybe. It’s complicated.

  1. I got an old USB flash drive (thumb drive) that had been used before
  2. It was formatted macOS Extended (Journaled) with Disk Utility
  3. Several files and folders were added to it
  4. The files and folders were then deleted
  5. The Trash was emptied

Could Mac Data Recovery find the deleted files and folders? No. It did not find them with a quick scan and a deep scan was taking all day - an hour to scan 5%, so I quit. It showed what it had found, but I couldn’t see or recover my deleted files.

Mac Data Recover did find a lot of deleted files on the storage though, ones that had been on the thumb drive before it was formatted for the test. It found dozens of them and many of them could be recovered too.

It found and recovered a bunch of deleted files that formatting had erased, but unfortunately it did not find the files I wanted. I tried Disk Drill from Cleverfiles for comparison and it found the deleted files and folders in a couple of minutes, so I don't know why Mac Data Recovery didn't find them.

This was a very limited test and the results from Mac Data Recovery will no doubt vary depending on the drives and what has gone wrong. It found and recovered many deleted files, but it also missed some that another file recovery tool found.

I also had a weird problem saving recovered files and it said the source and destination drives were the same. They weren’t. I ended up creating a disk image and mounting it as a disk to save the recovered files to.

My advice is to download Mac Data Recovery and run it to see if it can find your files. If it can, then great, go ahead and buy it, but it won’t work in all situations on all lost files.

App: Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery Pro 
Price: $99
By: Stellar Information Technology
macOS: 10.6 and higher
Size: 26 MB installed
Verdict: Sometimes worked well, sometimes not so well. Try it before you buy it




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