How to recover deleted or lost files from APFS drive on Mac?

Updated by Tim to Mac Data Recovery Tips on February 8th, 2020

Mistakenly deleted files from APFS drive on Mac? Formatted APFS external drive? Deleted or lost APFS volume?

No matter you lost the files from APFS internal hard drive or APFS external drive, the data is still on your hard drive, just you cannot see them without a data recovery program.

This post will introduce APFS data recovery: How to recover deleted/lost files from APFS drive on Mac.

APFS file system

APFS is short of Apple file system. It is a default file system for solid state drive and flash memory on macOS High Sierra and later version. It aims to fix the core problems of HFS+ (also called Mac OS Extended) file system and is optimized for flash storage devices and solid-state drives (SSD), with a primary focus on encryption.

Compared with HFS+ file system, APFS file system is more reliable, faster and safer to protect data on macOS High Sierra and later version.

Is it possible to recover deleted/lost files from APFS drive?

The answer is Yes.

After file deletion, the operating system only erases files from the file directory, but the deleted file still remains on the disk space until these disk space is reused by new data.

In this case, the operating system is unable to see files you deleted on APFS drive. Fortunately, as long as you have an appropriate file recovery software, deleted file recovery from APFS drive is not a problem.

APFS data recovery

APFS data recovery requires to find a professional APFS data recovery software.

M3 Data Recovery for Mac is such a APFS data recovery software which provides a safe and reliable way to recover deleted/lost files from APFS drive on macOS Catalina 10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8.

No matter you deleted files by mistake, mistakely formatted APFS drive, APFS drive not mounting, APFS drive not readable, deleted or lost APFS volume, M3 Data Recovery for Mac can do a good job to recover your lost files.

Encrypted APFS data recovery

Besides to support APFS data recovery, M3 Data Recovery for Mac can also recover deleted/lost files from encrypted APFS drive after supplying the password (The password is used to decrypt data from encrypted APFS drive).

Aside from APFS data recovery and encrypted APFS data recovery, M3 Data Recovery for Mac can also perform reliable data recovery from FAT32 drive, exFAT drive, HFS+ drive, recover lost data from formatted, unmountable, inaccessible or corrupted hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, memory card, pen drive, etc.

How to do APFS data recovery on macOS Catalina/Mojave/High Sierra?

After data loss, continuing to use this Mac computer is a write operation to the Macintosh HD, so the recovery results depends on whether these deleted files are overwritten by new data or not. Once the deleted files are overwritten, there is no way to recover deleted files from the Macintosh HD.

On macOS High Sierra and later version, there is a security mechanism named "System Integrity Protection" (SIP), which prevents any application from reading the Macintosh HD. So when we use M3 Data Recovery for Mac to scan the Macintosh HD, we need to temporarily disable SIP, otherwise M3 Data Recovery for Mac will be prevented from scanning.

Step 1: Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)

1. Close your Mac computer.

2. Turn on your Mac computer by pressing Power button.

3. Press and hold down Command+R keys immediately upon hearing the startup chime. Hold down the keys until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe.

Disble SIP step 1

Startup is complete when you see the macOS Utilities window as below:

Mac recovery mode

4. Launch the Terminal from the Utilities menu.

Open Terminal

5. Type the command: csrutil disable and press Return.

Disble SIP step 2

6. Restart your Mac computer.

Step 2: Recover deleted/lost files from APFS drive

In order to maximize the chance of getting lost data back from Mac hard drive, you need to stop using that drive immediately. Every time disk writes happen, they could be overwriting your lost data on Mac hard drive, making it impossible to recover.

1. To avoid the lost data being overwritten, download m3datarecovery.dmg to your external drive.

2. Find the installation package file: m3datarecovery.dmg in your external drive and then doule click it, you see the installation window as below.

Install M3 Data Recovery for Mac

Click the icon of M3 Data Recovery for Mac to directly launch it, don't need dragg it to the Applications folder.

3. After launching M3 Data Recovery for Mac, select the Macintosh HD and click Next to continue.

Apple APFS data recovery software

If Macintosh HD is encrypted APFS, the unlock password of the encrypted APFS Macintosh HD is required as below:

Enter the password to scan lost files from APFS drive with M3 Data Recovery for Mac

4. M3 Data Recovery for Mac is scanning the deleted/lost files from APFS drive.

Scan lost files from APFS drive with M3 Data Recovery for Mac

5. After the scan completes, you can check and preview photos, documents and play videos, audios, etc. in preview mode.

Recover lost files from APFS drive with M3 Data Recovery for Mac

Select the needed files and then click Recover to start APFS data recovery process.

After recovering deleted/lost files from APFS hard drive, you can also enable System Integrity Protection (SIP) with following steps:

Step 3: Enable System Integrity Protection (SIP)

1. Boot to Recovery OS by restarting your Mac and pressing & holding down Command + R keys at startup.

2. Launch the Terminal from the Utilities menu.

3. Type the command: csrutil enable and press Return.

4. Restart your Mac computer.

How to recover data from the corrupted APFS partition?

APFS drive is not readable? APFS drive not mounting? APFS drive is corrupted? M3 Data Recovery for Mac can easily recover lost data from the unreadable, unmountable, corrupted APFS drive.

Step 1: Download and install M3 Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac computer.

Step 2: Run this APFS data recovery software - M3 Data Recovery for Mac.

Step 3: Select the corrupted APFS drive.

If you don't see the APFS partition in the list, click "Find Lost APFS Partitions" at the top right corner. It will find the previously existing APFS partition and then scan lost data from APFS partition.

Step 4: Click Next to start the scan. If the APFS drive is encrypted, the password is required at this step.

Step 5: After the lost data is found, you can check and preview the photos, documents and play the videos, audios, etc. in preview mode.

Step 6: Select the needed files and click Recover to start recovery.

Step 7: The corrupted APFS drive will be working again after erasing it with disk utility.

How to recover data from the formatted APFS partition?

Step 1: Download and install M3 Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac computer.

Step 2: Run this APFS data recovery software - M3 Data Recovery for Mac.

Step 3: Select the formatted APFS drive and check deep scan option.

If the APFS drive is encrypted, click "Find Lost APFS Partitions" at the top right corner. It will find the previously existing APFS partition and then scan lost data from APFS partition after entering the password.

Step 4: Click Next to start the scan.

Step 5: After the lost data is found, you can check and preview the photos, documents and play the videos, audios, etc. in preview mode.

Step 6: Select the needed files and click Recover to start recovery.

How to recover lost data from the deleted/lost APFS partition

Step 1: Download and install M3 Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac computer.

Step 2: Run this APFS partition recovery software: M3 Data Recovery for Mac.

Step 3: Click "Find Lost APFS Partitions" at the top right corner to do APFS partition recovery.

Step 4: Select the hard drive where you deleted/lost APFS partition and click Next to start the scan.

Step 5: After the previous deleted/lost APFS partition is found, select it and then click Next to scan the lost data.

If the deleted/lost APFS partition is encrypted, the password is required at this step.

Step 6: After the lost data is found, you can check and preview the photos, documents and play the videos, audios, etc. in preview mode..

Step 7: Select the needed files and click Recover to start recovery.

How to recover data from the corrupted APFS encrypted partition?

Step 1: Download and install M3 Data Recovery for Mac on your Mac computer.

Step 2: Run M3 Data Recovery for Mac and click "Find Lost APFS Partitions" at the top right corner.

Step 3: Select the hard drive where you have the corrupted APFS encrypted drive and click Next to start the scan.

Step 4: Once the previous APFS encrypted partition is found, select it and click Next to enter the password.

Step 5: After the lost data is found, you can check and preview the photos, documents and play the videos, audios, etc. in preview mode.

Step 6: Select the needed files and click Recover to start recovery.

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