How to recover deleted/lost files from APFS drive on macOS?

Updated by Admin to Mac Data Recovery on July 5th, 2019

Mistakenly deleted files from AppleAPFSMedia hard drive on macOS Mojave? Lost files from APFS external hard drive on macOS High Sierra? No matter you lost or deleted files from AppleAPFSMedia hard drive or APFS external hard drive, the data is still somewhere on your hard drive or external hard drive, just you cannot see them without a data recovery program.

This post will introduce APFS data recovery and how to recover deleted/lost files from APFS drive on macOS Catalina/Mojave/High Sierra.

APFS file system

APFS is short of Apple file system which is a default file system for solid state drives and flash memory on macOS High Sierra, macOS Mojave 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 is more reliable, faster and safer to protect data on macOS High Sierra, macOS Mojave or later version.

APFS data recovery

Apple APFS data recovery requires us to find a Apple APFS data recovery software, M3 Mac Data Recovery is such a Apple APFS data recovery software which can recover deleted/lost files from APFS hard drive and external drive on macOS Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/10.12 Sierra and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

M3 Mac Data Recovery can recover data from formatted APFS drive, recover data from corrupted APFS drive, recover deleted/lost APFS partition, recover data from unreadable APFS drive, recover data from unmounted APFS drive, recover data from crashed APFS drive, etc.

Encrypted APFS data recovery

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

How to recover deleted/lost files from APFS hard drive on macOS Mojave/High Sierra?

Whether the deleted files can be recovered from Macintosh HD or not depends on whether the deleted files are overwritten by new data or not. After data loss, continuing to use this Mac computer is a write operation to Macintosh HD. Once the deleted files are overwritten, it is impossible to recover deleted files.

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

Step 1: Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)

1. Close the Mac computer.

2. Turn on 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:

Mac recovery mode

4. Launch Terminal from Utilities menu.

Open Terminal

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

Disble SIP step 2

6. Restart Mac computer.

Step 2: Recover deleted/lost files from APFS hard 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 in Mac hard drive, making it impossible to recover.

1. To avoid lost data being overwritten, please download M3 Mac Data Recovery to an external drive.

2. Doule click the installation package of M3 Mac Data Recovery, click M3 Mac Data Recovery icon to directly run it, instead of dragging it to Applications folder.

Install M3 Mac Data Recovery

3. Select the Macintosh HD where lost files and click Next to continue.

Apple APFS data recovery software

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

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

4. This APFS data recovery software is scanning the deleted/lost files from APFS formatted Macintosh HD.

Scan lost files from APFS drive with M3 Mac Data Recovery

5. Preview, select the found data and then click Recover to save them.

Recover lost files from APFS drive with M3 Mac Data Recovery

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

Step 3: Enable System Integrity Protection (SIP)

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

2. Launch Terminal from Utilities menu.

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

4. Restart Mac computer.

How to recover data from unreadable/unmounted APFS drive?

Step 1: Download and install this APFS data recovery software on your Mac computer.

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

APFS data recovery software

Step 3: Select the unreadable/unmounted APFS drive.

If APFS partition is not found, please click "Find Lost APFS Partitions" to find previously existing APFS partition and then recover data from APFS partition.

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

Step 5: After the lost data found, we can preview them or click Recover to recover them.

Step 6: After data recovery from unreadable/unmounted APFS drive is successfully done, we can reformat the unreadable/unmounted APFS drive by erasing.

How to recover data from formatted APFS drive?

Step 1: Download and install this APFS data recovery software on your Mac computer.

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

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

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

Step 5: After the lost data found, we can preview them or click Recover to recover them.

Tutorial to recover data from deleted/lost APFS partition

Step 1: Download and install this APFS partition recovery software: M3 Mac Data Recovery on your Mac computer.

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

APFS data recovery software

Step 3: Please click "Find Lost APFS Partitions" at the right upper corner.

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

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

Step 6: After the lost data is found, we can preview them or click Recover to recover them.

Tutorial to recover data from APFS external drive?

Step 1: Download and install this APFS data recovery software on your Mac computer.

Step 2: Run M3 Mac Data Recovery and select the APFS external drive.

Step 3: Click Next to start scan. If the APFS external drive is encrypted, the password is required at this step.

Step 4: After the lost data found, we can preview them or click Recover to recover them.

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