How to recover deleted/lost files from APFS drive?

Lost/deleted files from APFS hard drive or external drive? Please don't worry, the data is still somewhere on your Mac computer as long as the deleted/lost files have not overwritten by new data. This article will teach us how to recover deleted/lost files from APFS drive (Macintosh HDD and external drive).

Solution 1: Recover deleted/lost files from internal APFS drive

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

Step 1: Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)

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

Disble SIP step 1

2. Launch Terminal from Utilities.

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

Disble SIP step 2

4. Restart Mac computer.

Step 2: Tutorial to recover deleted/lost files from internal APFS drive

In order to maximize the chance of recovering deleted/lost files from APFS drive, we need to stop using Macintosh HDD or internal SSD immediately after data loss. Every time disk writes happen, they would overwrite our lost data in Macintosh HDD or internal SSD, making it impossible to recover once they are overwritten.

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 APFS drive where lost files and click Next to continue.

APFS data recovery software

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

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

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

Scan lost/deleted files from APFS drive with M3 Mac Data Recovery

5. Preview (click Preview/eye icon next to filename) documents, photos, videos, audios, etc., select the found files and then click Recover.

Recover deleletd/lost files from APFS external drive with M3 Mac Data Recovery

6. To avoid overwriting the deleted/lost files in APFS internal hard drive, please select a drive different from Macintosh HDD or internal SSD to save the recovered files.

Solution 2: Recover deleted/lost files from APFS external drive

1. Download, install and launch M3 Mac Data Recovery on our Mac computer.

APFS data recovery software

2. Select APFS external drive where lost files and click Next to continue.

If APFS external drive is encrypted, the unlock password of encrypted APFS drive is required

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

4. Preview (click Preview/eye icon next to filename) documents, photos, videos, audios, etc., select the found files and then click Recover to save them.

6. To avoid overwriting the deleted/lost files in APFS external drive, please select a drive different from APFS external drive to save the recovered files.