It’s a common misconception that data recovery is always expensive. In reality, there are many free data recovery software tools for Mac available in 2021 that you can download right now and use them to recover your lost data without having to give your Mac to data recovery professionals, who are guaranteed to charge you a small fortune for their services.
In this article, we compare the top 5 best free data recovery software for Mac and highlight the pros and cons of each tool mentioned.
Disk Drill for Mac is widely known as a versatile professional-grade file recovery software that delivers excellent results without making data recovery overly complicated. It has been around since 2010, making it one of the more mature data recovery software tools for Mac computers on this list. However, Disk Drill for Mac certainly doesn’t look to be nearly a decade old because its user interface is modern, easy-to-use, and extremely intuitive.
A free version of Disk Drill lets you totally evaluate the recovery results by previewing the files after scanning. If you need to recover your files, you can always upgrade to the Pro version for $89, with optional lifetime upgrades for $29. There’s also an Enterprise version for unlimited commercial recovery, and it costs $399.
- Recovers over 300 file formats.
- Extremely easy to use.
- Multiple recovery methods.
- Extra free disk tools.
- Free recovery evaluation
- No option to scan individual folders.
Disk Drill for Mac supports all major devices and commonly used file systems, so you can use it to recover data not just from your Mac but also from USB flash drives, external hard drives, iOS and Android devices, memory cards, or cameras.
One particularly noteworthy free feature of Disk Drill for Mac is called Recovery Vault, and its purpose is to actively monitor your files for changes and save their metadata to aid future data recovery. With the Recovery Vault feature active, Disk Drill for Mac promises a 100% success rate during the recovery process.
Additional Disk Tools
Besides Recovery Vault, Disk Drill for Mac comes with a whole bunch of other disk tools, including Disk Health, which monitors the health of your hard drive for any potential issues, Mac Cleanup, which looks for space hogs to help you free up available storage space, and Duplicate Finder, which makes it easy to find and get rid of duplicate files.
Multiple Recovery Methods
Disk Drill for Mac supports multiple recovery methods, which allows it to take on data recovery jobs large and small. Quick Scan looks for signatures of known partition headers, while Deep Scan recovers lost data on the sector-by-sector basis. As their names suggest, Quick Scan takes just a short while to complete, but Deep Scan can take a lot longer depending on the size of your hard drive.
Supported OS: Disk Drill 4.1 requires Mac OS X 10.11.6+.
TestDisk for Mac is an open-source data recovery utility developed by CGSecurity, the same software company that’s behind PhotoRec. The main purpose of TestDisk for Mac is to recover lost partitions and make non-booting disks bootable again. Apart from macOS, TestDisk runs on Windows, *BSD, SunOS, and even DOS.
TestDisk for Mac is a free and open-source data recovery utility that doesn’t have a premium version. In other words, all of its features are available for free, and you can even use it for commercial purposes.
- Completely free.
- Supports many file systems.
- Runs on macOS, Linux, Windows, *BSD, and more.
- Doesn’t have a graphical user interface.
- Not great for beginners.
TestDisk for Mac can undelete files from the FAT, NTFS, exFAT, ext2/ext3/ext4, HFS+, and many other file systems. The tool can easily rebuild broken file tables, boot sectors, and even make non-bootable hard drives bootable again. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to take advantage of all the features TestDisk for Mac offers because this otherwise reliable data recovery tool lacks a graphical user interface.
Supported OS: macOS <= 10.14.
Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery doesn’t get too much attention despite the fact that it has been helping Mac users recover their data for quite some time now.
Surprisingly, the free version of Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery offers unlimited data recovery. In fact, there isn’t any premium version available because this data recovery software tool is supported entirely by voluntary donations.
- Unlimited free data recovery.
- Designed specifically for macOS.
- Support for HFS and HFS+.
- Uninviting user interface.
What sets Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery apart from many other data recovery tools featured in this article is that it was designed specifically for macOS. As such, it can recover files from both HFS and HFS+ hard drives, as well as from your iPod Nano, Shuffle, or Classic. Data recovery with Lazesoft Mac Data Recovery is not complicated at all, but this otherwise recommendable software is held back by its uninviting user interface.
Supported OS: Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks, Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mac OS X Lion 10.7, Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard and Mac OS Server 10.5 Leopard.
If you’ve ever accidentally formatted memory card with important pictures, you need Exif Untrasher in your life.
Exif Untrasher is a free software tool supported by donations, and you can use it to recover an unlimited number of pictures.
- Easy to use.
- Supports several different kinds of storage devices.
- Limited features.
This single-purpose data recovery tool focuses exclusively on JPEG rescue, and it supports all kinds of storage devices, including memory cards, USB flash drives, and traditional hard drives. Using Exif Untrasher to recover deleted pictures is very easy since all you need to do is select the storage devices and specify the recovery destination. Exif Untrasher has been translated into multiple languages, including German, French, and Italian.
Supported OS: macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, macOS High Sierra, macOS Sierra, OS X El Capitan, OS X Yosemite.
M3 Data Recovery for Mac is a professional data recovery tool that specializes in the recovery of encrypted hard drives.
The free version of M3 Data Recovery for Mac lets you recover up to 1 GB of data without any limitations. To recover more, users are required to purchase one of three paid editions of the software: Home edition ($69.95), Professional edition ($199), or Technician edition ($299).
- You can recover up to 1 GB of data for free.
- Can recover data from encrypted drives.
- Attractive user interface.
- Limited features.
- Doesn’t support the NTFS file system.
The ability to recover data from APFS & encrypted APFS drives is definitely the most important feature of M3 Data Recovery for Mac. Other file systems supported by this data recovery tool include HFS, HFS+, exFAT, and FAT32. Unfortunately, the NTFS file system isn’t supported—at least not by the Mac version of the software. During our testing, we found M3 Data Recovery for Mac to struggle when recovering video files, but we were otherwise satisfied with the results.
Supported OS: macOS Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra? and Mac OS X El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion.
How We Tested Data Recovery Software for Mac
Disk Drill for Mac has emerged as the best data recovery tool for Mac because of its modern user interface, powerful features, and generous free plan. With Disk Drill for Mac, there’s no need to waste time learning how to use text-based data recovery tools, and there’s also no need to download multiple different apps to recover various file formats—Disk Drill for Mac can do it all.