Even though Macs are widely considered to be the most reliable computers on the market, they don’t make their users immune to data loss. There are many Mac recovery tools capable of restoring lost files, but choosing the right one can be tricky since they all have their own unique pros and cons. In this article, we review one of the most popular recovery tools available to Mac users, Disk Drill 3 for Mac, taking an in-depth look at its features, performance, and value, among other things.
|✅ Free version||Yes|
|💰 Pro version||$89|
|⚙️ Performance||Very Good|
|📞 Customer support||Online chat, email|
Disk Drill 3 for Mac Review Summary
What is Disk Drill for Mac?
Disk Drill 3 for Mac is a data recovery software solution developed by CleverFiles, a software company that’s also responsible for the Windows version of Disk Drill. If you’re not familiar with data recovery software, all you really need to know is that Disk Drill 3 for Mac can undelete even those files that the macOS operating system can no longer see.
For example, you can use Disk Drill 3 for Mac to recover files after emptying the Trash, accidentally formatting your USB flash drive, or downloading a malicious file from the internet and becoming infected with malware. The latest version of Disk Drill for Mac requires Mac OS X 10.8.5+ to work, but other versions are available for older Macs.
How to Download Disk Drill for Mac + Pricing
Anyone who decides to download Disk Drill 3 for Mac has two options:
- Download Disk Drill from the App Store (the App Store version is called Disk Drill Media Recovery).
- Download the data recovery software directly from its official website.
If you’re used to downloading apps from the App Store, that’s most likely the option you’ll be inclined to choose, but it’s not the best option.
Why? Because the App Store version of Disk Drill doesn’t have some of its most attractive and useful features, including iOS and Android data recovery, the ability to create bootable recovery drives, improved detection and reading stability of damaged storage devices, Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery, or S.M.A.R.T. disk health monitoring (more about these features later in this review).
To comply with Apple’s stringent guidelines, the App Store version of Disk Drill is sandboxed, so any features that require advanced access level to storage and mobile devices are not available. Until Apple gives system utility developers more freedom, there’s, unfortunately, nothing that can be done about this, except for offering system utilities outside the App Store, which is exactly what Disk Drill developers are doing.
Anyone can download the Basic version of Disk Drill from its official website for free and securely purchase a Pro or Enterprise license to unlock everything Disk Drill has to offer. The online order process is complexly painless, and it’s possible to buy optional lifetime upgrades and save money in the long run.
Here’s an overview of different versions of Disk Drill for Mac and their cost:
|Disk Drill Media Recovery||Disk Drill Basic||Disk Drill Pro||Disk Drill Enterprise|
|Users||1 user||1 user||1 user||10 users|
|Activations||1 activation||1 activation||3 activations||Unlimited|
|Extra features||None||Free data protection||Quick & Deep Scan, Rebuild HFS+, Lost Partition Search & more||Forensic data export (DFXML)|
Getting Started with Disk Drill for Mac
Assuming you’ve decided to go with the non-App Store version of Disk Drill for Mac, you first need to install it just like you would any other third-party app.
- Open the downloaded .dmg file.
- Drag the Disk Drill icon into the Applications folder.
- Wait until all data is copied.
You can now open the Applications folder and double-click on Disk Drill to launch it. When you first launch Disk Drill, you will be asked to confirm your decision. This happens with every third-party app, and all you need to do is click Open.
You will then be greeted by a welcome screen with three buttons at the bottom. If you want to recover your data as soon as possible, you can click Get started and proceed to the next chapter of this review to learn how to use Disk Drill for Mac. If you want to learn more about what Disk Drill has to offer, you can either choose to see a product video or click Continue to go to the next slide of the welcome screen.
The last slide gives you the option to enter your Disk Drill PRO activation code, so take advantage of it if you have one. Before you can start using Disk Drill, you will need to enter your admin password otherwise Disk Drill won’t be able to scan your system.
Last but not least, you need to grant Full Disk Access to Disk Drill by opening System Preferences, navigating to the Privacy tab, and dragging two icons into the Full Disk Access list.
The good news is that all subsequent launches of Disk Drill are completely painless, so it’s not like you would have to go through these steps every single time.
How to Use Disk Drill for Mac?
Disk Drill for Mac has many exciting features, but we want to start by taking a close look at its data recovery capabilities. Here’s how to recover deleted files with Disk Drill for Mac:
Step 1. Connect the storage device from which you want to recover deleted files to your computer.
Disk Drill can recover lost data from any storage device recognized by your Mac, such as internal and external hard drives, memory cards, USB flash drives, and more. All major Mac, Windows, and Linux file systems are supported, including NTFS, FAT, FAT32, exFAT, EXT3/EXT4, HFS, and APFS.
Step 2. Open Disk Drill 3 for Mac and find your device.
Next, launch Disk Drill for Mac and give it a second or two to find all available hardware disks and logical volumes. You should see the storage device from which you want to recover deleted files listed in the main window.
Step 3. Click ‘Recover’ next to the device.
To scan your storage device, all you need to do is click the Recover button next to it. Disk Drill for Mac will automatically go through its recovery algorithms in the optimal order.
Step 4. Choose which data you want to recover.
When Disk Drill for Mac is done with scanning, it will display a list with all recoverable files. You can click the preview button (eye symbol) to preview individual files. To select a file for recovery, simply click the checkbox next to it.
Step 5. Click ‘Recover’ again.
Finally, click the Recover button and specify the recovery directory. Make sure that you don’t select a directory located on the same storage device from which you’re recovering your files because you could overwrite them.
As you can see, recovering deleted and lost files with Disk Drill for Mac is a matter of five simple steps. Depending on the size of your storage device and the scope of the data recovery task, you should be done in just a couple of minutes.
Disk Drill for Mac Main Features
Disk Drill 3 for Mac successfully proves that data recovery can be performed at home and with great results. Here are some of the main features that make is such a recommendable data recovery application.
Fresh User Interface
If you have experience with a previous version of Disk Drill for Mac, the first thing you’ll notice when you launch Disk Drill 3 for Mac is the brand-new user interface, which is now cleaner, sleeker, and more modern. By default, the new user interface hides system partitions to reduce clutter and avoid confusing users who don’t know what partitions are.
Design has always been an important part of the data recovery experience provided by Disk Drill, and we’re happy to see that its developers continue being able to improve it. We also appreciate that more experienced users can customize the main view to fit their preferences.
Support for iOS & Android Devices
Before the release of Disk Drill 3 for Mac, many long-term Disk Drill users were longing for the ability to recover data from iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Disk Drill 3 for Mac added this ability, and it works great. You simply launch Disk Drill, connect your iOS devices to your Mac, click Recover, and select what you want to restore.
A suite of Data Recovery Tools
One of many things that set Disk Drill 3 for Mac apart from other data recovery solutions are the extra free data recovery tools that come bundled with it. They include a disk health monitor, data backup and recovery utilities, duplicate finder, and more.
Even without them, Disk Drill 3 for Mac would provide excellent value for money, but their presence increases its value tenfold. To access them, all you need to do is click on any of the four buttons that appear at the top of Disk Drill’s main window.
Multiple Recovery Methods
The developers of Disk Drill keep adding support for more and more file formats, such as Evernote XML notes and rich text documents, and the latest version supports over 300 of them. Also supported are all major devices and file systems, including ExFAT and EXT4. Depending on what data recovery scenario you’re dealing with, you can choose either the Quick Scan recovery method or the Deep Scan recovery method. As their names suggest, Quick Scan is fast, while Deep Scan is slower but more comprehensive.
The user experience provided by Disk Drill has always been characterized by its one-click approach to recovery, and this hasn’t changed. Disk Drill 3 for Mac remains accessible even to complete beginners who have absolutely no previous experience with data recovery. What’s more, the same one-click approach has now been applied to iOS and Android recovery, making Disk Drill one of the most comprehensive data recovery solutions on the market.
Performance shouldn’t be your priority when evaluating a data recovery solution, but Disk Drill 3 for Mac doesn’t disappoint even in this regard. Because it offers two distinct data recovery methods—Quick Scan and Deep Scan—you can always choose the right recovery approach for the job and dig deeper into your storage device only when needed.
With a 500 GB hard drive, expect Disk Drill 3 for Mac to take roughly 1 hour with the Deep Scan data recovery method and around 10 minutes with the Quick Scan recovery method. iOS and Android recovery take longer, which is likely caused by the inherent performance limitations of performing data recovery over USB.
Extra Free Disk Tools Included with Disk Drill for Mac
The goal of Disk Drill for Mac is to prevent data loss, which is why the PRO version comes with several extra free disk tools that you can use to maintain your Mac in good working order and protect important files from accidental deletion.
Disk health is a S.M.A.R.T. disk monitoring utility whose purpose is to detect and report various indicators of hard drive reliability so that you can anticipate hardware issues a long time before they have a chance to cause serious data loss. This feature is compatible with virtually all modern HDDs and SSDs, and you can activate it in Preferences.
Uninstalled applications often leave behind unused files that hog precious storage space and prevent other applications and even the operating system itself from taking advantage of it. Mac Cleanup can find these files, making it easy for you to get rid of them.
It’s easy to download the same file multiple times or transfer photos and videos from a memory card to two different locations without even realizing it. Duplicate Finder is a handy tool that can detect these duplicate files and remove them.
One common challenge Mac users encounter when trying to recover lost data is the inability to boot into macOS. With Disk Drill’s Recovery Drive, you can create a bootable USB drive and use it to recover data from a Mac that refuses to boot properly.
Included with Disk Drill for Mac are two extremely useful data protection tools, called Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery. The former remembers the metadata of deleted files to improve your recovery chances, while the latter actually saves complete copies of files in specified locations.
Last but not least, Disk Drill for Mac can create byte-to-byte disk and partition backups, allowing you to recover even from the most catastrophic data loss situations without losing valuable files, settings, and other data.
Is Disk Drill Safe?
If you’ve never used a data recovery software application before, it’s completely understandable that you may feel somewhat apprehensive about the data recovery process in general. You should know that data recovery software like Disk Drill can’t harm your devices and files because its data recovery algorithms are 100% non-destructive, and their only job is to detect recoverable files.
Recoverable files are any files that have been deleted in macOS but haven’t been overwritten yet, including files from an emptied Trash. Until the storage space occupied by a deleted file is overwritten by a new file, the original file is still physically present on the storage device and recoverable with a data recovery application like Disk Drill.
Just be aware that it’s not safe to attempt Disk Drill recovery on a storage device that’s already PHYSICALLY failing. We’re talking about hard drives that are making strange sounds, USB flash drive with broken connectors, and memory cards that are falling apart. Such storage devices may stop working at any moment regardless of if you attempt to recover data from them or not.
Ordering Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise
Ordering Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise is a simple task because all orders are processed through Paddle, a global e-commerce service provider. You can pay with your credit card, PayPal, or wire transfer, and there’s even the possibility to negotiate a custom payment method (such as Bitcoin).
As soon as your Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise order is processed, you’ll receive an email with an activation code, and all you need to do is download Disk Drill Basic and unlock it with the received code. All premium features will be instantly unlocked, so you can start recovering your data right away.
Everything you do on your Mac involves data in some way. As such, it’s paramount to have a good data recovery strategy ready in case something goes wrong and you lose valuable files. After thoroughly testing the latest version of Disk Drill, we wouldn’t go back to lesser data recovery software solutions, and you shouldn’t either.