Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Undelete with Terminal Command Go to "Applications" > "Utilities" > double-click on "Terminal" to open the application > type cd .Trash...Full steps
Fix 2. Restore with Backup on Mac Connect the Time Machine backup disk to your Mac and turn it on > find files and select...Full steps
Fix 3. Restore files with software Download EaseUS file recovery software for Mac > select the location > scan...Full steps

Mac Delete Situations: How to Understand "Delete" on Mac

Speaking of deleting files on Mac, what do you think? Moving files from the Desktop to the Trash or erasing a USB drive to wipe out all data? On a Mac computer, there are many ways to delete a file.

The most common method is to drag and drop unwanted files into the Trash. Also, you could use the shortcut "Option+Command+Delete" to quickly remove a file. Most Mac users might be uncommon about the last method. You can also delete files using the rm command.

What is the rm command?
By running "rm -rf ./Desktop/" command line in Mac Terminal, users could delete multiple unwanted files at one time.

A Brief Overview of rm Command Line 

rm command simply deletes the directory entry for the file while leaving the disk blocks it used, untouched. You can try to re-discover those blocks' contents with some advanced methods. The essential issue is that nothing else re-uses any of the disk blocks represented by your file.

How to Recover Files Deleted on Mac - with Terminal, Time Machine, Software

If you have performed a quick deletion with the rm command line to mistakenly remove some needful files from the desktop or anywhere else on Mac, the files won't go to the trans bin, so you can't recover the lost files from trash bin directly. But don't worry, you can still use the advanced methods below to recover deleted files by command line possibly.

Method 1. Undelete Files with Terminal Command on Mac 

1. Go to "Applications" > "Utilities" > double-click on "Terminal" to open the application.

2. Type in the following Terminal command: cd .Trash, then hit the "Return".

3. Type mv xxx ../. Replace the "xxx" part with the full name of the file you deleted. Hit the "Return" key.

4. Type Quit in the Terminal window.

5. Launch the "Finder" window. Enter the name of the deleted files in the search bar at the top right part of the window to find the restored files.

Note: You must type the Terminal commands exactly, otherwise, the data recovery will fail.

Method 2. Restore with Time Machine Backup on Mac

Only users with backups can apply to this solution. If you haven't made any backup before, jump to the next part to recover deleted Mac files with the user-friendly EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

Time Machine, the built-in backup feature of your Mac, automatically backs up all of your files, including apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files. With the backup, Mac deleted file recovery from the command line will be easily settled.

1. Connect the Time Machine backup disk to your Mac and turn it on.

2. Find the files you want to restore in your Time Machine backup. Select an item and press Space Bar to preview it and make sure it's the one you want.

3. Click "Restore" to recover the items you selected.

Method 3. Restore Mac Deleted Files with a Data Recovery Tool Without Backup

If you're not familiar with the command line, nor have a Time machine backup, a Mac data recovery program is your best choice. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac not only can help recover files deleted by the command line but also restore lost files from formatted hard drive/partition on Mac, virus infection, system reinstallation, and more. Follow the three steps below to see how to make it in the easiest and quickest way. 

Step 1. Scan for deleted files

Select the hard drive, external drive, or SSD where your important data & files were deleted and click "Search for lost files".

select a location and scan for deleted files on Mac

Step 2. Filter the lost files

The software will run quick and deep scans and work hard to find as many deleted files as possible on the selected volume. Filter wanted files through the "Type" and "Path" options.

Filter and select the lost files

Step 3. Recover deleted files

Double-click the deleted files to preview. Then, click the "Recover" button to get them back.

recover deleted files from Mac

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac and how-to tips for partition management. He always keeps an eye on new releases and loves various electronic products.

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Written by Jean

Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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