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3 Simple Ways to Recover Files Deleted by Command Line on Mac

Updated on Feb 25, 2019 by Jean to Mac File Recovery


Files on Mac can disappear if you use rm/srm command. For recovering lost files from rm command, there are three available ways you can try. The first is to use the Mac undelete command line to recover delete files in Mac terminal; the second way is referring to Time Machine backup if you have created before; and the last, also the easiest and safest way is to use the professional EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac to retrieve deleted/lost files on Mac in three steps.

Deleted files on Mac by using rm command. How to recover?

"I accidentally deleted a file by running "rm -rf ./Desktop/myScript.sh". I think there might be some ways to recover files deleted on Mac OS X since rm command only removes files temporarily. But I don't know how to make it? What's your suggestion?"

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 by Command Line on Mac

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, to automatically back 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 a 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.

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

If you're not familiar with the command line, neither 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 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. Select the location where your important data & files were deleted and click the "Scan" button.

select the location where data was deleted and click scan

Step 2. The software will run both quick scan and deep scan and work hard to find as many deleted files as possible on the selected volume.

scan the selected disk to find deleted files on your Mac

Step 3. The scan results will be displayed in the left pane. Just select the file(s) and click the "Recover Now" button to get them back.

click recover now button to recover deleted files on your Mac