Recover Files from Mac That Won't Boot Easily with 6 Proven Solutions

If your Mac cannot boot, the best choice to recover files from your Mac that won't boot is by applying EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. You also can recover files with other solutions, including Time Machine backup, macOS Target Disk Mode, and APFS snapshots. And creating a disk image or contacting Apple Support can help you recover files, too.

Table of Contents

If your Mac won't boot after update or encounters startup errors and keep your Mac from booting, you may need to rescue data from your unbootable Mac. Some users may think retrieving data from a dead/unbootable Mac is impossible. Actually, even new Mac users can recover data from a Mac that won't.

In the following parts, we will introduce six ways to recover files from Mac that won't boot. If you are looking for the easiest and fastest way, you can get what you want in the next part.

Recover Files from Mac That Won't Boot with Recovery Software

When encountering Mac issues, seeking a professional tool will never be the wrong choice. Are there any programs that can help you recover files from Mac that won't boot? Yes! When your Mac fails to boot, you cannot download recovery software and recover deleted files Mac normally. You need a portable data recovery tool - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

What can you do with this functional recovery tool?

Let's check how to create a bootable drive and recover files from Mac that won't boot with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

How to Create a USB Bootable Media

Step 1. Install and run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac on another Mac computer, and select "File > Create Bootable USB". Then, choose a USB drive to create the bootable disc.

Install and run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac to Create Bootable USB

Warning
The creator will prompt to erase the drive to reallocate the space; then it can write the bootable files to this drive. Please back up all USB files before processing "Eraser".

Step 2. The program starts to create a 2GB space and save the boot files. The rest space on the USB can be still used for storage.

 create a 2GB space

Step 3. Once it completes, please follow the guide to boot the corrupted Mac from the bootable disc and start the recovery. We suggest you restore the data to an external hard drive. 

boot the corrupted Mac from the bootable disc

How to Recover Data from Mac Hard Disk

Step 1. Select the disk location (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) where you lost data and files. Click the "Search for lost files" button.

select a location and scan for lost Mac data

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

wait for the scan to complete

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click the "Recover" button to restore data from Mac.

recover data from Mac hard disk

Recover Files from an Unbootable Mac with Time Machine Backup

There is a reliable option on macOS called Restore from Time Machine. You can restore files with a previous Mac Time Machine backup. Before the tutorial, you should connect the external hard drive which stores your Mac backups.

How to restore from Time Machine?

Step 1. You need to boot Mac into the macOS Recovery Mode. (Fix Mac won't boot into Recovery Mode by clicking this link.)

Step 2. Click "Restore from Time Machine" and continue.

restore from Time Machine backup

Step 3. Select a previous Mac backup to restore.

Step 4. Choose the destination to restore your data and files.

Step 5. You will need to erase the disk and click "Restore".

Retrieve Files from Mac That Won't Boot by Creating a Disk Image

To recover files from Mac that won't boot by creating a disk image on Mac, you will need a well-performed external hard drive with a large capacity. By the way, you should make sure your Mac disk is not damaged. Then you can try this method:

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive and boot Mac into Disk Utility.

Step 2. Select the startup disk.

Step 3. Click "File" and move your pointer to "New Image". Click "Blank Image".

create disk image on Mac

Step 4. Choose a destination to save the image. Remember to select "read/write disk image" in image format.

Create disk image on Mac

Step 5. Then click "Save" to create a Mac disk image.

Recover Files from Mac That Won't Boot with Target Disk Mode

You should have another working Mac to transfer data from the Mac that won't boot, and you need to turn off the File Vault on the working Mac. This method is complex, and you can follow this tutorial to have a try.

Step 1. Connect both of your Macs with Thunderbolt.

Step 2. Turn on your Mac that won't boot with the power button and T button to use the Mac Target Disk Mode.

Step 3. Check the screen of your healthy Mac, and you will see the storage drive.

Step 4. You can recover files from this drive to your healthy Mac.

recover files from Mac that won't boot

Recover Files from Mac That Won't Boot with APFS Snapshots

If you don't have a backup with Time Machine and using macOS after High Sierra, you can try to recover files from Mac that won't boot with APFS snapshots. We will show you how to recover files from Mac that won't boot with this method. By the way, this method cannot recover all the files on your Mac.

Step 1. Boot your Mac into Recovery Mode, and select "Restore from Time Machine".

Step 2. Select the latest APFS snapshot.

select the latest APFS snapshot

Step 3. Then you can follow the prompts to restore with a previous APFS snapshot.

Contact Apple Support to Recover Files from Mac That Won't Boot

If you cannot successfully recover files from your Mac that won't boot, or your Mac hard disk needs a replacement. You need to contact Apple Support to get professional help. Bring or send your Mac that won't boot to Apple Support to recover files manually.

  1. 1. Go to the Apple Support official website.
  2. 2. Go to local Apple Retail Stores.

Recover Files from Mac That Won't Boot FAQs

We have some frequently asked questions and answers about recovering files from Mac that won't boot, and we hope you can learn more from the following answers.

Can I recover data from a dead Mac?

You can recover data from dead MacBook Pro or Mac by applying EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

  1. 1. Create a bootable media.
  2. 2. Launch the software and scan the Mac disk.
  3. 3. Find the lost files and select the files you want to recover.
  4. 4. Preview and recover files from your dead Mac or MacBook.

How do I recover files from my Mac that won't boot without the software?

There are five ways can help you recover files from Mac that won't boot without software:

  1. 1. Restore from a Time Machine backup.
  2. 2. Creating a disk image.
  3. 3. Use macOS Target Disk Mode.
  4. 4. Restore from APFS snapshots.
  5. 5. Contact Apple Support.

How to get files off an unbootable Mac?

If your Mac cannot boot, you'd better create a bootable media with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac and recover files.

  1. 1. Launch the software and scan the Mac disk.
  2. 2. Find the lost files and select the files you want to recover.
  3. 3. Preview and recover files from your dead Mac or MacBook.

How can I boot Mac from a USB flash drive?

You can follow the steps to boot Mac from a USB flash drive:

  1. 1. Prepare and format a USB flash drive.
  2. 2. Press the power button or Touch ID and hold the Option key to boot Mac into Startup Manager.
  3. 3. Choose the USB drive and boot from it.

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Updated by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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