How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac Without Time Machine [2 Ways]

Cedric Grantham updated on Apr 27, 2020 to Mac File Recovery | How-to Articles


Time Machine will not be helpful if you don't have an external hard drive to use it to create a backup of all of your files on Mac. However, at this time, you are able to recover deleted files on Mac from Mac Trash or using a professional Mac data recovery tool. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is available here to restore your Mac data without Time Machine backup.

This page offers two practical methods to help you effectively restore deleted or lost Mac files without using Time Machine and even offer a bonus tip to help you back up Mac data efficiently.

How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac without Time Machine

"I have accidentally deleted some photos from my Mac on macOS Catalina. I don't have a backup using Time Machine, yet I would still like to try to recover the lost files. How can I do that now without Time Machine?"

Time Machine, the built-in backup application on Mac, enables you to automatically back up all of your files, including apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files to an external storage device. You can optionally set up a backup plan on Mac by hourly, daily, and even weekly backups. With a backup, you can easily restore Mac files lost due to unexpected system problems, hardware failure, virus attack, and other reasons.

However, most of us don't have a large enough storage device to save the entire Mac backup or fail to maintain regular backup with Time Machine. Don't worry and try the following two practical methods to recover deleted files on Mac without Time Machine and a bonus tip to back up your Mac data.

Note that each method applies to restore lost files from different data loss cases, read through this page and pick up the right method to bring your lost Mac files back now.

Method 1. Recover Deleted Files on Mac from Trash [Not Emptied]

Applies to: Undelete Mac files that were removed to the Trash by mistake; Restore deleted files from Mac Trash without Time Machine.

Step 1. Double-click to open the Trash bin on Mac desktop.

You will see all the deleted files listed in the Trash bin.

Step 2. Locate and right-click the files that you want to recover and select "Put Back".

Recover deleted files from trash wtihout Time Machine backup

The selected files will be recovered to the original location on your Mac. Don't worry if you have emptied the Mac Trash bin. You can refer to Method 2 and apply a reliable Mac file recovery software to restore all the deleted files from Mac without Time Machine.

Method 2. Restore Mac Deleted Files (without Time Machine) Using Data Recovery Software

Applies to: Recover Mac deleted files after emptying the Trash, restore permanently deleted files, lost files due to deletion, formatting, and other reasons.

EaseUS Data Recovery Master for Mac is known for its high data recovery rate in restoring lost, or inaccessible data on your MacBook, iMac, hard drive, USB, camera, memory card, SD card, and other storage devices in worse scenarios.

With it, you recover data on Mac without Time Machine in three steps: specify the location > scan > preview and retrieve. If your lost files are less than 2GB, it would be better for you to use the free version of EaseUS Mac Data Recovery.

Go through the steps listed below to bring your Mac files back immediately:

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 Scan button.

select the location where data lost and click scan

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

scan the selected disk to find lost data on your Mac

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click Recover Now button to have them back.

click recover now button to recover lost data on your Mac

Bonus Tip: Back Up Mac Data without Time Machine

Applies to: Create a backup of Mac data without using Time Machine.

Besides finding reliable methods to recover deleted Mac files, another practical way that you can apply to protect your Mac data is to create a backup. Instead of Time Machine, we'd like to offer you a trustworthy & efficient Mac data backup tool to help you fully back up Mac data with ease.

#1. Download & Install Reliable Mac Backup Tool - EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac

EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac is a piece of efficient Mac backup software that supports Mac users to back up their data on Mac computer in four modes - Mac Data Backup, Backup Archive, Disk Clone, and File Sync.

#2. Back Up Mac Data without Time Machine

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Mac backup software, click the first Backup tab > Click + button at the left corner of the left pane to create a backup project - name the backup project and click OK.

Backup data with EaseUS Mac backup software - click backup tab

Step 2. Set up the backup destination where you want to store Mac files as backups, automatically backup frequency, etc. and click OK. Here, if you want to save the back image to an external hard drive, please connect it to Mac in step 1.

Backup data with EaseUS Mac backup software - select the backup destination

Step 3. Click File+ to selectively choose files and folders to backup and click the blue start button to backup your data now. 

Backup data with EaseUS Mac backup software - click the blue start button

With the backup, you can always immediately bring lost files back on Mac.

Conclusion & Recover Mac Deleted Files FAQs

On this page, we collected two practical methods to help you recover deleted Mac files from Mac Trash or using professional Mac file recovery software without Time Machine. If you need a complete Mac data backup tool, EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac is qualified to help you out. With this comprehensive Mac data backup software, you can always immediately restore deleted or lost files on Mac in minutes.

Besides Mac deleted file recovery without Time Machine, some people also asked some related questions online. Here we collected top 4 concerning questions and left a brief answer below each question. If you are having the same doubts as listed below, check out the answers there immediately:

1. How can I recover permanently deleted files from Mac without software?

When you permanently deleted files on Mac but don't want to use any software to restore the files, you have two ways to undelete those files:

One is to recover permanently deleted files from Time Machine or a local backup on your Mac device. The other practical way is to restore deleted files from Cloud account if you have uploaded or saved valuable files there in advance.

2. Is it possible to recover deleted files on Mac?

Yes. When you deleted files on Mac, you can first try Mac Trash recovery. If nothing was found, reliable Mac file recovery software such as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is qualified to help. Or you can even restore deleted files from Time Machine backup. 

3. How do I recover an unsaved pages document without Time Machine?

By accident, you closed an unsaved Pages document which contains a lot of important notes. Or, carelessly, you lost or deleted a Pages document that you desperately need. To recover your unsaved pages documents on your Mac, you can go to Finder and have a try. While to recover a lost/deleted Pages document, you can do it successfully with the help of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, the powerful and popular data recovery tool, or Time Machine.

For a step-by-step guide, you may refer to Recover Unsaved Pages Documents on Mac for help. 

4. How to restore Mac to previous date wthout Time Machine?

If you have a Time Machine backup which contains the snapshot backup of your Mac startup disk, Mac restoration is possible with the Time Machine to a previous date.

However, if you don't have any backup available, you cannot restore a working copy of your macOS. Therefore, if you need to create a backup image of macOS, using Time Machine to backup your Mac. If you lost a Time Machine backup, refer to Recover Deleted Time Machine Backup for help.

The good news is that when you lost data on Mac without a Time Machine bakcup, you still can recover the lost files and data using professional data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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