Quick Access to Troubleshooting Tips

This article covers solutions to how to recover the entire deleted Time Machine backup as well as how to recover lost/deleted files from the Time Machine Backup. 

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Recover Deleted Time Machine Backup 1. About Time Machine backup; 2. The tool you will need; 3. steps to recover the deleted backup...Full steps
Fix 2. Recover Files from Time Machine Backup Method 1. Recover files from the Time Machine backup disk...Full steps
Method 2. Restore files from local snapshots...Full steps

Part 1. How to Recover Deleted Time Machine Backup

"I used to back up my files to Time Machine. But last night, I accidentally deleted some of the backup files. And as a result, my 4 years' worth of data disappeared all of a sudden. Is it possible to recover deleted Time Machine backup? If yes, how can I do it? This is so massively important! Please help!"

About Time Machine Backup

Time Machine is a built-in backup utility in macOS or Mac OS X which is designed to back up and restore the files on your Mac. You can enable it on your Mac then it will automatically and periodically back up your personal data, partition, or even the entire disk to an external drive, Time Capsule, or NAS device that supports Time Machine over SMB. By and large, external drives are selected as the backup destination. Thus, the backup files saved on the Time Machine destination drive is not 100% safe. Like many common hard drives or storage devices, data loss disaster can happen to the backup drive due to various reasons. You may accidentally delete one or more files, format the disk, or get the backup files lost after virus attack, etc. (Want to back up a Mac without Time Machine?)

Then how to restore your Time Machine backup if it's been accidentally deleted? This the question about Time Machine backup recovery asked by a user from the Apple forum. Do you have encountered a similar situation and tried to find a way to recover deleted Time Machine backup? If so, you are here at the right place since we will focus on how to recover Time Machine backup files in all complex data loss situations.

Tool You Will Need

To make sure you can get back your Time Machine backup effectively, you need to find a reliable data recovery software tool that works well to recover deleted files on Mac or even Windows. Here we recommend you try the advanced data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, a program with powerful data recovery capacity and easy-to-use interface. With its help, you can not only recover deleted or lost Time Machine backup but also:

  • Recover files from a Mac, external hard drives, USB, SD card, memory card, digital camera, and other Mac-compatible devices
  • Retrieve files lost due to accidental deletion, wrongly formatting, system crash, OS reinstallation, and other tough data loss situations
  • Get back lost photos, videos, audio files, Microsoft Office Word/Excel/PPT files, Adobe files...

Compared with its equivalents, EaseUS data recovery software outperforms them in many aspects, like scanning speed, scanning depth, and success rate of data recovery. Now, install the software on your Mac, then follow the next part to recover your deleted Time Machine backup immediately.

Steps to Recover Deleted Time Machine backup

EaseUS doesn't overstate the usability of this tool, you can retrieve your deleted Time Machine backup using the simple steps:

The Time Machine backup is saved in a folder named Backups with the extension of .backupdb. Thus, after you scan the backup disk, you can filter the results by the extension to quickly find and recover your Time Machine backup.

Note: You can create a backup by clicking the "Disk Backup" on the left first. The software will recover the deleted files from the backup image. It can prevent further damage to your disk and data, making it safer and more reliable.

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

Since the most important usage of Time Machine backup is to restore the files on your Mac, the next part will show you how to recover files from your Time Machine backup.

Part 2. How to Recover Files from Time Machine Backup

There are two ways to recover files from your Time Machine backup: one is from the backup disk, the other is from the local snapshots, which are the backups Time Machine stores on your Mac and will help you recover your files when the Time Machine backup disk is not available. (If you want to recover deleted files/folders but you don't have any Time machine backup, you can also use EaseUS data recovery tool to recover deleted files without Time Machine.)

Method 1. Recover Files from Time Machine Backup Disk

Step 1. Connect your backup disk to your Mac and turn on your computer.

Step 2. If your Mac starts up to the setup assistant, set the details of your country, keyboard, and network. Then choose to transfer your information from a Time Machine backup from the Migration Assistant window. If your Mac starts up to the Finder, go to "Applications" > "Utilities" > "Migration Assistant" and choose to transfer your information from a Time Machine backup.

Step 3. Select the wanted Time Machine backup and click "Continue".

Step 4. If you have more than one backup option to choose, select one of them and click "Continue".

Step 5. Choose the files to transfer and click "Continue".

Step 6. When the transfer has completed, restart your computer and log in to the target account, then you will see all the recovered files.

How to Recover Files from Time Machine Backup

Method 2. Restore Files from Local Snapshots

Step 1. Enter "Time Machine"

Step 2. Select the file or folder you want to restore, then select an older version of the file or folder.

Step 3. Press "Space" bar to preview and see whether it's the one you want.

Step 4. Click Restore to restore the selected file.

How to Recover Files from Time Machine Backup

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is one of the senior editors and data recovery specialists of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery tutorials on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is mainly good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization of RAID 0, 5, and 10.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 10 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions to resolve Windows & Mac data recovery, data backup, partition management, data transfer, Windows update issues, etc.

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