External Hard Drive Data Recovery Mac: How to Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive

Usually, external hard drive data recovery on Mac can be done by trash restoration, Time Machine/Cloud backup, Mac drive data recovery software, and manual data recovery services. Among all, third-party software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is the most universally applied when there is no backup available.

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4 Ways of External Hard Drive Data Recovery Mac

how to recover data from external hard drive on mac

Most Mac users have invested an external hard drive to expand the storage space of their MacBook or iMac. The most popular brands are usually Westen Digital, Buffalo, G-Technology, Samsung, Seagate, and Lacie. As far as we know, it's notoriously difficult for simply upgrading the internal hard drives. Somehow, the more frequently you operate a Mac computer on an external hard drive, the more likely you are subject to data loss. For example, accidental deletion, disk formatting, improper disconnection, or merely the drive itself is dying.

Basically, there are four possible ways to recover deleted files from external hard drive, USB flash drive, or a memory card on Mac. Each way is applicable to certain data loss scenarios, and we'll explain in detail. 

  1. 1. Restore from Trash Bin
  2. 2. Restore from a Backup File
  3. 3. Use Data Recovery Software
  4. 4. Try Manual Data Recovery Service

1. How to Recover Deleted Files from External Hard Drive Mac from Trash Bin

If you lost data on the external hard drive by dragging it to the Trash, always check the Trash Bin first. Right-click on the file and select "Move to Trash", or use the keyboard shortcut Command-Delete. Those files were not permanently removed until you emptied the Trash. Here are the steps to restore files from Trash.

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to Mac and navigate to Trash.

Step 2. Locate the abandoned file in the trash folder, and use "Copy Items" to recover the files back to their original spot. By the way, the "Put Back" command works the same way.

recover deleted files on external hard drive from trash bin

2. Recover External Hard Drive Mac from a Backup File

Since Mac provides users with secure protection mechanism by backing up important hard drive files to Cloud, or a backup device via Time Machine, one good way to recover deleted files is from the backup file.

For example, to restore Mac files from Time Machine, refer to the steps:

Step 1. Open Time Machine by clicking on the icon in the menu bar and choose "Enter Time Machine".

Step 2. Find the specific file in the backup, press Space Bar to preview it, and determine whether it's the one you want.

Step 3. Click on the "Cloud" icon to download a snapshot to view it. When you do this, that snapshot will be available to view even when your external drive is disconnected from the Mac.

Step 4. Click "Restore" to restore the selected file.

recover deleted files on external hard drive from time machine backup

3. Restore External Hard Drive Mac with Data Recovery Software

When it comes to the situation where you are unable to access or locate files in the Trash or backup or even no backups were ever created, the only way to continue is to download a capable Mac external hard drive data recovery program and perform data recovery as soon as possible.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is reputable in the data recovery field, regarding the 10+ years of experience, deep scan ability, all macOS and Mac OS X compatibility, it's the top 1 choice whenever you're faced with Mac data loss issues and eager to find a simple yet effective data recovery solution.

How does the software work in a variety of data loss scenarios? We give you some examples. 

  • Permanently deleted files from the external hard drive on Mac, like using Command-Shift-Delete to empty the Trash, or Option-Command-Delete, known as "Delete Immediately" to bypass Trash.
  • Format the external hard drive using Disk Utility or other third-party disk formatting tools.
  • Files were unknowingly hidden somewhere, and you lost the entrance.
  • Other logical errors occur to the external hard drive, and later it becomes inaccessible.

How to recover data from external hard drive on Mac with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

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 a location 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.

start scan on the Mac

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

click recover now button to recover lost data on your Mac

4. How to Restore External Hard Drive Mac with Manual Service

Apart from most of the logical errors that would bring data loss on an external storage device, which EaseUS Mac data recovery software can absolutely help recover, there are moments you cannot simply get data back, especially when severe issues were developed on a disk. For instance, hard drive corruption with too many bad sectors, the hard drive has fallen apart, heavy clicking/beeping sound, etc.

When you got problems similar to the examples, do not try to rely on any Mac data recovery software in the market, it's time to send it to an IT expert who is good at manual data recovery (check the average hard drive data recovery cost if you're interested). Most of the time, by the local data recovery service, hard drive repair comes before data recovery.  To make sure that the team is reliable, you must check the following things.

  • Must be an ISO certified service center
  • Data recovery guarantee after analysis
  • Should have Class 100 Clean Room
  • Service must be secure & reliable

According to our survey, Ontrack is reliable and secure; you can ask Ontrack for help if you got physical damage on your external hard drive. 

recover data using manual data recovery service

How to Avoid External Hard Drive Data Loss (Bonus Tips)

Why not protect your data in advance. Data recovery may cost a lot; a nice choice is protecting your data in advance.

  1. 1. Think carefully before you are going to delete files or format your external hard drive
  2. 2. Eject the drive in the correct way. You may lose data if you eject the external hard drive when in use.
  3. 3. Avoid physical damage due to any reason.
  4. 4. Let anti-virus software scan your device to stay away from the virus attack.
  5. 5. Back up important files using Cloud drive, professional backup and recovery software, or manual copy.

To Sum Up

There are four ways to recover deleted files from Mac external hard drive. First, check the Trash Bin. If this solution fails, restore external hard drive files from a backup. If you don't have a backup, deploy EaseUS Mac data recovery software to scan and recover deleted files from the external storage drive. Finally, if Mac external hard drive data loss is caused by physical damage, turn to a manual service.

External Hard Drive Data Recovery Mac FAQs

Here are common FAQs that you may be interested in. Check if any of them could help you.

How to recover deleted files from a Mac hard drive?

To recover lost files from and external hard drive on Mac, follow these steps:

Step 1. Download, install, and launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

Step 2. Connect the external drive to your computer.

Step 3. Select the external drive from the disk list.

Step 4. Click the "Scan" button. Preview the files that can be restored. Click the "Recover" button to recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac. 

What is the best hard disk recovery software for Mac?

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is the best hard disk recovery software for Mac. This powerful recovery technology with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface can be used by anyone with a Mac. For more information, refer to Top 5 Free Data Recovery Software for Mac.

How to recover files from an external hard drive on Mac?

To recover lost files from and external hard drive on Mac:

Step 1. Download, install and launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

Step 2. Connect the external drive to your computer. Select the external drive from the disk list, and click Scan.

Step 3. After the scanning process, select the files and click the Recover Now button to get them back.

What do I do if my external hard drive is not detected on Mac?

Start with the basics:

  • Check whether the drive is properly plugged in
  • Run Disk Utility to mount and verify the drive
  • Check the cable.
  • Reboot Mac

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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Written by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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