How to Help Someone Recover Deleted Files from Mac?

Ayushi Jaiswal
November 8, 2019

Recently, a friend of mine accidentally deleted few video files from her MacBook Air. She tried undoing the operation but couldn’t salvage her treasured videos. When she spoke about the incident to me, I wondered if I could be of any help to her. So, I posted the event on different forums to get advice from Mac community. Then I came to know that recovering deleted files/videos from Mac is not a cumbersome task. If you, by chance, have to help a friend or relative in retrieving deleted files from Mac then follow this helpful article.

Data loss incidents like accidental file deletion, emptying of Trash, formatting of a partition, etc. are common and can occur to anyone. In some cases, you need expert advice to troubleshoot and recover the data from Mac. In this article, you will learn a few great and easy-to-use methods that enable you to help someone in recovering deleted files from Mac.

Methods to Recover Deleted Files/Videos from Mac

First off, tell your friend to remain calm. Then ask if they have checked the Trash folder. In case they have emptied the Trash folder, then advise not to use the Mac storage drive anymore to rule out overwriting the deleted data. Also, inquire about the Time Machine backup or a clone of the Mac start-up disk. Ask whether the auto sync of important folders to iCloud is enabled.

Put Back from Trash

Often, we trash unneeded files from our Mac. But we don’t empty the Trash folder immediately.  

So, if your friend has not emptied the Trash, then guide them to perform the following steps:

  • Open Trash and find the deleted items by browsing or using the search box.
  • If the files are lurking there in an unharmed condition, select the deleted files.
  • Secondary click the selected item, then choose Put Back from the context menu.
  • Navigate to the folder wherein the files got deleted. Now, the files are restored there.

Note: Undo operation works when your friend acts immediately after deletion. In case of delay, chances of undoing the delete operation reduces. So always check the Trash folder for deleted files.

Restore from iCloud

Most of us use iCloud to sync the Desktop and Documents folder to the cloud drive. This auto syncing allows Mac to update the synced folders to iCloud drive in real-time.

Ask your friend to execute the following steps for iCloud recovery:

  • Open from Safari browser then login with the Apple ID.
  • Go to iCloud Drive. Double-click the Documents or Desktop folder.
  • Select the deleted files then click the Download icon.
  • Navigate to the local iCloud Drive on your Mac then go to Documents or Desktop.
  • The files are restored to the local iCloud drive from the iCloud account. View the same.

Restore Deleted Videos/Files from Time Machine

Usually, Mac users use Time Machine application to back up the Mac startup disk. This application takes incremental backup and stores all the backed-up data in backup drive in the form of. backupdb file.

So, if your friend has set up Time Machine backup, then suggest performing the following steps to recover deleted files:

Ensure your friend connects the Time Machine backup disk to your Mac.

  • From the menu bar, go to Time Machine > Enter Time Machine.
  • Find the deleted files by using timeline or search field.
  • Select a deleted file then press Space Bar to preview.
  • Click Restore to restore the selected item.
  • Navigate to the folder wherein the files got deleted. Now, the files are restored there.

Recover by Using Data Recovery Software for Mac

Data recovery Mac software such as Stellar Data Recovery Professional finds applicability if the data is lost from the storage drive without any backup’iCloud, Time Machine, or otherwise. The software helps recover permanently deleted, formatted, or lost data from Mac system(s).

Instruct your friend to carry out the following steps:

  • Download the trial version of Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac.
  • Launch the software, then perform the data recovery task using three basic steps’Select, Scan, and Recover.

Note: Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is now macOS Catalina 10.15 compatible. Stellar software trial version allows free scanning of the drive and preview of recoverable files. To save the data, your friend needs to activate the software by purchasing its activation key.


In this article, we’ve shared how to help someone recover deleted files from Mac. The first step in the recovery process is to check the Trash. If the deleted files are in the Trash folder, restore them. If not found in Trash folder, check if Time Machine backup is taken. Use Time Machine backup to restore deleted files. If Desktop and Documents on Mac are synced to iCloud, then visit to restore the data to the local iCloud Drive on your Mac.

In case your friend has emptied the Trash and has no backup, then recommend using a data recovery software for Mac to scan the drive and recover deleted files.

Stellar Data Recovery for Mac is available in Professional, Premium, and Technician versions. Download from

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