Top 5 Mac Data Recovery Software in 2023: Free and Paid Options

In this article, we will present a list of the top five Mac data recovery software options available in 2023. Each software will be discussed, including its pros, and cons. Additionally, we will provide insights into our testing process and criteria for selecting these tools.

To ensure an accurate assessment, we conducted extensive testing on eight widely recognized data recovery applications. Our evaluation involved creating virtual machines running various versions of Mac OS, including OS X 10.9, macOS 10.14, macOS 12, and macOS 13. We also utilized an external hard drive with a damaged file system, containing diverse file formats such as DOC, JPG, AVI, MP3, and ZIP. By employing seven clones of each virtual machine, we aimed to eliminate any factors that could influence the scanning and recovery results. Therefore, the conclusions drawn in this article are both objective and highly accurate.

Option 1: iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac

iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is a comprehensive and reliable software that facilitates the recovery of deleted or lost data from Mac hard drives and external storage devices. If you seeking an easy-to-use photo recovery software for Mac, this one is a good choice.

Main Features:

  • Includes 1GB of free data recovery.
  • Supports data recovery from Apple T2 chip-encrypted Macs.
  • Compatible with M1 Pro/Max Apple hardware profiles.
  • It has the ability to recover files from lost partitions.
  • Supports unbootable Macintosh HD data recovery.
  • Allows previewing recoverable data before the actual recovery process.
  • Offers the option to save and resume scanning sessions.
  • Supports (encrypted) APFS, HFS+, FAT32, and exFAT file systems.


  • Provides 1GB of free data recovery, allowing users to test its capabilities.
  • Supports Apple T2 chip-encrypted Macs, ensuring compatibility and security.
  • Works seamlessly with the latest M1 Pro/Max Apple hardware profiles.
  • Capable of recovering data from lost partitions, expanding recovery possibilities.
  • Enables recovery from unbootable Macintosh HD, even when the system fails to start.
  • Offers the convenience of previewing recoverable data, ensuring accurate selection.
  • Allows saving and resuming scanning sessions, ensuring flexibility for large recoveries.
  • Supports a wide range of Mac operating systems and file systems.


  • Lacks the ability to repair corrupt photos and videos.
  • Does not support the NTFS file system.
  • No phone support available.

Overall Experience:

During our testing, iBoysoft Data Recovery demonstrated excellent performance on mainstream hard drives such as WD and Seagate. It successfully retrieved all lost files on Mac, including photos, images, notes, documents, spreadsheets, videos, and music files. This software excels in recovering deleted files on Mac that have been moved to or emptied from the Trash. It supports SD card recovery and can restore lost data from various storage devices such as Macintosh HD, external hard drives, SSDs, and USB flash thumb drives.

Option 2: PhotoRec

When considering free file recovery software for Mac, PhotoRec is a viable choice, except for individuals who are unfamiliar with command-line interfaces, as it may not be suitable for inexperienced users. This open-source software is specifically designed for recovering data lost due to deletion, disk formatting, file system corruption, and more.


  • This is a completely free Mac data recovery software
  • Utilizes powerful file carving technology
  • Capable of advanced corrupted hard drive data recovery
  • Supports HFS+, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, ext2, ext3, and ext4 file systems


  • Unfriendly command-line interface
  • Lacks support for encrypted APFS file systems
  • Slower data scanning and recovery process
  • No technical support or assistance available
  • Limited compatibility with Mac OS X versions

While PhotoRec primarily focuses on providing photo recovery functionality for DSLR camera users, it also extends support to various devices such as external hard drives, CD-ROMs, memory cards, USB drives, and Mac computers.

This tool locates data by analyzing block and cluster sizes contained in superblock datasets (ext2/ext3/ext4) or MBR datasets. By calculating the block or cluster size based on the first ten discovered files, it effectively recovers lost data from Mac systems.

We have successfully utilized this Mac data recovery freeware to retrieve JPEG pictures, MP3 audio files, and Microsoft Office documents.

However, it is important to note that utilizing PhotoRec for Mac file recovery necessitates familiarity with the command line, as its user interface resembles Terminal (the Command Prompt on Mac), rather than a modern graphical interface. Furthermore, PhotoRec does not support APFS, limiting its effectiveness for APFS data recovery.

While PhotoRec may not be compatible with the latest Mac operating systems such as macOS Ventura, Monterey, or Big Sur, it can still be recommended for data recovery on Mac OS X. Nonetheless, individuals without command line knowledge should consider alternative options.

Option 3: Wondershare Recoverit (Mac version)

Wondershare Recoverit Mac Data Recovery is a comprehensive and feature-rich tool specially designed to retrieve lost data from Mac systems. It offers impressive success rates, advanced video recovery and repair capabilities, and supports a wide range of file systems.


  • Provides 100 MB of free Mac data recovery.
  • Recovers data from crashed Mac systems, including Macintosh HD.
  • Offers advanced video recovery and repair functionality for corrupted video files on Mac.
  • Compatible with T2 and M1 Mac systems.
  • Allows preview of recoverable files through thumbnail display for accuracy and efficiency.
  • Wondershare Recoverit supports macOS 13 to OS X 10.10.
  • Recovers data from encrypted file systems such as APFS and HFS+.


  • Does not support the NTFS file system used in Windows environments.
  • Premium consulting services are not available.

Overall, Wondershare Recoverit demonstrates an impressive 96% success rate in recovering data from Mac hard drives and external storage devices, supporting over 1000 file formats. During testing, it proved effective in recovering deleted files from various sources. Notably, it excels in retrieving graphic photos, videos, office documents, and email files. The Advanced Video Recovery Technology is highly acclaimed for repairing corrupted video files.

The free version allows recovery of up to 100 MB of data, which should suffice for small-scale data loss situations. However, subscriptions are available for larger file recovery needs and advanced video repair options.

Option 4: Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery

Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery presents a dependable solution for recovering data on Mac systems. It extends support to various storage devices and facilitates the retrieval of lost data from built-in Mac applications such as Photos, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, TextEdit, and Mail.


  • Restores data from non-booting Mac systems.
  • Offers drive health monitoring and cloning capabilities.
  • Allows preview of recoverable data prior to initiating the recovery process.
  • Compatible with M1 and T2 Macs.
  • Supports APFS, HFS+, FAT32, NTFS, and ExFAT file systems.


  • The free version solely enables data scanning and previewing.
  • Does not support encrypted APFS data recovery.
  • Stellar Mac Data Recovery provides a free download option for scanning and previewing lost or deleted data. However, to fully recover data from a deleted APFS partition or retrieve lost files from SSDs, SD cards, USB flash drives, or USB-C portable HDDs, the professional version must be purchased.

This comprehensive Mac file recovery tool is compatible with various Mac models, including MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, and others. Its standout feature lies in its capability to repair corrupted photos and videos, which proves particularly beneficial for professional users working with applications like Logic Pro, InDesign, Final Cut Pro, and iMovie.

The free trial version of Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac solely allows previewing of lost or deleted files. While it serves as a useful tool for monitoring the health of lost files and hard disks, it does not provide a free option for Mac file recovery unless the full version is purchased.

Option 5: Disk Drill

Disk Drill for Mac is a file recovery tool specifically designed for Mac OS X and later versions. It not only enables the recovery of deleted files but also offers disk management and cleaning tools for subscribed users.


  • Incorporates Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Data Recovery features.
  • Provides S.M.A.R.T. disk health monitoring.
  • Allows previewing of recoverable data before initiating the recovery process.
  • Disk Drill supports OS from macOS 13 to Mac OS X 10.5.
  • Compatible with both Intel-based and M1 Mac systems.
  • Supports APFS, HFS+, FAT32, exFAT, ext3, and ext4 file systems.


  • The free version solely permits previewing of lost files.
  • Does not support encrypted APFS data recovery.

Disk Drill includes additional features such as Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery to mitigate accidental data loss. It utilizes Time Machine for file backups, enabling users to recover data from emptied Trash on their Mac systems.

This software is available for macOS, iOS, and Android devices, facilitating data recovery from various sources, including hard drives, USB flash drives, iPhones, digital cameras, Android phones, and memory cards.

Disk Drill offers free S.M.A.R.T. disk monitoring, Mac storage cleanup, duplicate file finder, recovery drive, data protection, and data backup features. Its capability to repair corrupted photos and videos is particularly advantageous for professional users working with applications like Logic Pro, InDesign, Final Cut Pro, and iMovie.

Similar to iBoysoft Data Recovery software, Disk Drill enables users to preview detected files before deciding whether to recover them. It supports a wide range of file types and features a user-friendly interface.

The Basic version of Disk Drill is available for free, allowing users to check the status of lost data. However, actual data recovery on Mac requires the purchase of the paid version. Navigating the main interface to access desired features may present a slight challenge. Nevertheless, it can serve as a viable commercial data recovery solution for users willing to make a purchase.