How to Recover Data From Unbootable Mac Computer? Expert Guide

An unbootable or non-booting Mac computer makes all your files inaccessible. The common reasons behind unbootable Mac are virus or malware infection, file system corruption, and operating system malfunction.

If you have lost access to your data due to unbootable computer, continue reading this article to learn how to recover data from unbootable Mac using 3 different reliable methods.

Method 1: Recover Data From Unbootable Mac Using Remo Mac Data Recovery Software:

Utilize Remo Recover (Mac) software to securely recover data from unbootable Mac in a few steps. This Mac Data Recovery tool performs sector by sector scanning to recover lost or deleted files from non-booting Mac.

Remo Recover Mac tool works on read-only mode to safely recover data from unbootable, corrupted or formatted Mac computers like MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac and so on. Remo Recover (Mac) tool is also compatible with all the latest versions of macOS like Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, etc.


How to Recover Data from Unbootable Mac:

Connect your unbootable Mac to the working Mac using a data cable. And follow the below steps to restore data from unbootable Mac.

  1. Download and install Remo Mac Data Recovery software on the working or healthy Mac and click on Recover Volumes/ Drives option.
  2. Select the Volume Recovery option and select your unbootable Mac drive that has appeared as an external drive and click Next.
  3. Click the desired volume from which you want to recover data from unbootable Mac and click Next.
    (Tick the below checkbox if the desired volume is not visible)
  4. Now, select the Advanced Scan option and specify the file type to be recovered from non-booting Mac and click Next.
    (Press Skip if you are not sure about the file type you want to recover)
  5. After the end of the scanning process, the software displays all the recovered files from the unbootable Mac computer.
  6. Preview the recovered files such as photos or videos for free and save them on the desired location of your choice.

Quick Note: You must have a healthy or working Mac computer to recover files from unbootable Mac computer.

Method 2: Recover Data From Unbootable Mac Using Target Disk Mode:


  1. Before you recover files from unbootable Mac using Target Disk Mode, make sure you have a bootable or healthy Mac computer along with your unbootable Mac to recover data.
  2. To boot Mac in Target Disk Mode for transferring data from unbootable Mac requires a connecting cable such as Thunderbolt or FireWire with necessary adapters like FireWire to Thunderbolt, etc.
  3. To avoid interruptions like computer shutdown, make sure your Mac devices are fully charged.

Boot Unbootable Mac From Another Mac to Recover Files:

Step1: Connect your two Mac systems (unbootable Mac and bootable Mac) with the help of connecting cables. And also utilize adapters to connect your Mac if it is necessary.

Step2: Turn on your unbootable Mac, and hold T key on the keyboard to boot your unbootable Mac in Target disk mode.

Step3: To transfer or recover data from non-booting Mac to your bootable Mac system, wait until unbootable Mac appears on the working Mac as an external hard drive. 

(Note: Decrypt your Target drive (unbootable macOS) if it is protected with FileVault.) 

Step4: Now, turn on your working Mac (bootable Mac), and hold the Option key till the Mac drive appears as bootable.

Step5: Then select unbootable Mac which will make the working Mac as unbootable Mac.

Step6: Go to the Finder and unbootable Mac drive which is appeared as an external drive on your working Mac.

Step7: Select and copy the files which you would like to recover from unbootable Mac to the host or bootable Mac.

Step8: Eject the Mac drive after you complete transferring or recovering data from it.

Method 3: Booting Mac in Recovery Mode:

Follow the below steps to backup or recover files from unbootable Mac using Recovery mode (Disk Utility).

  1. Connect an external hard drive to your unbootable Mac.
  2. Restart your unbootable Mac and hold Command + R keys till you see the Apple logo.
  3. After OS X Utilities appears on the screen, select Disk Utility.
  4. Now, select the disk you want to recover or backup data from it (for example Macintosh HD, unless you renamed it).
  5. Then, select File and click New Image.
  6. Select Image from selected disk (Macintosh HD).
    (Note: You can change the name of your disk selected)
  7. Now, select your external drive > choose compressed format > click Save.
  8. After the recovery or backup process completes, you can find your unbootable Mac data on the external drive.

Note: The above method is performed on an OS X El Capitan interface, and the other OS X versions might differ slightly.


In case if your Mac is booting but the operating system is not loading, then this could be due to corrupt Mac drive which can be repaired running first aid from recovery mode. If not, then make use of the Remo Recover (Mac), which is trustworthy software to recover files from unbootable Mac and formatted or corrupted Mac drive. Remo Mac Data Recovery tool also supports data recovery from external hard drives like pen drive, SSD, memory cards, etc.

How to Recover Data From Unbootable Mac Computer? Expert Guide was last modified: October 29th, 2020 by John Harris

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