How to Recover Deleted Files From Mac Trash? Complete Guide

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In this article, find various methods to know how to recover data from Mac Trash. You can use Mac Terminal to recover deleted files from Mac Trash or also a get quick and effective method to recover emptied Trash files using Mac data recovery software. Download now!

A Mac user might be familiar with the Trash Bin, which is designed for the temporary storage of recently deleted files on Mac. The first place you’ll look to recover accidentally deleted files on your Mac device is in the Trash.

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Recovering deleted files from Trash on Mac is as simple as performing Recycle Bin recovery on Windows. Whenever you delete a file on Mac, it is moved to the Trash. Therefore, this is the place from where you can restore your deleted data on Mac.

However, many users have a habit of emptying the Trash or permanently deleting files using the “Command + Option + Delete” keys. Using these keys wouldn’t save files to Trash and it leads to permanent deletion.

Fact: Annually around 32% of Mac users encounter data loss.

Usually, you can admit to two scenarios when you’re trying to recover deleted files from Trash:

  • Recover deleted files from Trash on Mac.
  • Recover data from Emptied Trash.

Caution: To successfully recover all deleted files from Trash you must stop using your computer until you recover deleted files from Trash.

How To Recover Deleted Files from Trash on Mac?

Mac system temporarily stores the deleted files in the Trash before permanently deleting them or emptying the Trash. You can recover Mac Trash using the Put-Back option.

  • To recover files from the Trash in Mac, Open the Trash Folder and select the files you want to recover. Right-click on the files or use Control + Click which will give you the options.
  • Select the Putback option to restore the files from mac trash.

However, by default, the time period of the file in the Mac Trash folder is about 30 days (customizable). The files that exceed 30 days span, are permanently deleted. 

For further explanation on how to recover data from emptied Mac Trash please move to the next section of the article.

Fact: 11% of data loss happens due to human errors.

Can I recover permanently deleted files from Mac without the Software?

Yes, you can recover data from a Mac trash can using the Terminal. The Terminal is a command-line interface that allows users to undo the emptying of the mac trash. 

However, using this process you can only recover one file at a time. You also need to enter the exact file name. If the file name is wrong, you can’t recover the file.

Let us know the steps to recover permanently deleted files without software:

  • Go to Utilities and double-click on the Terminal.

using terminal to recover emptied mac trash

  • Type “cd trash” and press enter 
  • Next type mv (filename) and press Enter (remember that the file name should be exact including the extension)
  • Exit the Terminal and check whether the file is recovered or not.

Bonus Tip: With Remo Recover you can recover data from trash, you also retrieve disappeared desktop files on Mac.

How to use Time Machine Backup to recover deleted files from Mac Trash?

You can also use the Time Machine Backup on Mac to recover the data from emptied trash. However, time machine backup only works if there is an existing backup file. Without a backup file, you cannot recover data from emptied Mac trash.

using time machine backup to recover data from mac trash

Nevertheless, to avoid data loss situations, make use of “Time Machine backup” to set up a regular backup of important files.

How To Recover Emptied Mac Trash?

To recover deleted files or recover deleted photos on Mac Trash you need the help of suitable Mac Recovery software such as Remo Mac Data Recovery software. Click on the download button to start recovering data from emptied Mac trash.

Remo Mac data recovery software is a professional tool that can scan and scavenge the Mac storage sectors and undo emptied Mac trash.

It is suitable for macOS Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, etc. Remo Recover is one of the best apps to recover data from Mac that works seamlessly. It also is compatible with all Mac devices. Download now!


Disclaimer: Do not install Mac Trash Recovery software on the same drive where the deleted files used to exist.

Steps to recover emptied Mac Trash files:

Note: Please turn off your System Integrity Protection on Mac to install the tool. Here's how you can do it How to enable or disable SIP on Mac?

  • Download and install Remo Mac data recovery software. Launch the software and select the “Recover Files option

  • In the next screen, select Recover Deleted Files option. This will load the volumes available on the Mac.

recover mac trash files

  • Select the volume and click on the Next button to initiate a scan.

select drive while recovering files from mac trash

  • After scanning the drive software will display the recovered files from emptied trash on Mac.

files recovered from mac trash can

  • Select the files and click on save to complete recovering data from emptied Mac Trash.

Quick Note: Remo Mac Data Recovery tool recovers deleted files from SD card on Mac that are not available on Trash. Moreover, this tool also supports data recovery from various file systems like exFAT, APFS, HFS, HFS+, etc


When files are deleted from Trash they become hidden and inaccessible the recovery process becomes extremely complicated for a normal user.

To make the entire Mac trash recovery process simple use the Mac Data Recovery tool. It is designed with a simple user interface. So that even a novice user can restore data from the Mac Trash folder. 

We have tried to cover manual methods such as Time Machine Backup and steps to recover files using the help of Terminal. Choose the best one and let us know which method helped you recover files from Trash on Mac, in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How to undelete files from Trash to original locations?

It's simple to restore files from Trash to their original locations. This is what you must do:

  • On your Mac, go to Trash.
  • Choose the files you want to restore.
  • Right-click on the file or folder you want to recover from your trash, then select Recover from Trash.
  • To restore files, use the 'Put Back' option.

2. How can I recover permanently deleted files from Trash without the software?

Time Machine is the simplest approach to restore deleted files from Trash without using any additional software. This method, however, has one drawback: it will only work if you have a Time Machine backup of the deleted files.

Here's how to use Time Machine to restore permanently deleted files from your Mac's Trash:

  • Connect your Mac to the drive that contains your Time Machine backup.
  • On the menu at the top of the screen, select Time Machine. Enter the Time Machine option.
  • To go through your backup versions, use the timeline on the right side of the screen. Then look for the files you require.
  • Select the files you want to recover and then click Restore.

3. Where do deleted files go after emptying Trash?

When you empty your Mac's Trash with deleted files, the operating system deletes any references to those files and makes them inaccessible to you. The content of the files, on the other hand, will remain on your hard drive until your Mac saves another file to the same spot.

So, unless the files are replaced with new data, they don't go anywhere.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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One comment

  1. Great information you have shared. I read you post and it’s really very amazing and it’s very helpful. Thank you for sharing.

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