A sudden shutdown is something that every Mac user has faced at some point in their lives. Most of the time, it happens because of simple drainage of the battery or sudden power cut-off. Luckily, that doesn’t do much damage to your computer. However, it becomes a serious problem when your Mac suddenly powers off multiple times in a certain period, and you start losing data because of it. Now, fixing your Mac is easy. But getting the lost data is not an easy task. Therefore, in this article, we will show you four easy ways to recover files on Mac that were lost after a sudden shutdown. Let’s dive in.
Why Did My Mac Shut Down Unexpectedly?
macOS is one of the most secure and stable operating systems that millions of people use. However, no matter how reliable it is, this still doesn’t make it 100% immune from sudden shutdowns. That can lead to multiple significant headaches for Mac users. To prevent unexpected shutdowns, you need to understand what causes them in the first place. Here’s a list of possible occasions where your Mac might suddenly turn off:
- Internal storage media failure
- Power cut off
- Drained MacBook battery
- Obsolete operating system
- Hardware and peripheral issues
- System crashes
- Software issues
Why Did Files Disappear After a Sudden Shutdown?
When your Mac suddenly turns off, all the processes and updates suddenly come to a halt. That might lead to severe data loss, especially when you are in the process of an OS update, saving a file, or transferring data right before the sudden shutdown. Many of your files can suffer from file corruption. Alternatively, they can be wiped out from your Mac. In other cases, sudden power off can also lead to more severe cases such as hard disk drive damage or a decrease in overall system performance. But that is not what we are studying today. These are the most common reasons your files can go missing after a sudden shutdown:
- System file corruption
- Virus, malware, or ransomware attacks
- Software conflicts
- Human errors
- Unsaved files
- File transfer interruption
- Improperly installed macOS update
It’s undoubtedly pretty unsettling to lose important files after a sudden shutdown. But what’s done is done. Now, let’s take a look at the four methods to recover files on Mac you lost after the sudden shutdown:
1. Recover Files on Mac Using Trash Bin
Whenever you lose a file, you should check the Trash Bin first before looking elsewhere. The files that went missing after the sudden power off often move to the Trash Bin of your Mac. Every such file will remain in the Trash for 30 days before they get deleted permanently. Here’s how you can recover the lost files on Mac using Trash Bin after a sudden shutdown:
- Go to the “Dock” and click on the “Trash Bin” icon.
- Once the Trash Bin window opens, check if any of your missing files are available here.
- After you find a file you want to restore, right-click on the file and click on the “Put Back” option.
With this, the selected files should move back to their original locations before they were deleted. Try the next ways of recovery if you didn’t find the desired files in the Trash Bin.
2. Use iCloud to Recover Files on Mac
iCloud is an amazing cloud storage service from Apple that automatically backs up the files of your Mac as long as the automatic synchronization feature is activated. Many people manually back up their important files in iCloud at regular intervals to keep them safe. If you have the automatic sync feature on or you regularly backup your important files to iCloud, follow these instructions to restore your lost files:
- Go to the iCloud website and sign in using your Apple ID credentials.
- Now, navigate to Account Settings → Restore Files. A new window will show up displaying all the files available in iCloud.
- Next, check if the list has any files that you want to recover. Once you find such a file, select it and click on the “Restore” button.
Your chosen files will be downloaded back to your Mac.
3. Get Your Files Back with Mac’s Time Machine
Time Machine is a widely used backup solution that comes pre-installed with every single Mac. This application allows you to easily backup the whole Mac’s data (or a few select files—the choice depends on you) in a different storage media. Thus, if you have a Time Machine backup of your important files, follow these instructions to recover the deleted files on Mac:
- Connect the storage media, which contains the Time Machine backups, to your Mac.
- Next, click on the “Time Machine” icon on the “Menu bar,” and then click on the “Enter Time Machine” option.
- Once the Time Machine window opens, check the available backups and look for the files you want to recover.
- After you find a file you want to recover, select it, and click on the “Restore” option.
The selected files will be moved back to their original locations on your Mac.
4. Use a Data Restoration Application to Recover Files on Mac
If none of the methods that we have mentioned above works, it’s time to use a professional data recovery application to restore your lost files. While you can choose any data recovery application, it should fulfill these two conditions:
- It should come from a reputable data recovery company.
- Needs to have myriad positive reviews from its past users and data recovery experts
Please note that the application must be downloaded and installed in a separate storage media such as a flash drive instead of your Mac. Installing the data recovery app directly on your Mac might lead to serious data overwrite, minimizing your chances of retrieving the deleted files. As long as you satisfy these conditions, you can pick any professional data recovery application—most have a similar recovery process. Follow the instructions below to restore the missing files using a professional data recovery app:
- Connect the storage media containing the data recovery app to your Mac and launch it.
- Select the drive or folder where your missing files were located before deletion or corruption.
- Click the “Search for lost data” or “Scan” button to start the scanning process.
- Once the scan is complete, you can see a list of recoverable files. Find the files you want to recover and select them all.
- Now, click on the “Recover” button.
- Select a location on your Mac to download these files and click on the “OK” button.
The selected files will be downloaded to your chosen folder.