You were working on important files you have accidentally overwritten, and now you don’t know how to recover them to a previous version? You’re not alone. Nearly everyone has been through this, and it’s equally frustrating every time it happens. Whether because of an accident or some other errors, getting losing files can spell disaster. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to recover the overwritten files on Mac. In this article, we will show you four ways to rescue any file you overwrote on Mac. Let’s not waste any more time and dive in.
1. Use Time Machine to Recover Overwritten Files on Mac
If you’re following the best data safety practices, you must be performing regular backups of your Mac’s data at regular intervals. Time Machine is a built-in Mac app that allows you to protect your data by creating native backups and recovering them when necessary. Therefore, as long as the files from your last Time Machine backup weren’t overwritten, you can quickly restore them using this application. Here’s how you can do it:
- Plug in the storage media that holds your Mac’s Time Machine backup files.
- Next, once the storage media is connected, navigate to the folder that holds the backup file you want to bring back to your Mac.
- Now, go to the “Menu bar” and click on the “Time Machine” icon.
- After that, click on the “Enter Time Machine” option.
- Next, use the timeline that is located at the edge of your screen to locate the items and files you want to restore.
- Once you find the files you were looking for, click on them.
- Now, click on the “Restore” button to recover the selected files back to your Mac.
2. Restore Overwritten Mac Files via iCloud Backups
Although Time Machine is a great backup and restoration tool, many Mac users prefer to back up their important files in Apple’s online cloud storage, iCloud. Thus, if you regularly back up your files on the iCloud, you can use it to restore the overwritten files back to your Mac. Here’s what to do:
- Go to the iCloud sign-in page and log in using your Apple ID credentials.
- Once you sign in successfully, click on the “Settings” option.
- Now, click on the “Restore Files” option located under the “Advanced” tab of the iCloud Settings.
- Next, find the files that you want to restore and select them by checking the boxes located on the left side of their names.
- Click on the “Restore Files” option to get the files back to your Mac again.
3. Recover Files You Overwrote on Mac from the Apps
Many popular spreadsheet or word processing applications come with a built-in feature that helps you restore files you wrote over. For example, Apple’s own word processing and spreadsheet apps, Pages and Numbers, allow you to restore the current files to the previous versions. This feature is very helpful in recovering data right within the app without any extra work. Follow these steps to do it within Pages and Numbers:
- Click on the “File” menu in the Pages or Numbers application.
- Now, click on the “Revert To” option.
- Next, look for the version of the file that you want to restore.
- Once you find the desired version, click on it, and then click on the “Restore” option. Now, your selected version will be restored.
Using Microsoft Office for your word processing and spreadsheet needs on your Mac? No problem. Here’s how you can restore an overwritten file on Mac if you use Microsoft Office:
- Open the overwritten file that you want to recover.
- If you’re using Microsoft Office 365, click on the name of the file on the title bar and then click on the “Browse Version History.” If you’re using Microsoft Office 2016 or 2019, just navigate to File > Browse Version History.
- Now, select the version you’re looking for. The selected version will open with a Window. Save this version of the file with a new name. There it is, you have recovered the overwritten file.
Now, the other Mac apps might or might not have similar features to revert the files back to a version before it was overwritten. However, if this method is possible to apply to the other apps is now subject to experimentation.
4. Use Mac Data Recovery Software to Restore Overwritten Files
At this point, we concluded you don’t have a backup of your overwritten files and the Mac application also doesn’t have a feature to revert the overwritten file to its previous version. If that’s the case, the methods above have no merit. But it doesn’t mean that there are no other options. Although the chances of recovery are very slim, you can use third-party data recovery software from a reputable company to try to get your files back.
Please remember to make sure that the data restoration software of your choice has positive reviews and comes from a well-known data recovery company that has a high success rate. Now, since most professional data recovery apps for Mac have a similar user interface and restoration process, you can follow these general instructions to recover the overwritten files on Mac:
- Download and install the professional data rescue software of your choice. We recommend you do so in a separate storage media to prevent further data overwrite. Unless you have no other choice, always avoid downloading the software to the same storage media that stored the file which you wish to recover.
- If you have installed the application on a separate storage media, connect it to your Mac and launch the data retrieval application. If you have installed it on your Mac, just launch it directly on your Mac.
- Once you open the application, select the disks that hold (or previously held) the files you want to recover.
- Now, click on the “Search for lost data” or the “Scan” button to start the scanning process.
- Once the scan is complete, you will be able to see a list of recoverable files. You can filter them by file types to narrow down your search.
- Now, look for the files you want to recover and once you find them, click on the files to select them.
- Now, click on the “Recover” option.
- After that, select a location where you would like to store them. We recommend you to select a different location different from their original location.
- Now, click on the “OK” button.
Congratulations! Your chosen files will now be downloaded to the location you have selected.