Data Recovery

Test Case - Mac Data Recovery after Simple Format and Secure Wipe

Author: Santosh Kumar Gupta | Updated on October 12, 2020| Data Recovery | Hard Drive Recovery | 4 min read

Summary:  This post tests data recovery feasibility against different erasure methods. These test cases will help you understand the possibility of data recovery in such erasure scenarios on your Mac volume, thereby prevent permanent data loss. The software that was used in the test cases can be downloaded from here.

  1. Simple Erase Test Case
  2. Data Recovery after Simple Erase
  3. Secure Wipe Test Case
  4. Data Recovery after Secure Wipe
  5. Secure Erase Files on Mac

Simple Erase Test Case

I used my MacBook Pro and a Pen Drive for this test case. The Pen Drive contained some test data.

Drive Selection
Image: Pen Drive Containing Test Data

I opened Disk Utility, and from the sidebar, I selected the Pen Drive, then clicked the Erase tab. (Warning: Please don’t perform this action on your Mac volume unless you have backed up the data present on the volume.) Next, I entered all the information related to external drive erasure—Name, Format, and Scheme.

Drive Erase DetailsImage: Drive Erase Details - Name, Format, Scheme

Subsequently, I clicked the Erase button. Disk Utility erased my drive successfully. On the erase process complete message window, I clicked Done.

Drive Erase MessageImage: Erase Process Complete Message Window

Finally, I verified the erased Pen Drive and found it empty.

Data Recovery after Simple Erase

I tested the data recovery feasibility from the formatted Pen Drive using the well-known software, Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac, on my MacBook Pro.

Software InterfaceImage: Stellar Data Recovery Professional Software Interface

I selected the type of data present on my erased Pen Drive from the “Select What To Recover” screen, then I clicked Next. After that, I specified the Pen Drive from the “Select Location” screen. I found the “Deep Scan” option rather useful in severe data loss scenarios such as formatting, corruption, and inaccessibility. Since I formatted my Pen Drive, I turned on “Deep Scan,” then clicked Scan. The software performed the scanning process swiftly by dynamically fetching preview from the Mac storage drive.

ScanningImage: Scanning Process in Progress Window

After scanning for some time, the software found all the lost data from the erased Pen Drive and segregated them into three views.

Next, I navigated the tree nodes present on the sidebar and found the corresponding files on the right pane. I even double-clicked a few files to launch their preview. The software rendered the preview perfectly.

PreviewImage: Preview Window for a Selected File

Next, I selected all the items that I wished to recover, then clicked Recover. The software prompted me to specify a drive location to save the recoverable files. I chose a distinct drive location to avoid any overwriting. Finally, I clicked Browse and selected the external drive and clicked Save. The software could recover all my files from the erased drive.

Secure Wipe Test Case

In this test, I used the same Pen Drive on my MacBook Pro with test data. Next, I launched Disk Utility just as before. I selected the drive, then clicked the Erase tab. This time, I filled up all the erase information, then clicked the Security Options. In the Security Options dialog window, I found a slider that provides various erasure options, including advanced erasure algorithms in a specific number of passes. I moved the slider to the extreme right to choose the most secure erase option, then clicked OK.

Security OptionsImage: Disk Utility Security Options

Finally, I clicked the Erase button. Here, Disk Utility took comparatively more time to wipe my Pen Drive. And, similar to the previous test case, the drive was found to be empty.

Data Recovery after Secure Wipe

After the secure wipe operation on the test Pen Drive, I used the data recovery software for Mac to scan and recover my lost data from the drive in the same way as I did before. After the scan, I found that the software couldn’t find any data from the storage drive. So, the secure wipe operation worked in the case of my formatted pen drive.

Secure Erase RecoveryImage: No Recovery after Secure Erase

Secure Erase Files on Mac

I’ve used Disk Utility to wipe my Pen Drive securely and failed to recover data using the Stellar Data Recovery software. But Disk Utility didn’t have the provision to secure-erase some particular confidential files. BitRaser File Eraser for Mac allowed me to search and erase specific files. It even generates a certificate of erasure. Besides, the erased files can’t be recovered by any data recovery software. You can take the benefit from the software, as it is currently offered for a 30-day free trial with complete functionality.


The post was an eye-opener to most of you. Now you realized, you can’t recover data when you perform a secure wipe on your Mac storage drive by using Disk Utility or any secure wipe software. Secure wipe is useful if you are disposing of your Mac or Mac hard drive so that your data can’t be recovered even by an advanced Mac data recovery software. But when you are going to use the drive, a simple erase is all you need to do. In case you accidentally erase your Mac volume or drive, leverage a Mac data recovery software to recover your lost data from it.

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