Recover Data from an APFS Formatted Hard Drive on macOS Big Sur or Catalina

Updated on August 25th, 2021

Rohit Arora

Summary: In this blog, you will find an excellent solution to overcome data loss on APFS.

You might be wondering whether APFS data recovery is possible. Trust us, you can recover deleted data, formatted APFS storage media, and partition easily. How?

Get started with the free trial of Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac.

Recover Data from an APFS Formatted Hard Drive on macOS Big Sur or Catalina

APFS Data Recovery on macOS Big Sur, Catalina, and Mojave

We heard about APFS file system during the launch of OS X El Capitan, Sierra but APFS made it much-awaited inclusion in macOS High Sierra 10.13. In the Mojave/High Sierra Disk Utility, you have the option to format your (internal/external) hard drive with APFS file system. APFS file system has its own advantages & disadvantages.

Data Recovery on APFS SSD or Hard Drive

Data recovery through Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac is always easy but APFS is a new file system supported by macOS Big Sur, Catalina, and Mojave, so let’s see how this software performs on APFS.

Step 1. Download and install the software on your Mac.

install Stellar Data Recovery

Step 2.  Make the selection of data types you wish to restore. You can Toggle On & Off amongst – Audio, Video, Photos, Documents & Emails. Click Next to move to the subsequent software window.

Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac

Step 3. Here, select your APFS USB or APFS hard drive from the list of all available devices. Note: On clicking the Scan button after choosing APFS storage drive; the software will switch to Deep Scan automatically.  Alternatively, you can manually Toggle ON Deep Scan for the APFS storage media.

Select Location - Professional

Step 4. The APFS file recovery software scans the APFS USB media thoroughly and updates you on the scanning progress.

scan in progress

Shortly, the scan gets completed.

APFS drive recovery
APFS SSD recovery

Step 5. The APFS data recovery software lists all the recoverable data through Classic, File or Deleted List.

Step 6. Preview the files recovered by the software from the APFS drive.

Preview - Professional

Step 7. You can save the recovered files to an external drive after registering the APFS data recovery application.

save files to location

Summing Up

So it is proved that Data recovery on Mac’s APFS file system is possible with the help of best Mac data recovery software. Further, the software can restore lost & deleted data from an HFS, HFS+, HFS Wrapper, NTFS, FAT & ex-FAT.

About The Author


Vishal is a data recovery expert @Stellar. He addresses data loss scenarios on a Mac. He intends to help people solve their macOS problems. Besides, Vishal prefers to read about astronomy and autobiography, and his favorite is Steve Jobs - The man who thought different written by Karen Bluementhal. 

Best Selling Products

Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Windows

Stellar Data Recovery has the right Windows Recovery tool for all your data recovery Read More

Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac

Stellar Data Recovery for Mac program performs safe.. Read More

Stellar Photo Recovery

A comprehensive photo recovery software to restore photos, music & video files Read More

Stellar Repair for Video

Powerful video repair tool for repairing corrupt or damaged MOV and other video files Read More

  1. Hello,
    trying to recover .pptx-files deleted from trash on internal APFS solid drive (unencrypted, Mojave)
    the deep scan shows not even the “USERS”-folder only items on system, library and usr are shown to recover.
    What could have been gone wrong?
    thanks – Chris

    1. Hi Chris,
      Please restart the system and perform the scan again. Our application reads the sector of the drive and whatever files it will find it will list them inside it. Thanks

  2. every time I try to scan my APFS Macintosh HD, software asks for password to unlock encrypted volume. After I provide password, it never unlocks ability to scan that volume. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hello Walter,

      We would like to inform you that if our software is asking password to scan the volume, it means the drive is encrypted and password protected.

      You need to enter the correct password to decrypt the drive and process the scanning through our software. Also, confirm us whether the drive is password protected by File Vault

    2. Did u find a solution for this? I have the same problem with Mojave 10.14.4 – it keeps asking for the password – I enter the admin password which should be fine because my FileVault says also that the system disk is unlocked – and that’s what I need to scan

      1. Hello Martin,
        I recommend you to get in touch with Apple Support as it is resolvable by them only.

  3. Recently while using this data recovery mac software I struck with the scanning of drive, the technical support team really shows some amazing skills which actually increase my trust to the Brand.

  4. In the process of upgrading Mac with High Sierra, I accidentally choose the original HDD to format as APFS instead of new SSD. Unfortunately, there is no backup of original SSD. Please advice me how to recover maximum possible data from the drive and how to put original HDD back to previous state?

    1. Hey Elle,
      Yes, you can but you should not with High Sierra, there is a serious problem most of the people not know. In my Opinion, you should avoid APFS on external drives.

  5. I agree with your blog! Should I install new clean High Sierra without doing a backup file on APFS Formatted Hard Drive?

  6. I agree with your blog! macOS high sierra converts the file system on devices with all-flash storage to APFS, but fusion drives are not. Thanks for sharing such a knowledgeable Information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5  +  2  =  

Related Posts