How to Recover Lost Data on a Mac (Without a Backup)

Did you know that about 73% of adults own a laptop or desktop computer? Many of those people are the proud owners of one of the many Macbook models and styles.

If you own one of these computers, then you know how scary it is to lose data. An event made even worse when you realize you haven’t backed anything up.

If you lost your data on your Macbook, you probably feel like your life is over. Don’t stress. You can easily recover lost data without a backup. If you want to learn how to do this, keep reading our guide for tips and tricks. 

Trash Bin

The first place you want to look for how to recover lost data on a mac is the trash bin. We have all accidentally right-clicked don something and hit delete.

That is why the trash bin is there! It acts as a middle man between you deleting a file and the file being gone forever. Most things on a MacBook that you delete will go straight to the trash bin.

This file looks like a wastebasket and is usually at the lower right-hand corner of your screen. Double click on it, and your files should be ready for recovery.

Keep in mind that if you empty the trash, those files are gone forever. The only way to get them back from that point is to have them backed up or stored in the cloud.

Undo Button

If you are typing in a word processor, it is easy to highlight a line of text and delete it. If this happens, don’t panic. Just hit the buttons Command + Z on your keyboard.

When you do this, you will see your writing pop back up on your screen. This method also works if you delete a file. That said, the Undo sequence will not reverse the effects of emptying your Macbook’s trash bin. 

Time Machine

Mac’s Time Machine option is a tool they use for OS document recovery and backup. All you have to do is set up Time Machine on your device. Once that’s done, you can manually implement backup or schedule backups that occur regularly on your computer.

Here is how to recover lost data with the time machine:

  1. Open the Finder icon on your Mac
  2. Go to the folder where you deleted the file or document
  3. Open either Launchpad or System Preferences and click Time Machine
  4. On the side, you will arrows that allow you to scroll your backups
  5. Pick which files you want to recover 

Once you do this, the files you restore will appear in folders where they were last.


iCloud is great if you have insufficient disk space to recover lost data. If you lose anything from the iCloud on your Macbook, you can recover it within the next 30 days. All you need to do is go to and add in your Apple ID. From there, you can open up the Recently Deleted tab and recover lost excel data or other files.  

More on How to Recover Lost Data

As you can tell, losing data that you haven’t backed up is not the end of the world. There are several strategies you can implement to get your critical documents and information back. Just remember to check the trash bin or hit undo.

If you enjoyed this article, and want more technological tips and tricks, check out the tech page on our blog today!