Your Mac is at the centre of your digital universe. On it you might have memories in the form of photographs and videos, and old emails from friends and family you no longer see. You could have spent hours importing your entire CD collection. You may also have important documents, such as presentations and work files, the household accounts, or assignments from school or college.

If for any reason you lost one or more of these files, replacing it could be at the worst devastatingly impossible and the very least time consuming. That’s why we always encourage our readers to back-up their Macs.

Luckily, Apple makes backing up your Mac relatively easy. You can just plug in external storage and use Apple’s Time Machine software to keep a copy of everything on your Mac. One of the benefits of Time Machine is that it keeps hourly, daily, weekly and monthly backups, so you can recover specific versions of your documents at any point in time. Even if you don’t have external storage, Time Machine can save snapshots of the files you are working on to your Mac’s internal storage, so that you can recover the data from an earlier version if you accidentally delete a section of a document.

However, relying on the storage in your Mac or an external hard drive to keep your files safe, especially those that would be impossible to replace, is not wise. You might forget to keep your Time Machine backup plugged into your Mac so that backups don’t happen. Alternatively, the drive itself could become corrupted. In the worst-case scenario, your Mac might fail with no backup available and you could lose everything.

If you have a new Mac you might think that there’s little chance that the drive will fail any time soon, but there are other ways that you could lose your important data.

Data disasters and how to avoid the

Perhaps you were running out of storage space on your Mac and deleted some files, only to realise that amid the junk files was important data - a realisation that hits after you have emptied the Trash.

Maybe you were being too clever for your own good and in a misguided attempt to partition your Mac you managed to format your drive without backing up first. This can be compounded by the fact that once you have formatted a drive it can be harder to recover the old data if the existing sectors have been overwritten.

Another outcome could be that you lose a partition that you have created, perhaps by deleting it, or because you made it too small. It can be really tricky to recover the data from a deleted Boot Camp partition, for example.

There are other situations that could result in lost data. Perhaps you installed a beta of macOS, only to find that your Mac won’t boot up. Or you might have attempted to update macOS but because storage space was limited, or something happened during the installation process, the update failed to install properly.

The other fate you might encounter, though rare on a Mac, is malware. If your data is overwritten or encrypted in the attack, then you may find it is practically impossible to recover.

Why Time Machine backups might not be enough

So, what do you do if one of the above scenarios strikes and you lose important data? If you need to recover your Mac to an earlier state, you can use the macOS Recovery utility to restore your operating system and reinstall your data from your Time Machine backup - assuming you have one. However, even if you have a Time Machine backup, you may not have everything you require backed up, or you may not be sure just how far back you need to go to recover what you need.

Sometimes the built-in Recovery utility just isn’t enough to address the data loss scenario you are facing, in which case, we advise that you turn to some advanced software that specialises in Mac data recovery such as Stellar Data Recovery.

What Stellar Data Recovery can do

Stellar Data Recovery can recover data from any internal or external storage devices, including corrupt or formatted hard drives. It can restore your accidentally deleted data, find data on corrupt and lost partitions, and recover encrypted and corrupt files.

It can even access data on inaccessible, unmounted or encrypted hard drives.

Data Recovery works with all Macs, is compatible with macOS Mojave and older versions of the Mac operating system and can recover data from Apple’s new file system (APFS) as well as HFS, HFS+, and NTFS.

There is a Premium version of the software that adds photo and video repair capabilities should your media files get corrupted.

How Stellar Data Recovery works

Stellar Data Recovery is easy to use thanks to its simple and user-friendly interface. The software works by first scanning your Mac completely. The scanning process is fast.

For very corrupt volumes it is desirable to run a Deep Scan for better recovery. A Deep Scan will look for traces of lost or deleted files.

If Stellar Data Recovery doesn’t find anything, there is a 30-days money back guarantee.

There is also a Clone Disk function that can create a replica of the affected drive so that data recovery can be attempted at a later stage if the health of the original drive is deteriorating.

Stellar has 25 years’ worth of experience in the field and provides 24-hour free technical support five days a week, so you should be in good hands.

Plus, it’s worth noting that Stellar also bundles a drive monitor to help you avoid data loss. The SMART drive monitor can monitor temperature, health, and other vital drive stats and warn you if your data is vulnerable.

Stellar Data Recovery costs £59.99/$79.99 excluding VAT for the professional version, or £79.99/$99.99 excluding VAT for the Premium version.