How to Recover Deleted Files After Emptying the Trash on Mac [2024]?

2024-01-29 16:44:49
23410 views, 5 min read

Hi AnyRecover, is there a way to recover files after emptying the Trash on Mac? I manually emptied the Trash, but there is an important file I need. Please help!

Trash Bin on Mac is designed to temporarily hold deleted files, and you can put back the files from it shortly after deletion. But what if you have emptied the trash bin to free up some space, but later found some of the files deleted are useful? Well, we will tell you how to solve this problem with 4 simple methods.

Read through to figure out if undo empty trash on Mac is possible and how to recover deleted files from trash mac.

undo empty trash mac

Can I Recover Deleted Files from an Emptied Trash on Mac?

The simple answer to this question is Yes, with appropriate methods, you can restore deleted files from emptied trash bin on Mac. When your files are emptied from the trash bin on Mac, they are not immediately erased from the macOS system. Rather, they are temporarily stored in certain sectors of the hard drive, and the storage space it took will be marked as being available for use. In fact, your files remain retrievable until they have been overwritten by new data.

You will increase the chance of recovering deleted files from emptied trash by stopping taking any more move on the Trash bin. And it is recommended to undelete trash on Mac immediately after data loss.

How to Recover Deleted Files from an Emptied Trash on Mac?[4 Ways]

Method 1. Undo Empty Trash on Mac with AnyRecover - Without Backup

As we have said, the deleted files physically exist on the hard drive, but you cannot view them directly, instead, you need a professional Mac Data recovery program to access the emptied trash data and get them back for you. One of the best such software is AnyRecover for Mac.

Successful data recovery is based on advanced scanning algorithms and a superb personal recovery tool must be user-friendly as well as simple to use– AnyRecover for Mac satisfies these needs perfectly. Since its inception, AnyRecover has grown to be the favorite software in recovering lost data on Apple computers. Also, as an all-in-one data recovery expert, AnyRecover supports recovering data from Mac/Windows computers,iPhone/iPad devices, SD card, USD drive and more. There are several reasons why AnyRecover stands out:


AnyRecover Key features include:

  • Recover 1000+ types of files: Pictures, gifs, videos, documents, archives, emails and more.
  • It is perfectly compatible with all the latest Mac versions.
  • AnyRecover also restores deleted files from any storage medium like SD card, USB drive, external hard drive, and more.
  • Recover Mac files from different scenarios, including emptied trash,accidentally deletion,system crash,disk format and more.
  • 100% safe to recover deleted files on Mac: AnyRecover is highly recognized by leading media and guarantees 100% safety.

Simple Steps to Undo Empty Trash on Mac with Anyrecover

Step 1: Launch AnyRecover for Mac on your computer, and choose “Data Recovery”. Next, select "Recycle Bin" to scan deleted files.

recover emptied trash mac with AnyRecover

select location partition

Step 2: AnyRecover will perform a thorough scan on the emptied trash on Mac to search for deleted files, wait for the process to complete.

Scan the Location

Step 3: After the scanning process is completed, double-click on the files to preview it, then click "Recover" to restore the needed files from emptied trash.

Preview and Recover

How to Recover Emptied Trash on Mac with Video Guide:

recover trash mac with video guide

Method 2. Undo Empty Trash on Mac Using Time Machine Backup

Another way to recover Trash on Mac is to take advantage of the Time Machine backup disk. Time Machine is a built-in tool and allows you to restore files from emptied trash as well as macOS system when required.


This method requires that you have backed up the files with Time Machine before deleting it, if you don't have a backup, then Method 1 would be best for you.

Step 1. Turn on your Mac and connect your Time Machine backup disk to it.

Step 2. Open a window that once contained the deleted files.

Step 3. Launch Time on your Mac: Click on the icon on your menu bar and choose “Enter Time Machine”.

Step 4. Next, select the files that you wish to restore: you can use the timeline or the up and down arrows to look through.

Step 5. Find the file you need, press the Space Bar to preview it and then click on “Restore”.

restore files from emptied trash mac

Method 3. Undo Empty Trash on Mac from iClould Backup

If you prefer using backup tools like iClound for your Mac files, then you can use it to recover items from the emptied trash. Below, you will learn the detailed steps to restore emptied Trash on Mac using iCloud:

Step 1. Visit and sign in to your account.

Step 2. Click on the account icon and select iCloud Settings.

Step 3. Next navigate to the "Data Recovery" section and choose "Restore Files".

recover emptied trash mac from icloud

Step 4. Find the files you want to restore and check their boxes. To recover all files at once, use the "Select All" option.

Step 5. Click on Restore Files to initiate the recovery process from iCloud Backup.

Method 4. Undo Empty Trash on Mac Through Terminal

Undoing the "Empty Trash" action on Mac through Terminal involves a complicated process. Please be cautious and follow these steps carefully:

Step 1. Find Terminal in the "Utilities" folder within the "Applications" folder. Or use Spotlight (Cmd + Space, then type "Terminal") to search for and open it.

Step 2. In Terminal, enter the following command to move to the Trash directory:

recover empty trash on mac terminal step2

Step 3. To view the files that were deleted, you can use the "ls" command:

recover empty trash on mac terminal step3

Step 4. Review the list of files in the Trash and identify the ones you want to recover.

Step 5. To restore a specific file, use the mv command followed by the file name and the destination where you want to move it. For example:

recover empty trash on mac terminal step5

Replace "deleted_file.txt" with the actual file name and "~/Documents" with the destination path.

Step 6. If you want to restore all files, use the mv command with an asterisk (*) to represent all files:

recover empty trash on mac terminal step6

Method 5. Undo Empty Trash on Mac via External Drive Trash Bin

Recovering deleted files from an external drive's trash bin on a Mac is generally straightforward. Here's a simple guide:

Step 1. Connect your external drive to your Mac.

Step 2. Open a Finder window and navigate to your external drive.

Step 3. Look for a folder named "Trashes" or ".Trashes" on your external drive.

Step 4. Open the "Trashes" or ".Trashes" folder to find the trash bin specific to the external drive.

Step 5. Inside the trash bin, locate the files you want to recover. Drag the selected files out of the trash bin and place them in a desired location on your external drive.

Step 6. After recovering the files, you can choose to empty the trash bin to free up space on the external drive.

Tips to Empty Mac Trash without Data Loss

Emptying Mac Trash is very simple, but losing essential data is Here we have organized several tips to help you avoid data loss when emptying the Trash on Mac.

  • Check the Trash before emptying it. Before you click on the “Empty Trash” option, look through the files, and make sure there are no important files.

  • Take a backup. You can backup the files to a cloud drive or an external storage device in case you need them later.

  • Use “Secure Empty Trash” cautiously. Secure Empty Trash will erase your data forever and they cannot be recovered in anyways, which will keep data privacy, but you should make this move cautiously.

The Bottom Line

This article shows you how to retrieve deleted files from emptied Trash on Mac with 5 various methods easily.

If you have emptied the Trash with regret, free download AnyRecover for Mac to undo empty trash on mac. It is equipped with a high recovery rate and is a perfect tool for personal use. With this tool and simple steps, you will easily recover your emptied trash on Mac. Start a deep scan for free right now!

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Simon Marcus
Simon Marcus
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