I recently updated to macOS Mojave. I was experimenting with the new desktop stack feature. Long story short, I ended up creating a folder on the dock and putting all the files from my desktop into it. When I did this all the files stayed on the desktop, so I deleted them (moved them to trash). When I saw that the files were no longer on my desktop, but were still in the folder in the dock, I emptied my trash. That's when I found out that the files in the folder on the dock must have just been symlinks because once the trash was emptied, so was the folder on my dock.

Uh oh, I just mistakenly deleted all the files that I had on my desktop.

I searched google and see that there are programs (not produced by Apple) I can install to recover these files. I'm wondering if there is a simple (command line) way I can recover these files or if there is an official application produced by Apple that I can install to recover them.

How can I recover files that were emptied from the trash?


1 Answer 1


There is not an official Apple product or command-line tool to undelete / recover in place these files short of Time Machine having made a copy to another volume or to a snapshot.

I have used Data Rescue in the past and would recommend it. There are many questions here covering how that works and their free support is amazing.

The most important thing is to stop using that computer as soon as possible once you verify if Time Machine has you covered, because all disk activity risks over-writing deleted files, reducing your chance to recover intact data from the free space.

This doesn't help your situation now because the data is already lost, but in the future you can use Time Machine.

Time Machine will backup files, even when the drive is not connected, so be sure to check in case you have a local snapshot you can recover.

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