I accidentally formatted an external drive that was APFS encrypted. The new format is also APFS (Encrypted).

Is there any way to restore the formatted data from the old encrypted drive? I know the password for the old encryption and for the new one.

  • 1
    I'd say no. The encryption keys will have been deleted: the password only serves to unlock the key. I see you've tagged "backup", but I'm guessing there isn't one?
    – benwiggy
    Dec 25, 2022 at 14:49
  • You're right, there wasn't a backup because (thankfully) it contained non-critical data (which I still would have preferred not to lose). I have no idea why I tagged this with backup
    – Oion Akif
    Dec 27, 2022 at 23:57

2 Answers 2


If the content of the APFS volume still exists, then recovery is possible.

However, if wipe was used to reformat the disk the header keys are destroyed, as such recovery is not possible.

If the APFS was for a time machine backup and was simply deleted, then something like EaseUS is a possibility.


You can try 2 programs, they have paid versions and trials, I have had luck with EaseUS.



Normally if the drive isn’t encrypted, it will do a scan and recover any files that haven’t been overwritten yet.

If you ever accidentally reformat a drive, just shut it down and don’t use it Until you can run a program like this, because if you use it chances are you will start overwriting the old data.

In your case, there should be an option to decrypt the drive once it does a scan.

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