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You’ve Lost a File, Now What?

  1. Sim Card Reader

Nothing can make you feel more helpless than trying to rescue a file from a failing PC, Mac, or external drive. Maybe it’s the trove of family photos that suddenly can’t be found in its folder, or the important documents you scanned and saved as PDFs to a now-failing hard drive. Whatever the case, you’ll do anything — anything — to get those files back. Relax; you don’t have to offer up your firstborn or a kidney to do so. A Data recovery utility may be just the solution you need to get you out of the pickle you find yourself in.

What Can Data Recovery Software Can Do?

Data recovery software can be almost miraculously useful in some situations, and entirely useless in others. The best of the file-recovery apps that we reviewed make it effortless to recover files from traditional spinning hard drives, flash drives, SD cards, and other forms of portable storage, including your phone. They can also retrieve some or all of the data that you otherwise can’t access on a failing CD or DVD disk. What they can’t do — because no consumer-level software can do it — is recover a file that you deleted from the solid-state drive (SSD) that’s probably in your laptop if you bought it in the past year or so, and possibly in your desktop if it’s also of recent vintage. For SSD data recovery, you’ll need to send your disk to a recovery lab; more on that below. Many of the apps we reviewed have both Windows and Mac versions, and they may be priced slightly differently.

Where data recovery software is most useful is when you mistakenly formatted a thumb drive or a media card without remembering to grab the files already stored there, or if you mistakenly deleted files from your phone. This is the kind of mishap that can happen to anyone. Advanced users often get overeager about emptying the Recycle Bin, and want to get back files they didn’t intend to delete forever. If you’re using a traditional spinning hard drive, the best recovery software can restore those lost files. A few advanced users — you know who you are — have even deleted whole disk partitions by mistake when performing housekeeping on their hard disks. Again, with a traditional spinning hard drive, recovery software can bring it back in one piece.

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All these apps offer to recover lost or deleted files. Some include the ability to make a disk image (or full clone) of a drive so that you can try to recover files from the image or clone instead of from the disk itself. This is an essential feature if you’re trying to recover files from a disk that’s physically failing, and may continue to fail if your recovery software keeps trying to read from it.

Some data recovery apps also include the opposite of file recovery — permanent file deletion. When you want to make sure that no one can retrieve your data, you can tell these apps to overwrite the data with enough random bytes to make the original data unreadable. Keep in mind that government agencies have tools that can retrieve data from almost anything, but these apps make it impractical even for expert thieves to recover private information from stolen or discarded disk drives.

Where Software Fails, Labs May Succeed

Several of the data recovery apps we reviewed come from companies that offer laboratory-based data recovery services — always at a high price. If you can’t recover data from your drive with an app, then you can consider getting it recovered by an in-lab service. All of these services claim to recover data even from SSDs. We haven’t tested these claims, but all these services won’t charge you unless they actually retrieve your data, so it may be worth looking into them in case of real emergencies. Those services — Kroll, Prosoft, and Seagate — that offer mail-in recovery labs are noted in the table above, and you can read about the details of the particular offerings in the full reviews of those services.

A Caveat About SSDs

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One failing that bothered us in all these apps — including our top picks — is that they didn’t even warn us that we couldn’t recover files from an SSD. It’s easy for an app to tell whether a drive uses spinning-platter or SSD technology, and easy to tell whether TRIM technology is active in a drive. All of the software we reviewed, both on the Mac and PC, misleadingly told us that they were able to recover deleted files from SSDs — and then disappointed us by providing corrupt and unusable files instead of the ones we wanted. We hope that the next generation of data recovery software is redesigned to make it clear that we can’t hope for file recovery on SSDs unless the deleted files are safely in the Recycle Bin — where, of course, they’re easy to find without using recovery software.

The reason that data recovery software can’t recover data from SSDs is simple. Virtually all current SSDs use so-called TRIM technology that increases efficiency and disk life by clearing disk sectors that are not being used. One result of this is that the data can’t be recovered by software, even if the file system retains its record of the sectors where the data used to be. With traditional spinning hard drives and USB flash drives, file recovery is relatively simple. Recovery software can find the location of a file’s data even if you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin, often even if you’ve reformatted the disk. But once a file is deleted from an SSD, and the Recycle Bin has been emptied, there’s no hope of ever getting that file back again, unless you have a backup somewhere.

Which Data Recovery Software Do You Need?

We found two Editors’ Choice data recovery apps for Windows: Kroll Ontrack EasyRecovery and Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery. Ontrack was the best performer in our tests, very slightly outclassing Stellar Phoenix in the number of files it recovered, but Stellar Phoenix has by far the best interface of anything we tried. On the Mac side Alsoft DiskWarrior is an Editors’ Choice, for its ability to rebuild entire Mac directories. Prosoft Data Rescue is an excellent choice for getting back the odd document or spreadsheet that you accidentally deleted from your Mac.

Lost data can cause financial problems and emotional heartache. You probably have hundreds of photos and sound files that you can’t bear to lose. A reliable backup system is the best option, but data recovery software is the second-best, and sometimes the only, choice available. Look into our suggestions now, so you’ll be ready if disaster strikes.

Once you’ve got your files back, you’ll want to regularly back up your work. Our roundups of the Best External Hard Drives, the Best Backup Software, and the Best Cloud Backup Services are good places to start.

Best Data Recovery Software Featured in This Roundup:

  • Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Review

All of a sudden My iPhone reset itself, and I lost all my data on it! Wanna use a program to get my photos and my text messages back? But so many data recovery apps for iPhone, how can I choose a capable one?

Some of you may have lost essential data due to iPhone lost/stolen, accidental deletion or other causes. It’s necessary to get back them using some professional program. But there are so many recovery programs, how to pick the best one from hundreds?

Everyone has their own standards on what’s the best iPhone data recovery software, so do we. After a long-term test and collecting customers’ views, we summarized the standards, did a comparison chart of most popular apps, and finally picked out this top list.

1. PhoneRescue for iOS

According to the test result, PhoneRescue for iOS is the most comprehensive solution among all those phone recovery programs. It can help get back data in most data loss scenarios, e.g. mistaken deletion, factory reset, software update failure, etc.

It has been upgraded to the version 3.7.2. By uplifting technical to a new standard, now the new version is able to retrieve up to 31 file types, which is far more than the most tool in the market. Till now, this app has already helped millions of users around the world.

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  • Find back up to 31 types of iOS files, covering messages, photos, contacts as well as other frequently used iOS contents.


  • You have to pay for it to recover the data back to your iOS device.

Video Tutorial:

Below is a tutorial for you to know how this program work to recover data and files.

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2. Wondershare Dr.Fone (Recovery)

Dr.Fone developed by Wondershare, with the similar nature and feature. It is great for recovering deleted content from both iOS and Android mobile phones. It goes to work immediately when there is the problem: connect your phone to the computer, open Dr.Fone, and with a few clicks, users can scan their mobile phone and instantly see what information is recoverable and then restore it.

Best iPhone Data Recovery Software — Dr.Fone for iOS


  • It supports all old and latest iOS devices.


  • A little expensive.

More Info:

  • Installs: around 153 million users.

3. Enigma Recovery

If you have accidentally lost or deleted an important document from your iOS device, the Enigma Recovery software is also a safe and ideal solution for you. With it, you can preview existing contents on your device, iTunes or iCloud backup. This is quite useful if you have lost your device and need access to the data on your backup file.


  • Clear UI design and friendly user experience.


  • Import restored content back to the device require another iOS app.

More Info:

  • Downloads: around 92 thousand times.

4. Primo iPhone Data Recovery

Primo iPhone Data Recovery is made to orchestrate your files disaster retrieval plan with a super easy process. This newly released recovery tool gives great support to recover up to 25 types of content: SMS/iMessages, Notes, Contacts, Call History, Photos, Reminders, etc. It also provides three recover modes so no matter you have a backup or not you can get back deleted iOS favorites as you need.

PrimoSync iPhone Data Recovery Review


  • Supports a wide range of files types: media files, personal & media document.


  • Does not support Viber and SnapChat restoration tool.

More Info:

  • Installs: up to 20 thousand times.

5. EaseUS MobiSaver

EaseUS MobiSaver is a good application if data loss issues happened with your iPhone. This app enables you to retrieve information only from your backup file. You can choose any type of information you want to take back: photos, songs, contacts, messages, reminders and notes, and so on. But it might not be perfect as various problems you might encounter along the way. One problem is that even the computer OS recognizes the gadget, the free program refused to see it. The problem persisted for several minutes at our test, without performing any setting changes.


  • Simple restoration tool for all of you.


  • Not always able to retrieve lost data.

More Info:

  • Downloads: about 6 millions times.

6. iSkysoft Data Recovery

iSkysoft data recovery seems like a good saver that enables you to recover iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch content lost in different scenarios. Including accidental deletion, device stolen, locked out of the device and file lost from factory reset, system crash, water damaged device and more. You can free download this software to preview these data you lost. After updating to the full version, you are possible to restore 20+ types of contents in total.

iSkysoft iOS Data Recovery


  • Users are allowed to preview some iOS data before updating to the paid version.

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  • Software crash occurred at some times.

More Info:

  • Installs: More than 4.2 million users.

7. Gihosoft iPhone Data Recovery

Gihosoft is a powerful and user-friendly software that can help you retrieve various types of contents, including contacts, SMS, photos, WhatsApp, Viber, notes, etc. It ensures you recover most of your lost data due to iOS upgrade/jailbreak, accidental deletion, device lost or broken. The easy-to-use interface is also designed to guide its computer users to correctly find the desired features.


  • Recover Photos and Videos (including Camera Roll and Photo Stream).


  • Supporting file types are very limited. Just up to 12 different types of data can you get back.

More Info:

  • Installs: More than 6.7 million users.

8. Tenorshare UltData

As the last tool, UltData is still popular for Mac and Windows users. No matter what scenarios that cause your content loss, such as mistaken deletion, update to the latest system, factory reset, etc., its 3 retrieval modes will help you retrieve almost essential content for you. In addition, with Tenoshare UltData owns the advanced technology that let you to selectively recover files from iOS devices, iTunes and iCloud backup.

TenorShare UltData


  • With its free trial, users are allowed to preview some of your content.

Android Text Message Recovery Software


  • Software crash occurred at some times.

More Info:

  • Users: More than 2. 5 million.

Comparison Chart of These Most Popular Softwares

For a clear comparison, we installed the latest version of these iOS restoration tools and tested them to recover deleted SMS, contacts, photos, and videos from an iPhone 8 plus on this April. And below are 5 programs detailed review information.

PhoneRescue for iOSDr.Fone ( Recovery)Enigma RecoveryPrimo iPhone Data RecoveryEasyUS MobiSaverRecover from iDeviceRecover from iTunesRecover from iCloudSelectively ScanningTime Consuming40 seconds2 minutes40 seconds2 minutes6 minutesAttachments RecoveryData ComparisonRecover back to iPhoneiOS System RepairCost$49.99$69.95$59.99$39.99$69.95Reviews (Ratings)AvailabilityFree Trial

How to Choose The Best iOS Recovery Software

Files getting back process is a process of salvaging inaccessible contents from corrupted, damaged or lost iPhone device. Normally people can get reliable data recovery service from an expert or an app. But most of the people would like to try an easy-to-use program before seeking help from the expensive retrieval service nearby.

1. Basic knowledge of the data retrieval apps for iPhone?

It usually provides you with three modes to retrieve what you’ve lost, including recovering from your device, from iTunes backup, and from iCloud backup. The recovery can be processed even your mobile phone is lost, as long as the iTunes or iCloud backup has been taking in place prior to the inaccessibility of the device. Besides, some high-quality recover programs are capable of repairing common system issues.

Best Text Message Recovery Software For Mac

There are many specific categories of iPhone retrieval software such as photo recovery software, iMessage recovering apps, contact restoration apps, etc.

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2. The standards of the best file recovery app for iPhone?

Our principles of defining what is the TOP data saver app are as the same as how you’d like to recover the items in your lost handset. Before starting, you’d better clearly understand WHERE have you lost the content from? HOW did you lose them? WHAT types would you like to recover?

Criterion 1. Compatibility

For the first question: WHERE have you lost your iOS content, from an old iPhone 5s/6/7/8/X, or a new XS/XR? As Apple mobile product line covers over 10+ models, the first criterion we have chosen is the compatibility. One good program should be capable of supporting all existing mobile device models and popular iOS versions like version 11/12.

Criterion 2. Operation Methods

For the second question: HOW did you lose your items in your cellphone, mistaken deletion? The device is lost or badly damaged? Do iOS get stuck? Studies show hardware/software failure and human error are the two most common causes of your content loss, but a different type of information disaster requires corresponding methods.

Therefore, the second criterion is methods. The top program should have methods to recover in various situations. And most apps have some adopted cellphone file recovery approaches like recovering from the device, from iTunes backup, and from iCloud backup. And some apps can fix any issues or get back these lost documents from broken or water-damaged.

Criterion 3. Program Capability

No matter how hard you’ve tried to recover your lost iPhone items, you still have the chance that you’ll lose them forever. So the third question, WHAT types of phone content would you like to recover? Actually, this is the most crucial standard to justify if your items restoration tool is qualified. All candidates listed below support a wild range of data recovery file types.

Frequently Asked Questions about iPhone Recovery Software

We’ll collect some frequently asked questions about this topic online, as well as shared some ideas on these questions.

Question 1. Is there any free data rescue software?

We’ve reviewed all these apps, and found all of them offer free trial versions for limited use. And when users are going to recover lost data, they will charge a fee. So there is no free app in fact.

Question 2. Is there any cracked file recovery app for iPhone?

There are some cracked versions for these apps we’ve found. But it may be not secure and safe. The virus and malicious programs may be injected into these cracked files and do harm to your device, and even steal your private information.

Question 3.Is it possible to recover my data without backup?

Yes, most of the recover apps are able to recover lost content without using any backup. They will scan the device to find those items that lost but still stored on your device. Therefore, you may get back your lost items even when you have no backup available.

Question 4. Does any app support recovering data without a computer?

Some users would like to use the iOS-based app to recover those lost items from the iPhone. But as we tested, most of these apps won’t get back deleted parts, and most of them require you to use its desktop app to do the work.

The Bottom Line

Besides the apps we mentioned above, there are some other similar apps like iMyFone, FonePaw, Jihosoft, FoneLab, etc. Since they have the same features, we just reviewed some top ones above. If you are interested in these apps, you can have a try.

As the frequency of iOS item loss is increasing, it’s suggested to consider taking proper precautions to decrease the cost and impact of items loss. A regular iPhone backup plan with iTunes and iCloud is always welcome. Meanwhile, to increase your chances of recovering what you need, you’d better stop using your device until your lost content get recovered, as this will lower the chance of overwriting data on your phone disk.

Anyway, if ‘disaster’ happens, have a try with the iPhone recovery solutions mentioned above to get back your lost data.

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