Disk Drill for Mac Review – In a League of Its Own
Out of 5 Total Score
No. 1 Among all macOS solutions
With its modern user interface and a wealth of extra features, Disk Drill for Mac looks like a perfect data recovery application. But do its data recovery capabilities match the polished exterior? We are convinced they do.
Two for one. When you buy Disk Drill for Mac, you also unlock Disk Drill for Windows.
Abundance of extra utilities. Included with Disk Drill for Mac are many extra free utilities that greatly increase the value of the software.
Mount results as a virtual disk. The results of all scans can be mounted as a virtual disk and browsed using Finder.
File previews. The program can generate previews for all file formats supported by macOS.
Raw photo support. The raw image scanner is one of the best on the market because it can detect the largest number of raw file formats.
Multiple view options. There are 4 view options: files, files and icons, folders, and folders with icons.
Raw video support. Disk Drill for Mac excels at detecting professional raw video formats like Apple ProRes or Braw.
S.M.A.R.T. Can read and analyze S.M.A.R.T. data from all compatible devices, including spinning hard drives in older Macs as well as fast SSDs in M1 Macs.
Clever scan. The program does a great job of restoring the original structure of files and folders on FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, HFS+, and APFS partitions.
Mounting images. In certain scenarios, the program can mount even those disk images (.dmg and other supported formats) that can't be mounted by macOS itself.
No installation needed. It’s possible to launch Disk Drill without installation from macOS Recovery Mode.
Deep scan of T2\M1 devices. The program is able to scan system disks on devices with T2 and M1 processors.
Runs on M1. Disk Drill for Mac runs natively on M1 devices without Rosetta.
Mobile device recovery. This data recovery software can recover certain data on iOS and Android mobile devices, a capability that most competitors would usually branch out into a separate product.
Time Machine. The program can scan both local system snapshots as well as disks containing backups created by Time Machine.
Data protection. Disk Drill includes two additional modules to prevent data loss from occurring in the first place.
Creating macOS installation disks. There is a free module for creating macOS installation disks.
Byte-by-byte disk copies. It's possible to create both full and partial byte-by-byte disk copies.
Bad sector map. Disk Drill for Mac can create a map of physical bad sectors during scanning to improve data recovery speed and efficiency. It’s also possible to manually input sectors to be skipped during disk reading.
Portable mode. The program can work in portable mode without making any changes to scanned systems.
Scanning process clarity. The scanning process is visualized in real time, with information about the number of scanned disk blocks, found files, and the estimated remaining time available at a glance.
Recover while scanning. It’s possible to start recovering data without interrupting the scanning process.
Built-in tips and tutorials. On first start-up, Disk Drill for macOS displays helpful tips to guide the user through the recovery process.
Great technical content. There is a dedicated YouTube channel, as well as a blog with a vast database of support content that covers all sorts of data loss scenarios and solutions.
Saving scans. The program automatically saves scan sessions and has a friendly interface that makes it easily possible to resume or review any of them later.
Outstanding flexibility. The user can browse found files, preview them, filter them, and more, while the software is still searching for lost data.
Active disk monitoring. If bad or unreadable disk areas are found during the scanning process, the program recommends the user to create a backup first.
Scanning prompts. When there is a chance to find additional data, Disk Drill for Mac automatically offers to re-scan activating additional recovery algorithms.
Disk status icons. With S.M.A.R.T. monitoring activated one can see disk temperatures, lifetime remaining, disk health, and free disk space in the menu bar.
User interface. The program has a fancy modern interface with dark mode support.
Auto resume. If the scanning or backup process is suddenly interrupted, the software automatically resumes it as soon as possible.
Free space scan. Disk Drill for Mac can increase scanning speed by focusing on sectors that are marked as empty.
Phone support. No phone number to call for support is provided.
Linux file systems. Very limited support for Linux filesystems. Often only the signature scan mode works.
No disk cloning. Disk Drill doesn't offer disk cloning features, but creates convenient byte-by-byte backups for better data recovery from unstable drives.
Recovery chances. Disk Drill for Mac doesn’t display the recovery chances of individual files.
RAID. Limited RAID support.
Bootable drives. The software doesn't have an option to create custom boot drives.
Recovery over a network. It's not possible to perform remote recovery over a network.
Video and photo repair. Disk Drill doesn't offer the ability to repair corrupted videos and photos.
Scan results for heavily formatted disks. If a disk has been formatted to different file systems multiple times, the scan results can be scrambled.
Disk Drill for Mac – Overview #
When we review a data recovery software, we always begin by collecting detailed factual information about it and the company behind it. This helps us understand the product, as well as the company’s values, goals, and achievements better. We believe that it’s an appropriate way to start a review.
|Latest version||4.6.380 • Released 2nd Mar, 2022|
|Download size||84.8 MB|
|Category||Data Recovery Software|
|UI languages||Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Italian, English, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish|
|Trial version available|
|Trial version limitations|
|No credit card to try|
|Money back guarantee|
There are three editions of Disk Drill for Mac. The Basic version can only preview recoverable data, but it can’t actually recover them. The PRO version offers unlimited data recovery, and it can be used by 1 user on up to 3 devices. The Enterprise version can be used by up to 10 users on an unlimited number of devices, and it also comes with some extras aimed at enterprise customers.
|2||PRO + Lifetime Upgrades||$118.00|
Basic version plus:
|2||Enterprise + Lifetime Upgrades||$598.00|
PRO version plus:
Discounts and coupons
Education, Non-profit & Government
If you are a student, teacher or another representative of an educational establishment, as well as if you need to recover data for a government agency or a non-profit organization, you are eligible for a 20% discount on Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise!
|Get the Deal|
If you already own another data recovery app for macOS or Windows and find it less effective than Disk Drill, you can easily switch to the equivalent edition of Disk Drill with a 50% discount.
|Get the Deal|
Upgrade to Disk Drill 4
Disk Drill 4 for macOS and Windows is here. To all our current premium users of Disk Drill 1, 2 or 3, a big thank you for supporting us through all these years!
|Get the Deal|
Developer — CleverFiles
Disk Drill for Mac is developed by a company called CleverFiles, which is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, USA. The company was founded in 2009, and has been perfecting its data recovery products ever since.
16% 533.3% than avg
Reflects the share of online traffic within the niche occupied by data recovery software, based on data taken from ahrefs.com (from Google US search engine).
19000 594.6% than avg
Based on the number of brand-related search queries on Google US according to ahrefs.com.
CleverFiles is owned by 508 Software, LLC, whose mission is to build software for data management, protection and recovery. While not a BBB accredited business, 508 Software, LLC has a near-perfect customer review score of 4.87 out of 5.
2009 • 13 years on the market
901 N Pitt St, Ste 325-D, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
Disk Drill developers are active on multiple major social media websites, where they post news about their product and publish helpful data recovery tutorials. The best way to reach CleverFiles is via email, but you can also get in touch with its employees on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Data Recovery with Disk Drill for Mac
Tested on: macOS 12.0.1 (21A559)
It’s not enough for data recovery software to look promising—the software must also perform great in real life to receive a high score from us, which is where our comprehensive tests come into play.
How We Test
To ensure repeatability and objectivity of test results, we follow a carefully crafted testing process that consists of the following five main stages.
|1||Installation||First, we downloaded and installed the latest version of Disk Drill for Mac on our testing Mac computer.|
|2||Source selection||We then assembled several different data sets and turned them into virtual hard drives where we could simulate data loss.|
|3||Scanning process||The abovementioned virtual hard drives were thoroughly scanned by the app.|
|4||Managing found data||We now tested how easy it was to search through and filter the discovered data.|
|5||Recovery and post-processing||Finally, we analyzed the recovery results to determine how many files had been recovered and how well.|
We repeat the testing process to evaluate all supported data recovery scans, such as Quick scan, Deep scan, and partition scan.
In order to install Disk Drill for Mac, we headed over to its official website and downloaded the free version of the software. What's great about the free version is that it lets you preview all recoverable files, so you can purchase a license only when you know that Disk Drill can actually recover your lost files.
The installation process was relatively painless, but there were a few extra hoops we had to jump through to give the application the permissions necessary to scan both internal and external storage devices.
Fortunately, Disk Drill provided helpful step-by-step instructions with illustrative screenshots, so we never felt lost or confused.
After installing Disk Drill and giving it all the necessary permissions, it was time to launch the application and tell it which storage device we wanted to scan. Thanks to Disk Drill's well-organized user interface, choosing the right storage device was a breeze.
From there, launching the scan process was as simple as clicking the Search for lost data button. By default, Disk Drill runs all recovery methods in the optimal order, but you can also manually select a specific method if that's what you want to do.
While the scanning process was running, Disk Drill did an excellent job of keeping us informed. The application separates found files into five categories (pictures, video, audio, documents, and archives), displaying the number of found files in each category.
If you're impatient, you can click the "Review found files" button even while Disk Drill is still performing a scan. We decided not to do that and let the application finish. We were then informed that there was a chance to find even more files by scanning the entire storage device. Helpful tips like this one make Disk Drill great even for complete beginners who might otherwise not realize that more data can be recovered.
Managing found files
Where Disk Drill for Mac truly shines is the management of found files. The application offers 4 view options (files, files and icons, folders, and folders with icons), and it can preview all file formats that can be previewed by macOS.
When dealing with a large number of found files (which is almost always the case when scanning larger HDDs and SSDs), you can use Disk Drill's filters to focus on specific file types, file sizes, or file modification dates.
We would have liked it if the Mac version of Disk Drill could estimate recovery chances like the Windows version can, but, unfortunately, this feature wasn't supported at the time of testing.
Recovery and post-processing
Thanks to the preview feature, we were able to easily identify and select all recoverable files we were looking for in no time, and begin their recovery by clicking the Recover button. Disk Drill for Mac prompted us to specify a suitable directory and it confirmed that we made the right choice, which we found helpful.
When the entire data recovery process was finished, we were given the option to view the recovered files in Finder, which we immediately took advantage of to confirm that the selected files were, indeed, in the specified recovery directory.
Disk Drill for Mac – Tutorials and Other Videos
To help you better understand how Disk Drill for Mac works, we’ve put together a collection of useful video tutorials.
Disk Drill for Mac – Full Review
It took us some time to review Disk Drill for Mac because the data recovery software is packed with a ton of capabilities and extra features, so it was almost like reviewing multiple applications instead of just one.
Disk Drill for Mac is a reputable application with the native M1 support. It is frequently updated to maintain compatibility with the latest version of Apple’s operating system, and a full changelog is available on the app’s website. Customer support is provided via chat, helpdesk, and knowledge base. Unfortunately, phone support isn’t available.
Every 3 months
Available (View full update history)
|4||Latest macOS supported|
Yes, all good
|5||Runs natively on M1 Macs|
|6||Genuine or clone?|
|7||Brand name popularity|
|8||Online market share|
|10||Extensive knowledge base|
The value provided by the two paid editions of Disk Drill for Mac is excellent for two reasons. First, the software performs great even when presented with some of the most difficult data loss situations that can be encountered. Second, the presence of many useful extra features eliminates the need to purchase other related applications.
The only major thing that holds the software back is the inability of the free version to recover any data. Instead, you can only preview recoverable data and verify that they can actually be retrieved.
Yes (unlimited time, but limited features)
|4||Is it free?|
Paid license is required to recover files
Two subscription plans + Lifetime upgrades option
|6||Unlimited recovery in full version|
With purchased Lifetime Upgrades
|8||Commercial rights in the cheapest license|
The Mac version of Disk Drill is the first data recovery application to earn 100% for usability based on our 17 rating criteria. What this means is that the application leaves pretty much nothing to be desired when it comes to the user experience it provides.
What makes Disk Drill for Mac so good? The fact that its developers have created a native application that’s optimized from the ground up for the hardware it runs on and adheres to Apple’s user interface design guidelines and recommendations. It also helps that Disk Drill for Mac has been around for some time now, so many kinks and bugs have been fixed since the release of the first version.
|1||Modern user-friendly interface|
|4||Automatic implementation of multiple appropriate scanning methods without user interaction|
|5||Auto-resuming scans of failing drives|
|6||Auto-resuming backups of failing drives|
|7||Convenient source selection on start|
|8||Convenient file-by-file preview of recoverable items|
|9||Convenient thumbnail preview of recoverable items|
|10||Mount recoverable items as disk|
|12||Multiple view modes in scan results|
|13||Hex view for recoverable items|
|14||Filter recoverable items by type|
|15||Search recoverable items by file names|
We were extremely pleased with the overall recovery performance of Disk Drill for Mac. Thanks to its powerful data recovery algorithms and numerous extra features, the data recovery software can effortlessly deal with some of the most challenging data loss situations that you can possibly encounter.
|1||Clever in-depth scan|
|It's usually possible to recover files with their original names and folder structure.|
|Recently deleted files can be quickly recovered from most partitions.|
|3||Other types of scan|
|Disk Drill for Mac can deal with most data loss situations.|
|Commonly used storage devices are supported, including iOS and Android devices.|
|5||Real-life recovery challenge|
|The application has passed our real-life recovery challenges with flying colors.|
|6||Other notable recovery features|
|Disk Drill for Mac has many other extra recovery features that make it well worth its price.|
The ability to restore original folder structure and file names. Most consumer-oriented data recovery software applications can attempt to not only restore deleted files but also recover their original file names and folder structure. We call this type of functionality Clever scan
When recovering data from HFS+, APFS, FAT32, NTFS, and, to some extent, exFAT partitions, Disk Drill for Mac will attempt to restore the original folder structure and file names. The same is, unfortunately, not possible when recovering data from EXT4 partitions.
Recovery of recently deleted files Every lost minute can significantly worsen the outcome of a data recovery attempt, and Quick scan certainly doesn’t waste your time because it’s designed to find as many recently deleted files as quickly as possible
The data recovery software can reliably recover recently deleted files from commonly used macOS and Windows file systems. EXT4 partitions are supported as well, but the results can be hit or miss.
Other scan types
Advanced scan types for solving complicated data loss situations Basic data recovery algorithms aimed at recovering recently deleted data cover only a small subset of the data loss issues users experience every day. That’s why developers also implement all kinds of advanced scan types
|1||The number of formats supported by deep scan|
|2||Native deep scan of system drives on M1-powered Macs|
|3||Native deep scan of system drives on T2-encrypted Macs|
|4||Native data recovery from local Time Machine snapshots|
|5||Scan for lost partitions|
|6||HFS+ directory rebuild|
|7||Recovered files' labeling|
|8||Partial file recovery|
|9||Disk images: scan and recovery|
There’s virtually no data loss situation that Disk Drill for Mac can’t solve thanks to its advanced data recovery algorithms.
Supported internal and external storage devices Ideally, data recovery software applications should be able to recover from internal and external hard drives, external USB flash drives, memory cards, smartphones, and other commonly used storage devices
|1||Internal and external HDD|
|2||Internal and external SSD|
|3||USB thumb drives / Classic iPods (non-iOS) / FireWire devices|
|9||Recovery from RAID1, 0, JBOD|
|10||Encrypted device support|
Disk Drill for Mac is an exceptionally versatile data recovery software application that can recover data from not just internal and external storage devices but also Android and iOS smartphones.
Real-life recovery challenges
Results of real-life data recovery tests performed under controlled conditions It’s one thing to advertise support for hundreds of file formats, and it’s something else entirely to recover them in practice. Our tests reveal whether the data recovery software lives up to its promises
|1||Raw photo recovery|
|2||Video formats recovery|
|3||Document formats recovery|
Raw photo recovery
The ability to recover raw photo file formats used by digital cameras and mobile devices Most modern digital cameras and increasingly many mobile devices let their users capture raw image data in a variety of raw file formats, so having the ability to recover them can be extremely helpful
|1||3fr (Hasselblad 3F raw image)|
|2||arw (Sony alpha raw)|
|3||bmp (bitmap image file)|
|4||cr2 (Canon raw version 2)|
|5||cr3 (Canon raw version 3)|
|6||crw (Canon raw CIFF image file)|
|7||dcr (Kodak digital camera raw)|
|8||dng (digital negative lossless raw image)|
|9||CinemaDNG (Blackmagic, Penelope, Pocket)|
|10||erf (Epson raw file)|
|11||exr (high dynamic-range file format)|
|12||fff (Hasselblad raw image)|
|13||gpr (GoPro raw format)|
|14||heic (high efficiency image file format)|
|15||iiq (intelligent image quality raw Leaf, Phase One)|
|16||insp (panoramic image Insta360)|
|17||jp2 (bitmap image format JPEG 2000)|
|18||jpg (joint photographic experts group compressed image)|
|19||kdc (Kodak digital camera raw image)|
|20||mef (Mamiya raw image file)|
|21||mos (Leaf and Mamiya raw image file)|
|22||mpo (multi picture stereoscopic object file)|
|23||mrw (Konica Minolta raw image format)|
|24||nef (Nikon raw image file)|
|25||nrw (Nikon raw image file)|
|26||orf (Olympus raw format)|
|27||pef (Pentax raw image file)|
|28||raf (Fujifilm raw image file)|
|29||raw (native digital camera file)|
|30||rw2 (Panasonic LUMIX raw image file)|
|31||rwl (Leica raw image format)|
|32||sr2 (Sony raw 2 image file)|
|33||srf (Sony raw file)|
|34||srw (Samsung raw image file)|
|35||tiff (tag image file format)|
|36||x3f (Sigma camera raw picture file)|
|37||x3i (Sigma super fine detail picture file)|
Disk Drill can confidently recover a large number of raw photo file formats, making it an excellent choice for avid photographers who need to recover lost images.
Video formats recovery
Video recovery performance measured against commonly used video formats Video file formats have evolved a lot during the last decade, and not all recovery software tools support modern formats used by the latest digital cameras, camcorders, and mobile devices
|1||360 (GoPRO 360 degree videos)|
|2||ari (ARRI professional digital video camera)|
|3||arx (ARRI professional digital video camera)|
|4||avi (GoPRO CineForm intermediate codec)|
|5||avi (MJPG, H.264, MSMPEG4 v2 codecs)|
|6||braw (Blackmagic raw video file)|
|7||insv (Insta360 panoramic AVC H.264 video file)|
|8||insv (Insta360 panoramic HEVC HVC1 video file)|
|9||mov (Apple ProRes 422 Proxy/LT/HQ)|
|10||mov (Apple ProRes 4444 Raw/HQ)|
|11||mov (advanced video coding H.264)|
|12||mov (CineForm HD codec)|
|13||mov (HEVC, HVC1 codecs)|
|14||mp4 (advanced video coding H.264)|
|15||mp4 (HEVC, HVC1, Apple ProRes codecs)|
|16||mxf (advanced video coding H.264)|
|17||mxf (DVCPRO HD codec)|
|18||mxf (ARRI raw, Apple ProRes codecs)|
|19||mxf (XDCAM HD422, HD35 MPEG2 codecs)|
|20||r3d (Red digital camera company raw video file)|
|21||wmv (pro raw 9 codec)|
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Disk Drill for Mac to all video professionals who need to recover raw video files. Plus the software supports a multitude of other file formats.
Document formats recovery
Determining how well the software recovers document file formats Documents are among the most commonly recovered file formats because their importance can be tremendous, especially when they're related to work or school. Because of how many document file formats exist these days, older and less developed data recovery software often struggle recovering and recognizing all of them
|1||accdb (Microsoft Access 2007+ database file)|
|2||key (Apple Keynote)|
|3||pages (Apple Pages)|
|4||numbers (Apple Numbers)|
|5||djvu (compressed image format)|
|6||doc (Microsoft Word 97 – 2003 document file)|
|7||docx (Microsoft Word 2007+ document file)|
|8||fb2 (FictionBook 2.0 File)|
|9||mdb (Microsoft Access 97 - 2003 database file)|
|10||odp (OpenOffice presentation file format)|
|11||ods (OpenDocument spreadsheet file format)|
|12||odt (OpenDocument text document file format)|
|13||pdf (portable document format)|
|14||ppt (Microsoft Powerpoint 97 - 2003 presentation file)|
|15||pptx (Microsoft Powerpoint 2007+ presentation file)|
|16||rtf (rich text format)|
|17||xls (Microsoft Excel 97 - 2003 spreadsheet file)|
|18||xlsx (Microsoft Excel 2007+ spreadsheet file)|
Unless your specific goal is to recover an .accdb file, you can be sure that Disk Drill will be able to complete the task at hand perfectly well, because its document file format support is excellent.
Other notable recovery features
Additional recovery features and their performance These additional recovery features are what often separates average data recovery software solutions from those that can satisfy the needs of professionals and power users
|1||Overall non-intrusive read-only algorithms|
|3||Effectively filters out corrupted scan results|
|4||Byte-to-byte device backups|
|5||Bootable recovery drive creation|
|6||Runs in macOS native recovery mode|
|7||Convenient scan session management|
|8||Bad sector management|
|9||Recovery chance prediction|
|11||Disk vitals monitoring and tracking during scan|
|13||Links to in-lab recovery service for physically damaged devices|
|15||Scan free space only|
|16||Start file recovery without interrupting the scan|
|17||Preview recoverable items without interrupting the scan|
Disk Drill for Mac is a feature-complete data recovery software application whose extra recovery features include everything from scan session management to data protection.
|1||Disk space mapping|
|Disk Drill for Mac can analyze any storage device and create a map that shows which files and folders occupy the most.|
|2||Disk clean up|
|You can perform disk clean-up with Disk Drill for Mac to get rid of files you no longer need.|
|3||Corrupted video repair tool|
|4||Corrupted photo repair tool|
|5||Time Machine backups parser|
|It’s possible to restore directly from Time Machine backup using this software.|
|Disk Drill for Mac can read and interpret disk health monitoring data of internal and external HDDs and SSDs.|
|7||Bootable macOS installer|
|You can create a bootable macOS installer using Disk Drill for Mac.|
|The Find Duplicates feature helps locate the extra copies of the same files to get rid of them.|
|9||Built-in disk space secure eraser|
|Disk Drill for Mac can securely erase empty disk space to make data recovery impossible.|
|11||Disk surface test|
|12||Secure data shredding|
|You can use Disk Drill for Mac to securely shred sensitive data.|
With only a few relatively minor omissions, Disk Drill for Mac provides a complete set of data management features, making it well-worth keeping around even if your data backup strategy is so good that you don’t worry about losing important data at all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Disk Drill for Mac.
Disk Drill for Mac is a leading data recovery software application. It supports hundreds of file formats and can recover them from internal and external storage devices, including mobile phones.
Using Disk Drill on Mac is simple enough for an app of this level. First, download and install the application. Then launch it and select the storage device you want to recover from. After a successful recovery, move your salvaged data to a safe recovery destination.
Disk Drill is typically located in the Applications folder, which can be accessed just like any other folder using Finder.
Yes, Mac users can download Disk Drill for free and use it to scan any storage device to find out if their lost files can be recovered. However, it’s necessary to upgrade to Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise to perform the actual recovery.
Disk Drill displays recoverable files in the scan results window, which you can open even during scanning, by clicking the Review found items button.
You can easily remove duplicate files on your Mac using Disk Drill’s Find Duplicates feature. Simply activate the feature and add a folder to search for duplicates.
Yes, Disk Drill is a completely safe data recovery application that can help you regain access to permanently deleted files with a few simple clicks.
No, Disk Drill is also available for Windows, and the two versions share a similar user-friendly interface for added convenience. When you purchase Disk Drill PRO or Enterprise, you can install the application on both platforms.
Because Disk Drill installs several additional modules that allow it to effectively recover permanently lost data, simply dragging the application to the Trash folder isn’t enough to fully remove all components.
Here’s the correct way to remove Disk Drill:
- Launch the application.
- Open Preferences.
- Click the Remove Disk Drill option in the General section.
Alternatively, you can use a third-party app uninstaller, such as AppCleaner.
To disable the S.M.A.R.T. monitoring feature, whose purpose is to warn you about early signs of hard drive failure, open the “S.M.A.R.T. monitoring” extra tool in the main window of Disk Drill and click Turn off.