Recover an Overwritten File on Mac

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#Recover overwritten files on Mac with an iCloud backup

You can configure your Mac to backup files to iCloud, providing another option for recovering overwritten files. Use the following steps to restore overwritten files from an iCloud backup.

  1. Log in to with your account credentials.
  2. Click on the Settings option.
  3. Under the Advanced tab located on the bottom-left, click Restore Files.
  4. Search for the files you want to recover and check the boxes to the left of their names. You can also choose Select All to restore everything available in the backup.
  5. Click on Restore Files.

#Recover Overwritten Files on a Mac with Time Machine

If you follow best practices you should be performing regular backups of your Mac. Time Machine, the backup and recovery tool that is part of macOS, provides an easy way to protect your data for just this type of occasion. Unless the original file was created after your last backup, you should have a copy of it in Time Machine.

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#To recover a replaced file using Time Machine:

  1. Connect the storage media that holds the Time Machine backups to your computer.
  2. Navigate to the folder that contained the file you want to restore.
  3. Click on the Time Machine icon in the Menu bar and select Enter Time Machine.
  4. Locate the items to be restored by using the timeline on the edge of the screen.
  5. Select an item and press the Space Bar to preview the file.
  6. Click Restore to recover the selected file.

#Recover overwritten files from within applications

Some popular word processing and spreadsheet applications have internal features that may allow you to recover an overwritten file. For example, Apple’s Pages and Numbers apps let you revert to a previous version of a document, which might be just what you need after overwriting a file. The following procedure works with either of these applications.

  1. Open the File Menu selection in Pages or Numbers.
  2. Click the Revert To option.
  3. Browse for the version of a file you want to restore.
  4. Select the version you want and click the Restore button to perform the recovery.

Similarly, if you use Microsoft Office, the following procedure can be used to recover an overwritten file on your Mac.

  1. Open a file that has a previous version you want to recover.
  2. If you’re using Microsoft 365 for Mac, select the name of the document on the title bar of the application, then select the Browse Version History option.
  3. If you’re using Office 2016 or 2019 for Mac, select File > Browse Version History.
  4. Select a version and it will open in a new window. Now, save the file to a new name to recover an older version of the item.

Whatever solution you select, make it a habit to back up your machine regularly to keep your valuable data safe. You never know when a backup might offer you the best chance of recovering from accidental data loss.

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