Backups of critical data normally becomes an issue when something suddenly goes horribly wrong. Most people in our experience don’t concern themselves too much about backing up their data until there’s a drive failure or accidental deletion and then run around trying to figure out a way to bring back their precious files.
In terms of home users, we categorise critical data as photos, personal videos and documents. Music, TV shows, movies etc can always be re-downloaded if needed but photos for example, once lost can never be acquired again.
Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery
We were approached recently by Stellar Data Recovery to review their Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery - Professional software that’s designed specifically for Macs. It’s typically what someone would use when files get deleted and there’s no easy way to get those files back.
We installed the software on our 2017 iMac 27-inch with Fusion Drive. We placed a Microsoft Word document on the desktop, deleted it and then emptied the Trash.
After launching Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery, we were greeted by the following screen:
We disabled everything besides Documents to limit the search since it was only one .doc file that we were after.
When we clicked “Next” and reached the location selection screen, we noticed that the Fusion Drive on the iMac was being seen as two separate but also unsupported drives. Our iMac’s Fusion Drive is partition via Bootcamp and has Windows 10 Pro installed in the partition. We aren’t sure if this caused the Fusion Drive not to be recognised correctly or not.
However, undeterred, we then installed the software on a 2012 Mac mini with a single 512GB SSD. We performed the same test and the SSD was now recognised. The basic scan revealed nothing and we then jumped into the deep scan. This took several hours and a long list of recovered files were eventually revealed by the scanner.
We had to then choose a folder to copy the recovered files to and received a warning that we should save the recovered files on a drive that’s not the same as the drive that those files were recovered from.
We chose to recover to a network drive and the files started to copy quite quickly.
We found our deleted file on the top of the list and opening it in Microsoft Word revealed a document that was perfect: no errors or corrupt data at all.
We always recommend making regular backups of critical data either on site eg. External hard drives/DVD or in the cloud using something like Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive etc instead of relying on data recovery software/services.
Google Photos for example provide unlimited backup of photos at slightly lower than the original resolution. Apple’s iCloud is available at $0.99 for 50GB per month (R14.99 in South Africa) which we think is more than reasonable. These services can be setup on laptops, desktops and mobile devices to backup your important files seamlessly without needing to constantly worry about sudden data loss.
However, data loss can still happen regardless of how much redundancy and backups you may have in place. That’s where Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery Professional comes in: files can be recovered quite painlessly without having to spend a fortune. The package we tested is available for $99 and is a lifetime licence.
It not only recovers data from existing system drives but can recover data from:
- Time Machine backups
- Encrypted Drives
- Boot Camp Partitions
- External storage drives
We spent a fairly short time with Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery Professional but were overall quite impressed with it. Even though we had an issue with our iMac’s Fusion Drive, Stellar Data Recovery has arranged for Tech Support to contact us to figure the problem out. They did assure us that their software is indeed Fusion Drive compatible.This review will be updated pending that tech support call.
We highly recommend Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery Professional to anyone that has concerns over data loss and for someone that is looking for a plain and simple solution that actually does what it says. To purchase Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery Professional as well as their other data recovery products, visit Stellarinfo.com
A day or two after testing this software and picking up the issue with our iMac's Fusion Drive not being recognised correctly, Stellar's support team conatcted me and showed me that despite the drive not being reported as a Fusion Drive, selecting it anyway allows the software to work regardless. We tested this and it worked perfectly fine.
Also, they suggested that the software must be allowed root access to the system to be able to perform a full search for files, This entails the disabling of macOS's System Ingtegrity Protection (SIP). To disable SIP, run:
from Terminal. However, this must be be done via recovery, not directly in macOS. The following article from Apple provides full instructions:
SIP can then be re-enabled after the search has been completed to restore your Mac to it's original state.