How to Recover Unsaved, Damaged or Deleted PDF Files on Mac

[2022] How to Recover Unsaved, Damaged or Deleted PDF Files on Mac

Adobe Acrobat PDF document is easy to integrate with different contents in a fixed layout which makes it a commonly-used format. There are times that we just leave a PDF unsaved or delete the PDF files for the mistake, then need to recover them back.

But how to recover an unsaved or deleted, even a damaged PDF file on Mac? Is it possible to do so? Here we will give the complete guide to do Mac PDF recovery easily and successfully.

How to Recover Unsaved PDF Files on Mac

Sometimes, we just leave our PDF files unsaved on mac, due to program crashes, sudden power-off, neglect, etc. But luckily, we can use the AutoSave feature of macOS to get the unsaved PDF files for us.

If You Left PDF Unsaved in Mac Preview

All macOS versions come with a free feature to save files on Mac automatically. That’s to say, all the document-based apps, including Preview, iWork, and TextEdit for Mac allow users to auto-save files when they are working on these files on a Mac. And defaulted, the Auto-Save function is ON.

  1. First, make sure the Auto-Save is turned on on your mac.
    Go to Apple Menu>System Preferences>General>Ask to keep changes when closing documents, and make sure the box is checked.
  2. Then open the unsaved PDF with Preview to see if it is auto-saved.
    If you cannot find the unsaved PDF on your mac, go to Preview>File>Open Recent, then save the PDF file on mac.
    [2022] How to Recover Unsaved, Damaged or Deleted PDF Files on Mac

If You Left PDF Unsaved in Mac Adobe Acrobat

It is much more likely you are using a professional PDF tool to manage and edit your PDF files, such as Adobe Acrobat, or Foxit. If your installed PDF tool builds in the auto-save feature, you are also allowed to recover unsaved PDF files on mac. Here we take Adobe Acrobat as an example to show how to do PDF file recovery.

  1. Click on any blank area of your Mac to locate it in Finder.
  2.  Go to the menu bar, select GO>Go to Folder.
    [2022] How to Recover Unsaved, Damaged or Deleted PDF Files on Mac
  3. Input the path of Adobe Acrobat autosave: /Libriary/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/AutoSave, then click Go.
    [2022] How to Recover Unsaved, Damaged or Deleted PDF Files on Mac
  4. Find the PDF files, open them with Adobe and then save them on your mac.

Recover Unsaved Adobe PDF Files from Temporary Folder on Mac

Still, you can try to find and recover the unsaved Adobe PDF files from the Temporary folder.

  1. Go to Finder>Applications>Utilities.
  2. Then find and launch Terminal on your mac.
  3. Input “open $TMPDIR” into Terminal, then press “Enter”.
    [2022] How to Recover Unsaved, Damaged or Deleted PDF Files on Mac
  4. Discover the unsaved PDF files and recover them.

How to Recover A Damaged PDF File on Mac

Though many data recovery software proclaim that they can help to recover a corrupted PDF file on mac, it is not true. To recover corrupted PDF files on mac, you will need a dedicated repair tool to get the PDF file back. Here we recommend Stellar Repair for PDF.

PDF Repair can repair corrupted PDF files and recover all the objects in a PDF, including headers, footers, forms, page format, watermarks, media contents, etc. Also, you are allowed to preview the repaired PDF files.

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Step 1. Click “Add File” to import corrupted PDF files for repair.

Step 2. Click “Repair” to recover the corrupted PDF files.

[2022] How to Recover Unsaved, Damaged or Deleted PDF Files on Mac

Step 3. Once repair finishes, preview PDF files and save them to your preferred location.

How to Recover Deleted or Lost PDF Files on Mac

First, you’d better check your Mac Trash bin to make sure if your PDF files are permanently deleted or not. As you may have not noticed that your files are just moved to the Trash bin when you delete, if you don’t continue to permanently delete in the trash bin, the PDF files are still stored on your mac, you just need to select them all and right click to choose “put back”. But if you have permanently deleted them, you will need to recover permanently deleted PDF files on Mac as follows.

The Best Way to Recover Deleted PDF Files on Mac

It’s quite a simple job to restore PDF files on Mac if you have MacDeed Data Recovery on hand. It is perfectly designed to recover lost, deleted, and formatted PDF files from different kinds of storage devices, including Macs, external hard drives, memory cards, USB flash drives, etc. Furthermore, it has a bunch of key features which are listed below.

  • Recover PDF files from the internal or external storage device
  • Recover files including PDF, photos, videos, audio, archives, and other documents in 300+
  • Recover lost files in different situations: delete, format, virus attack, crash, power off, etc.
  • Preview files before recovery
  • Quickly filter files with keywords, file size, date created or modified
  • Recovered PDF files or others can be opened and processed

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How to DO PDF file recovery on Mac with MacDeed?

Step 1. Launch MacDeed Data Recovery on your Mac.

If you want to recover PDF files from an external storage device, please connect it to your Mac first.

Select a Location

If you are using macOS High Sierra, follow the onscreen instructions.

macOS high sierra instructions

Step 2. Choose the hard drive or external device where you store the PDF files.

Go to Disk Data Recovery and select the device that you want to recover files from.

Step 3. Scan PDF files.

Click on the Scan button to start finding files. Go to Type>Document>PDF, or use the filter to quickly search for a PDF file.

files scanning

Step 4. Click “Recover” to restore deleted or lost PDF files on mac.

select Mac files recover

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How to Recover Deleted PDF Files from Time Machine

Time Machine is a free utility designed to back up files from Mac to external hard drives. If you have a good habit to back up your PDF files with Time Machine, you will be able to recover the deleted or lost, even previous versions of your PDF files on mac.

  1. Go to Finder>Application, find and launch Time Machine.
  2. Open the folder where you save the PDF files.
  3. Use the timeline to check the PDF files backup, select the wanted one, and press the Space bar to preview.
  4. Click “Restore” to recover the deleted PDF files.
    [2022] How to Recover Unsaved, Damaged or Deleted PDF Files on Mac


The solutions are quite different when recovering unsaved, deleted, or corrupted PDF files on mac. But a dedicated program is always the one that brings you the best result. Also, you can try MacDeed Data Recovery whenever you fail to recover pdf files on Mac with other recommended methods. And the most important is, you need to back up files on a regular basis.

Best Data Recovery for Mac and Windows: Get Back PDF Files to Your Drive Now!

  • Use both quick and deep scanning modes to recover PDF files lost due to different reasons
  • Recover PDF files and others from the internal or external storage device
  • Preview PDF files before recovery
  • Quickly search PDF files with the filter tool
  • Recovered PDF files can be opened and edited successfully
  • The high success rate to recover PDFs and others
  • Recover PDF files to a local drive or Cloud
  • Support recovery of 200+ file formats: video, audio, photo, document, email, archive, etc.

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