Recovering Deleted Files From iCloud Drive

Deleting a file from iCloud Drive means that it is deleted across all of your devices. A copy will remain in the trash of the Mac you are using. But even if you empty the trash there is a way to recover the files using
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Recovering Deleted Files From iCloud Drive.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's look at how you can possibly recover files from iCloud Drive that you have deleted.

Now if you use iCloud Drive, like I do, one of the things that you may be concerned about is backups. You don't have to worry about backups in terms of disasters because if say you loose your MacBook then you know that all your stuff on iCloud Drive is safe in the cloud and you can simply sign on another Mac, get a new Mac and sign on with that and all your files are there.

But you may worry about what happens if you accidentally delete a file because if you do that not only is it deleted from your current machine but it is deleted from iCloud which then deletes it from all the machines you are using. So you accidentally delete something and it's gone. It is kind of the opposite of doing it outside of iCloud where it might be backed up in Time Machine and you can easily get that file back.

But there is a way to actually get back deleted files using iCloud Drive.

So as an example here I'm going to select a couple of files. Let's select this one. It is in my iCloud Drive under just a folder I've created. Let me select this file and this file and I'm going to drag them to the Trash to delete them. It's going to give me the warning that it's going to delete from other iCloud devices as well. Let's go in and say let's delete Presentation as well.

Okay I've deleted these files and they're gone. There is just no way to get them back. They are in my Trash here but let's say, let's be really daring here, empty the Trash and they are completely gone. Okay, now how do I get back these files?

Well if you are a Mac user then you really should be using iCloud otherwise you are missing out on a lot of great features. If you are using iCloud then you really should check out what's available on the web. Because if you go to and you sign in there, there are a lot of cool things.

So here I am in my iCloud account and, of course, I am using the same Apple ID and the same iCloud account as I'm signed into in System Preferences on my Mac. I've got all my different apps here and things I can access.

Under Settings, not only do I get information about storage and such, but I go to the bottom and I see there are some stuff under Advanced including Restore Files. I click on that it will actually bring up a set of controls here, Restore Files, Restore Contacts, Restore Calendars, Restore Bookmarks. I'm just going to concentrate on Restore Files right now.

Sure enough if I look here I see a bunch of files that I deleted and it tells me how long ago they were deleted. It also tells me I've got how many days remaining. It is only going to keep them for thirty days. I can sort by Date Deleted, Size, Name, and I can select one.

So let's select all of these and I'm going to hit Restore. Now I can also hit Delete if I really want to delete something, say some sensitive information or something that I can actually clear it out of this kind of iCloud trashcan early.

But I'm going to hit Restore and it will say restoring four files and it says Done.

Now back here in the Finder under iCloud Drive I can see it has restored my Presentation, I can see that it has restored the files. So I've got my files back even though I deleted them, even though I emptied the trash, I was able to get my files back thanks to that recovery function of iCloud Drive.

Comments: 15 Responses to “Recovering Deleted Files From iCloud Drive”

    3 years ago

    This is great! In reading “a copy will remain in the trash of the Mac you are using” I deleted an iCloud Drive test file from my iPad, thinking it would be in the Trash on my Mac, but wasn’t. That would have been super cool. But I restored using and it was there, something I didn’t know you could do.

    3 years ago

    Ivan: Right, it will only appear in your Mac’s trash if you are deleting the file from your Mac.

    3 years ago

    Great tip. I use iCloud but after your comments, realize I should check out its features more thoroughly.

    Dr Praveen
    3 years ago

    Great talk.. Is there any way that the deleted files are more than 30 days ..?Great Job Gary .. I am a big fan of yours ..👍

    3 years ago

    Praveen: No, then it is gone. At some point the files you indicated that you want to delete must actually be deleted. 30 days is quiet generous, IMHO.

    3 years ago

    Hi Gary. When I go to on my iPad I get a screen to set up iCloud on my device. It is already set up there. I can’t find the sign in screen to get to the finder window that you were using in your video. What am I doing wrong?

    3 years ago

    Peter: The Finder is on Macs, so you won’t find that on an iPad. Not sure you are seeing what you are seeing on your iPad. You are going to in Safari, right?

    3 years ago

    Can I restore Calendar the same way? Where is the calendar file?

    3 years ago

    Ron: Depends what type of calendar. If it is a modern iCloud calendar, then no.

    3 years ago

    I have answered my own question I think. It’s not possible to see the iCloud screen you were using on an iPad. It all works fine on my MBP. Many thanks.

    3 years ago

    Peter: I didn’t realize that Apple had removed the ability the view on the iPad. Strange that they do that.

    3 years ago

    can I restore videos deleted from my icloud drive

    3 years ago

    Abhishek: If you use Time Machine you can try. Just go to that folder on your Mac and enter Time Machine to see if you have that in a backup from the previous day(s).

    Rick Conners
    3 years ago

    How can I delete files from iCloud on my computer but leave them in the cloud? My Keynote presentations are too large for my computer. My iCloud storage is 200GB but my computer is only 120GB.

    3 years ago

    Rick: iCloud Drive isn’t what you want in that situation. What you need is a remote storage solution. You can use DropBox or something else for that. But it sounds like if you are creating large Keynote presentations, then a 120GB local drive is the wrong machine for you and you may want to consider changing.

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