Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Is it possible to recover data after formatting?

jas5279

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 21, 2016
67
9
So, I was under the impression that once a hard drive is formatted, the data is gone permanently. But when I Googled, there seemed to be many softwares claiming to recover data from a formatted hard disk.

My concern is that I just sold a Macbook Pro 13" late-2017 with SSD. I formatted the hard drive and then re-installed the OS, before giving it away. Has this removed my data completely? Or will someone still be able to recover my data if they wanted to? Now, after Googling and seeing all those recovery softwares, I'm concerned about my data.

Edit: Adding exact model.
 
Last edited:

Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
21,176
23,828
In the middle of several books.
Was this a Mac with a SSD or HDD? If the former, you will be fine. If the latter, someone with specific knowledge, equipment and time might could extrapolate some files but, that is a big might. In other words, I wouldn't worry over it, if it were my Mac.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aristobrat
Comment

IowaLynn

Contributor
Feb 22, 2015
1,962
486
Erasing just removes the index to files unless you do a 7-way secure erase if it is a spinner.
 
Comment

Blowback

macrumors 6502
Jan 10, 2018
273
74
VA
Erasing just removes the index to files unless you do a 7-way secure erase if it is a spinner.
Or...you're as unlucky as the guy I read about today in the NYT who lost $30 Million (?) of Bitcoin because his 'friend' reformatted and he lost his Keys!!!!
 
Comment

jas5279

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 21, 2016
67
9
Was this a Mac with a SSD or HDD? If the former, you will be fine. If the latter, someone with specific knowledge, equipment and time might could extrapolate some files but, that is a big might. In other words, I wouldn't worry over it, if it were my Mac.
Yes, it was MBP 13" 2017 with a SSD.
 
Comment

chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
7,513
4,824
If you had FileVault enabled, you're safe. If not, see post number 3.
 
Comment

1madman1

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2013
263
153
Richmond, BC, Canada
I've successfully "unformatted" drives, both HDD and solid state on several occasions. No skill is required, just the ability to read and follow directions in the many Linux and Windows tools available. Never tried on an encrypted drive, so no idea how that would behave. Full drive encryption slows things down and increases the possiblity of data loss too much for me to ever bother with it.

Zero filling or "full" formatting a drive makes a simple recovery not possible. 7 pass is overkill and accomplishes nothing on a solid state drive other than wearing it out quicker.
 
Comment

hallux

macrumors 68040
Apr 25, 2012
3,262
849
When I sold my 2012 I enabled FileVault prior to wiping it and reinstalling the OS. I also sold it to someone I know...
 
Comment

retta283

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2018
2,416
2,291
Victoria, British Columbia
Indeed a 7-pass erase is not necessary unless you have some very, very confidential data in which case you should probably just decimate the drive when you're ready to dispose of it. 1 pass of zeros is enough for the majority of user situations.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mick2
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.