In this article, we are going to show you how to recover deleted Pages documents on your Mac or MacBook. As Apple’s main word processing solution, many individuals use the program to create documents, some of which are very important. Everything is great until a user fails to save a file or one gets accidentally deleted.
Fortunately, multiple methods enable you to recover lost Pages documents on your Mac. With any luck, one of these techniques will enable you to get your documents back safely. Read on and find out which one will work for your situation.
I have recently deleted the Pages document in question.
Check the Mac Trash bin for a quick and easy recovery. (Solution 1)
I can’t find my Pages document.
Try using Finder to locate your Pages files. (Solution 2)
I have accidentally permanently deleted an important Pages document.
Data recovery software can recover these files. (Solution 5)
My Pages app froze and did not save my Pages document.
Use the autosave or Revert To feature to get the most recent version of the file. (Solution 3)
A virus wiped out all of my Pages documents. Help!
My Mac crashed and I did not save my Pages document.
Use the autosave or Revert To feature to get the most recent version of the file. (Solution 3)
My Pages document disappeared.
Try using Finder to locate your Pages file. (Solution 2)
I want to restore an earlier version of a Pages document on my Mac.
My Pages documents on my iCloud Drive have disappeared.
Use the iCloud recovery procedure to get them back. (Solution 8)
Recover a Lost Pages Document on Mac From the Trash
Your Mac has a built-in feature that can help recover recently deleted files and folders. The Mac Trash bin is a special folder that temporarily stores items deleted from your computer. Use the following simple procedure to see if your deleted Pages file can be recovered from the Trash.
- Open the Trash by clicking on the Trash can icon.
- Scroll through the folder to locate the file you want to recover.
- Right-click on the file and select Put Back to restore the item to its original location.
Locate Unsaved Pages Document Recovery with Finder
You may be able to locate an unsaved Pages document using the Mac Finder application. Try using the following procedure to use Finder to search for your lost document.
- Open Finder and navigate to the File Menu tab at the top of the window.
- Open the File Menu and select the Find option.
- Click on This Mac in the search bar.
- Select Kind is Document.
- Choose As List and Date Modified from the View menu.
- Scroll through the list and search for potential Pages documents. Use the date and time to narrow your search.
- If you locate an item that may be your lost Pages document, drag and drop it on the Pages icon. The items will open if they are indeed Pages files. You can also try dropping the files on the TextEdit icon if they don’t open in Pages.
This method may be able to help you locate and recover an unsaved Pages document. There will be many files listed, so it’s best to have a good idea of the date and time the file was created when conducting your search.
Use the Revert To Option to Recover a Lost Pages Document
When you save a file in Pages, the program saves it as a new version. Over time, you will accrue many versions of a file as it is modified and saved. This fact can be extremely helpful if you make extensive changes to a document and then decide you need to get back to an earlier version.
Use the following steps to go back to an earlier version of a Pages document.
- Open the current version of the document in Pages.
- Click on the File Menu and choose the Revert To option.
- Choose to recover the Last Saved or Last Opened file.
- You can also Browse All Versions. You will be presented with a screen that allows you to scroll through the various versions of the file.
- Select the version you want and click the Restore button.
The Pages Revert To option is a great way to recover from some overly enthusiastic editing and get back to a simpler version of your document. It’s another example of the built-in features that make using a Mac so productive and enjoyable.
Using Time Machine to Recover a Deleted Pages Document
Time Machine is Apple’s backup and recovery solution and is preinstalled on your Mac or MacBook. Using Time Machine is an excellent way to protect your valuable images, documents, and other types of files from the perils of unexpected data loss. It offers users a simple backup and recovery method that only requires a removable storage device that is used to store the backup files.
- Connect the storage device storing the Time Machine backup to your Mac.
- Open a Finder window in the folder that contained the lost Pages file.
- Open Time Machine by clicking the Time Machine icon on the menu bar.
- Use the app’s arrows and timeline to scroll through the local snapshots and backups and locate the document you want to retrieve.
- Choose the file to be recovered and click the Restore button. Your file will be restored to its original location where you can open it in Pages.
If you are not currently backing up your Mac with Time Machine, we strongly suggest you start right away. This Apple support page describes how to use Time Machine to back up your data. If you would like more detailed information regarding the power of restoring with Time Machine backups, check out our in-depth article on the subject.
Recover Deleted Pages Documents Using Data Recovery Software
Data recovery software can help get back deleted Pages documents that have not been backed up and are no longer available in the Trash. Before we describe this recovery method, let’s look at how it works and why it needs to be carried out promptly after discovering you have lost a file.
IMPORTANT: Data recovery software needs to be used quickly after the data loss occurs to avoid overwriting or corrupting the desired files. When the Mac operating system deletes an item, it is not immediately physically removed from the storage device. The logical links that make the file accessible are deleted and the space the item occupied is marked as available for reuse by the system.
Each time you use the storage device that contained the deleted Pages document, you risk overwriting it with new data. For this reason, you need to stop using the device until the recovery process is complete. This includes not using the device for the download or installation of the data recovery tool.
Choosing a data recovery solution
There are many data recovery solutions to choose from. We direct you to our review of the best options available for Mac. It provides a variety of products that can help you recover lost Pages documents.
We are going to use Disk Drill in our example of recovering deleted Pages files with software. We like it for several reasons including its nice interface, recovery capabilities, and additional data protection tools. You are invited to read our full review of Disk Drill for more information on this excellent recovery solution.
How to recover deleted Pages documents with Disk Drill
Follow these steps to use Disk Drill to restore deleted Pages files that can’t be restored with a backup or the Trash.
- Download and install Disk Drill for Mac on your computer. As previously noted, if the Pages documents are stored on your main disk drive, don’t use it for the download and installation. Use an external storage device like a USB drive to avoid losing more data.
- Launch Disk Drill and select the disk where the lost Pages files were stored.
- Click the Search for lost data button to start scanning the disk. The default scanning method uses all of the possible scan modes and will produce the best recovery results.
- Preview the found documents and select those you wish to recover. Choose a safe storage location that is not on the affected disk to save the recovered files.
- Click the Recover button to complete the process. The files will be recovered to your designated storage location.
The key to using any data recovery software application is to perform the recovery before the deleted data is overwritten. That means stop using the device as soon as possible to ensure the best chance of a successful recovery.
Recover an Unsaved Pages Document with Auto Recovery
You can take advantage of auto recovery if your Mac’s Autosave feature is turned on. When the feature is active, files are automatically saved when you close an application. You are not prompted to save the file unless you have turned off this operating system feature. A nice explanation of how to turn off autosave is you wish is available on this page.
With Autosave turned on, you can’t accidentally forget to save your Pages doc when you close the app. Autosave also periodically saves the file and is responsible for creating new versions whenever you manually save a file. Accessing an unsaved file should be as simple as opening the file in Pages, which should present you with the more recently updated document.
You can also use the Revert To feature of Pages as described in an earlier section of this article. This feature allows you to access all of the previously saved versions of your document and recover whichever one you want.
Search the Temp Folder for Unsaved Pages Documents
If your computer crashes or Pages terminates unexpectedly, you might be able to rescue data from your Mac’s Temp folder. Here’s an overview of how to view the contents of the Temp folder.
- Open the Terminal application.
- Type the following command: echo $TMPDIR. The output of the command is the pathname to the TEMP folder.
- Use this command to view its contents: open $TMPDIR.
- A Finder window will be displayed allowing you to view the files in TMPDIR.
- Search through the files and see if your Pages file is there. If so, attempt to open it in Pages.
A detailed description of the temporary folders on your Mac and their various uses can be found on this page.
Recover Deleted Pages Documents from iCloud
Files stored on your iCloud Drive are backed up to the cloud. You can save your Pages docs to your iCloud Drive, and then recover them from iCloud if they are deleted. Consult this Apple help page if you need some assistance in setting up your iCloud Drive.
Follow these steps to recover deleted Pages files on your Mac.
- Go to iCloud.com and login with your Apple ID.
- Select Account Settings under your Profile’s drop-down menu.
- Click Restore Files.
- Select the Pages files you want to recover.
- If you see the message “No files to restore”, go to this website.
- Log in with your Apple ID.
- Click on Recently Deleted in the bottom right corner.
- Select the files you want and click Recover.
Files are available to be restored through iCloud for 30 days after they have been deleted.
As long as you have not overwritten the deleted Pages document, it can be recovered from the Trash or with data recovery software. Backups will be necessary if the file was overwritten. In the case of unsaved Pages files, we have described multiple methods of recovering the most recently saved version of the file.
We hope this information helps you recover your lost Pages files. We strongly suggest you start backing up your files to provide another recovery option when things go wrong. Most data recovery apps like Disk Drill offer a free trial that will scan your disk and report on the recoverable data. It’s certainly worth a try.
Robert Agar is the Content Writer & Managing Editor for Handy Recovery. Robert brings over 30 years of experience in data storage, security, compliance, backup, and recovery to the HandyRecovery team. Several years ago, he turned his attention from hands-on technical roles to develop a career as a freelance writer concentrating on technology and its impact on society. Areas of focus include the cloud, data recovery, artificial intelligence, and industrial automation.
Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor for Handy Recovery. Andrey is a software engineer expert with extensive expertise in data recovery, computer forensics, and data litigation. Andrey brings over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair to the team.