Disk Drill Pro Review

At a glance

Expert’s Rating


  • Friendly interface with access to YouTube instructional videos
  • Good data recovery performance
  • Data Shredder utility offers a variable level of security options and cleanly removes files


  • Occasional crashes requiring force quit and relaunch
  • macOS Installer utility failed to create a viable boot drive after multiple attempts
  • Data recovers to multiple folders which have to be sifted through after a successful scan and recovery

Our Verdict

Disk Drill Pro shines with its strongest features, which revolve around reliable data recovery from a wide variety of devices. The price is a bit steep, but it is better than it was.

Whether you’re a casual user scrambling to recover your project files or a full-time tech shop doing everything it can to retrieve a client’s most critical documents from a dying hard drive, you’re eventually going to need a good data recovery program. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of choices available for the Mac, and Disk Drill Pro by CleverFiles (currently version 5.5.1517) has always been a viable candidate, its healthy marketing strategy ensuring that users knew it was out there and ready to be downloaded and installed to get your precious and irreplaceable memories back.

Similar to prominent competitors such as Data Rescue or DiskWarrior, Disk Drill Pro is based around the idea of recovering data from mounted volumes on your Mac, and can rebuild and recreate deleted data, the app recognizing and working with the standard macOS file formats such as HFS+, Mac OS Extended, and APFS.

The software, which is available as a basic version for free, can recover up to 500 megabytes of data, while the Pro version retails for $89/£70.89 and another $19/£15.13 for lifetime upgrades, and supports one user and up to three simultaneous activations. For the highest end used, the Enterprise edition retails for $499/£397.45 and $99/£78.85 for lifetime upgrades, and supports 10 users and infinite activations with priority technical support and DFXML forensic data support. As of this writing, Cleverfiles is offering a 50% discount from past versions, 20% discount for education, non-profit, and government customers, and a 50% competitive upgrade.

Features & Usability

Simply download the software, install it, assign full disk permissions to it, and a friendly user interface takes you to the Home Screen to begin working with it. Disk Drill Pro, which requires macOS 10.15 Catalina or later to install and run, has tacked on several new features over time, moving from a data recovery approach to a Swiss Army knife approach that adds features such as a RAID utility, a NAS & Linux via SSH utility, tools for recovering from iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Time Machine volumes, a scan session manager, S.M.A.R.T. monitoring, a macOS boot drive creator, a backup utility, a Clean Up utility to map drive storage, a duplicate file remover, a data shredder, and a free space erasure tool. If this seems like a lot to take in, the developers included easy access to YouTube-based tutorial videos for most of the tools, which come in handy.


There’s a lot to like here, but there’s also room for improvement. During regular data recovery scans, more than 90% of files that had been deleted from drives that had been formatted multiple times were readily recovered from test SSDs, and devices can be scanned over a Wi-Fi network, which proved to be a neat trick. The S.M.A.R.T. function offers excellent data as to drive temperatures, drive condition, and life percentage left, which can be easily clicked on and seen in the macOS Menu Bar.

Other neat features include being able to work directly with an iPhone, iPad file system and recover data directly from them, which can be tricky, as well as being able to poke directly into the innards of a Time Machine archive as needed. These, for the most part, function well, and it’s easy to minimize Disk Drill Pro and run a long scan in the background while you get other work done on your Mac.


If there was one utility that truly caught my attention, it was the Data Shredder feature, which allows you to drop folders or volumes, choose one of several security options, including the DOD-approved 7-pass secure erasure method, and begin wiping data. This also comes in handy for bypassing file permission errors on the data being erased, and it was easy to bypass locked file errors to clear up hundreds of gigabytes of drive space. This, along with reliable tools such as Byte-to-Byte Backup, which creates a .DMG archive, and the Duplicate Finder, work well, even if other third-party tools exclusive to these tasks arguably perform the role better.

In spite of a strong tool base, Disk Drill Pro still has some issues to iron out. The macOS Installer utility, which is intended to create macOS boot volumes, failed to successfully produce a bootable volume after multiple tests. This, along with the Recent Sessions scan manager only sporadically working, and Disk Drill Pro crashing into the spinning rainbow wheel if a process was interrupted, caused the application to have to be force quit and rebooted. Minor issues such as a notification that continuously asked for my iPhone’s passcode to be entered on the device long after the code had been entered seemed strange, and could be worth looking at.

If there’s a single aspect that seems to differentiate Disk Drill Pro from some of its competitors, it’s that while the application has always been viable, it seems to be pickier about the condition a volume can be in for Disk Drill Pro to mount and work with it. Competing programs such as ProSoft’s Data Rescue 6 and Alsoft’s DiskWarrior have long since seemed more capable of working with a drive in worse physical or mechanical condition, mounting them, and working with them until as much data could be rebuilt and recovered as possible. Disk Drill Pro seems to be more attuned to working with volumes in better physical condition that can mount on their own, which might make the competitor’s offerings seem more attractive. Add in the fact that Disk Drill Pro can scatter its rebuilt and recovered data to different categories of folders, which takes a little while to corral together again.


Should you buy Disk Drill Pro?

To its credit, none of these are deal breakers and Disk Drill Pro shines with its strongest features, which revolve around reliable data recovery from a wide variety of devices. This is present in the application’s performance, albeit a coffee-fueled bug hunt some night or weekend would not go amiss. Disk Drill Pro has long received flak for its price point, and it seems as if Cleversoft is finally listening by offering discounts, upgrade prices, and more extensive licensing. The price may still be a bit steep, but it doesn’t make your toes curl, and is getting more in line with what you might expect to pay for a data recovery utility.

It’s never easy when your hard drive decides to go dramatically belly up and/or the way of the dodo, and Disk Drill Pro offers a good solution that needs a bit of work, but seems capable of getting the job done, despite its somewhat rough edges.

Find out how Disk Drill compares to other Data Recovery apps for Mac.

Source : Macworld