Super cool hidden Mac Feature: Undelete file back to original location

When I bought a mac 5 or 6 years ago, I was astounded and disappointed to see an old and oft-used feature from Windows was missing in what was touted to be such a user friendly platform.  Undelete.  Yes, you can sift through the OS X trash can and find things you’ve deleted, but you can’t get them to pop back to their original location, which is a serious, serious pain in the butt.  Where’d it come from?  With Windows, you undelete and it just goes back to where it came from.

Searching on Mac forums to find a solution, I didn’t see one.  I saw convoluted and ridiculous (as usual) workarounds from fanboys and admonishments to not delete things period.  Wow.  Turns out, OS X only suffers from lacking PR in this area: the feature exists!

Why it’s not touted or publicized enough that people know it, I don’t know, but there is indeed a working undelete function in OS X!  Yay.

Here’s how you do it:

1) Go to the trash folder

2) Click the file(s) you deleted that you want to restore to the original location

3) Right click and select: Put back.

or if you’d like, you can Delete the file from trash and instead of it erasing the file, it pops it right back to the previous location.  So either click command+delete, or use the red delete icon (if you’ve enabled that in the finder toolbar) and it restores your file.

Screenshot: How to undelete Finder Files from Mac OSX Trash

Screenshot: How to undelete and put back Finder Files from Mac OSX Trash to former location

Holy crap!  You mean it’s been hiding under my nose this whole time?  Apple forum apologists were defending Apple for not including a necessary feature that they actually DID include? Maybe if they’d stop being so defensive, they’d realize this feature exist and publicize it.  This solves one of my top 10 OS X peeves, and I’m thrilled.

Please share this so your Apple friends and Windows switchers know that you can restore files almost as easily as you could in Windows in OS X.



There are some caveats.

1) The delete has to have occured inside finder and not inside an application

2) The file needs to be on an indexed drive

3) There is still no way to sort trash files by useful columns such as “Date Deleted” or “Original Location”

So while it’s nice that they (re)introduced this feature with Snow Leopard, it still needs work to be as useful as it could.