Skip navigation

How to recover sony ARW files deleted by Aperture after importing?

1047 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jul 17, 2013 6:05 AM by Frank Caggiano RSS
Wanderzhuanyou Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 15, 2013 1:43 AM

I imported some Sony RAW photos (in .ARW format, shot by Sony Nex 6) from a SDXC card into Aperture library with my MacBook Pro, and as usual I let Aperture deleted the files on the SDXC card (i.e. I did not deleted the files using Finder).  Unfortunately I accidentally deleted the imported ARW files (as masters in the Aperture library) by Carbon Capy Cloner (I made a copy in the wrong direction after editing the photos).  Now I am trying to recover those ARW files.  I used several Photo recovery software but they do not recognize any deleted ARW files on the SD card (nor on my hard drive). The best result was from Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery software, which recognizes those deleted ARW files as NEF files but the size of each photo is only 32KB (it shows the photo in its preview).  I recovered them, but no software can open those 32KB NEF files.  It appears to me that Aperture somehow deleted the ARW files on the SD card in a way (very different from Finder deletion) that photo recovery software can't recognize them.  Any suggestions?  Thanks in advance.

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4)
  • Keith Barkley Level 5 Level 5 (5,140 points)

    Yes, change your workflow. You should not have Aperture or any other program delete the images from the card or computer. Verify the import and then manually delete or re-format.


    Card/Camera deletion is different than Finder "Move to Trash", because the whole point is to reclaim space on the card. In the finder you (should!) have the luxury of a lot of extra hard drive space, so keeping deleted files in the trash for a while is not a big deal.


    Your only solution is the recovery software.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,375 points)

    The best result was from Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery software, which recognizes those deleted ARW files as NEF files but the size of each photo is only 32KB (it shows the photo in its preview).

    Have you tried to use the Recovery Software on your harddrive? Or have you completely wiped the drive when you carbone cloned in the wrong direction?

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,760 points)

    When you clone one drive (the source) onto another (the destination) the destination drive is for all intents and purposes erased and formatted by the cloning operation before the data from the source is copied onto it.


    So unless you are willing to spend a good deal of money sending the drive out to a recovery company and even then the results will probably not be good, forget about trying to recover from the HD.


    You'll stand a better chance of trying to get them off the cards.


    Sorry the news isn;t better,



  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,760 points)

    Sounds like the Sony is doing some deep level of erase/format when you delete an image from the card.


    You might have better luck attacking this from the Sony end. See if you can find any information, either from Sony or the web, that discusses the way Sony is erasing the images and if anyone has had success retrieving them.


    Recovering the images from the card is really not an Aperture issue. When Aperture deletes images from a card installed in a camera Aperture basically gives the erase/delete command to the camera and the camera does the operation. You need to figure out what Sony is doing.


    good luck



  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,550 points)

    Could be a card reader (not the camera).

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,760 points)

    True and that would change things but this from the OP's last post



    I tested with Stellar on a new card.  I shot some ARW photos and format the card on my NEX 6 camera, then try to recover them with Stellar.


    Seems to indicate, in the test at least, the card was erased/formatted in the camera.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,760 points)

    Have you tried doing a search for recover sony arw files from card (or something similar) in Google?


    Seems to be a number of products and suggestions out there.


    Message was edited by: Frank Caggiano - After looking at  few hits from that search it seems a lot of folk say stellar didn't work but a program called REMO did.


    See Recover Sony ARW files - Remo Software

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,375 points)

    ARW is a general format name for Sony raw files. Each Sony camera has its own ARW format.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,760 points)

    Unfortunately if both of those programs failed to recover your files you may have to come to accept the fact that they are gone for good unless you want to enlist the services of a professional data recovery service.




More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.