This is a review of M3 Data Recovery, a data recovery tool for Mac and Windows.
I write software reviews and how-tos for business users and have offered IT training and support for decades. I’ve taken an in-depth look at M3 Data Recovery to let you know how likely it is to recover your lost data.
I found M3 Data Recovery to be a little slow with its scans. It’s certainly able to locate lost files, but in my informal test seemed to locate far less than other recovery apps. However, its support for BitLocker-encrypted drives may interest some users.
In this M3 Data Recovery review, I’ll explore the types of data the application can restore, how long this is likely to take, and weigh up your chance of success. Let’s get started.
M3 Data Recovery Overview
M3 Data Recovery can recover lost or deleted files from your Mac or PC’s hard drive and other storage devices. A distinguishing feature is that the Windows Professional and Technical editions are capable of recovering data from BitLocker-encrypted drives.
There’s a confusing array of options. The Windows version is a one-off purchase while the Mac version is a subscription.
- M3 Data Recovery for Windows Standard Edition: $69.95, doesn’t support BitLocker data recovery or Windows Server, lifetime license for one computer
- M3 Data Recovery for Windows Professional Edition: $119, supports BitLocker data recovery and Windows Server, lifetime license for two computers
- M3 Data Recovery for Windows Technician Edition: $299, same features as Professional, lifetime license for five computers at a time
- M3 RAW Drive Recovery for Windows Pro: $89.95, license for one computer
- M3 RAW Drive Recovery Server: $159, license for one server
- M3 Data Recovery for Mac 1-month: $89.95/month, license for one Mac
- M3 Data Recovery for Mac 1-year: $109.95/year, license for one Mac
- M3 Data Recovery for Mac Lifetime: $169.95 lifetime, license for one Mac
- M3 Data Recovery for Mac Technician Edition: three plans from $299/year, license for five Macs at a time
In this review, we’ll cover M3 Data Recovery for Mac. A free trial will show you if your files can be recovered before paying for the application and allows you to recover up to 1 GB of data. The free Mac trial can scan APFS-formatted drives but is unable to recover the data without payment.
Deleted files are not actually removed from the drive, they are simply marked as deleted. The space they occupy becomes available to new files, and in time they’re likely to be overwritten.
Methods of data recovery offered:
- Data Recovery Mode offers quick scans and deep scans to retrieve files from formatted and damaged partitions as well as data lost from system crashes
- Lost Partition Recovery Mode finds lost and deleted partitions and restores the files that were on them
Supported storage media: Hard drives, external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, CF cards, MicroSD, SDHC, memory cards, memory sticks, micro cards, pen drives, and more. RAID arrays are not supported.
Disclaimer: It is difficult to recover data from solid-state drives (SSDs). The TRIM technology that increases their efficiency also makes it impossible to recover your files once the trash has been emptied.
Supported file systems:
- Windows: NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, but not Apple formats
- Mac: APFS, encrypted APFS, HFS, HFS+, FAT32, exFAT, but not the Windows formats
- The company’s iBoysoft NTFS for Mac product will give your Mac access to Windows NTFS formatted drives. 
- The company’s M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac will give your Mac access to Windows BitLocker-encrypted drives. 
Supported file types: 300+ file types, including popular document, photo, video, and audio formats.
M3 Data Recovery offers a number of additional features:
- Sorting and searching the files located to narrow down the results to a more manageable number
- Previewing located files
- Saving scans for recovery at a later time
- Bootable recovery drive
- Data recovery from BitLocker-encrypted drives (Windows Professional and Technician only)
However, it lacks a few features offered by some other recovery applications:
- Pause and resume
- Recovery Vault to store deleted files for guaranteed recovery
- Imaging and cloning
- File overwriting (secure delete)
- Deleting duplicates and other cleanup features
- SMART monitoring for early warning of failing hard drives
- Mail-in recovery service
Setup and installation are straightforward. No technical knowledge is required to locate and recover your lost files.
Scanning for lost files can be time-consuming. M3 Data Recovery took 13 minutes to scan a 4 GB USB flash drive, a little quicker than the initial 17-minute estimate.
This is slower than the other Mac data recovery apps I tested. Many took just four or five minutes to scan the same drive, and the slower alternatives took nine and ten minutes.
Data recovery can never be guaranteed. How successful is M3 Data Recovery? It located 828 files in total on my flash drive, but that count included both existing and deleted files. Once I set the app to display deleted files only, just 81 files were listed, which is far fewer than other apps I tested.
M3 Data Recovery is not included in any comparative industry tests that I’m aware of. One reviewer who tested the app was unable to locate the test files he deleted among the long list of located files. Another user rated the application on 3.2 stars on Trustpilot because it was unable to recover his lost data. 
The M3 Data Recovery Support Center  offers a number of FAQs, user guides, and how-to articles. The support team can be contacted via email.
Is M3 Data Recovery safe?
Yes. Scanning for lost data won’t overwrite your existing data and Bitdefender Virus Scanner found no malware.
Is M3 Data Recovery really free?
Not really. You can recover 1 GB of data for free (unless it’s on an APFS drive), but to recover more you need to purchase a license.
If M3 Data Recovery isn’t right for you, here are some alternatives I recommend.
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
EaseUS Data Recovery offers an easy-to-use wizard that will scan your drive quickly for lost files. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
Stellar Data Recovery
Stellar Data Recovery is an easy-to-use but more thorough application with a wide variety of features. It’s available on both Windows and Mac.
R-Studio is an advanced tool suitable for data recovery professionals. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
I can’t recommend M3 Data Recovery. It’s relatively expensive, slower than other data recovery apps, and doesn’t seem to locate as many lost files. However, its support for BitLocker-encrypted drives may interest some users.
Instead, I encourage you to scan for your lost data using the free trial of the alternatives I recommend above. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is fast while Stellar Data Recovery is more thorough. R-Studio is an advanced tool that’s more difficult to use but offers the best chance of recovering your lost data.