2023 Update: How to Recover Unsaved or Lost Adobe Illustrator Files (CC,CS6)

Connie Wisley
time January 03, 2023 Preview 9.1K
share it facebook share it Twitter

Adobe Illustrator is still the king among vector images editors after so many years, it is cool to create and design projects on Adobe Illustrator. Designers or artists may spend several hours even days in Adobe Illustrator to create a satisfactory work. So, whenever an AI file left unsaved or lost, that’s a disaster to the creators.

But you needn’t to redo the AI file if you find a solution to recover unsaved or restore lost Adobe Illustrator AI files. Today, we are going to introduce multiple solutions for AI file recovery on Mac or Windows.

Part 1. Recover Unsaved AI Files in Adobe Illustrator CC or CS6 after Crash

An unsaved AI file may be caused by system crash or irresponsive AI program. Whenever we left an Adobe Illustrator unsaved, we should never give up restoring them. There are 3 ways to recover an unsaved AI file, no matter your AI files are created in AI CC, CS6 or earlier versions.

#1 Recover from AutoSave after Crash

We create and edit files everyday in different file processors, those files cost us time & effort and they are valuable to us. Most of the file processor developers know this too and this is the reason why there is always an AutoSave or AutoRecover feature added to those programs, Adobe Illustrator is not an exception. We can utilize AI AutoSave feature to recover an unsaved AI file.

By default, the AutoSave feature is enabled, you can go to Edit>Preferences>General as following:

ai autosave new

Then go to File Handling &Clipboard, check if the check box before “Automatically Save Recovery Date Every:” is selected. If yes, we can use the AutoSave function now, if not, select it for next possible AI file lose.

ai autosave new interface

Steps to Recover Unsaved AI Files with AutoSave after Crash

  1. Restart Adobe Illustrator program.
  2. In the AutoSave prompt box, click OK to open unsaved AI files again in Adobe Illustrator.autosave launch
  3. Go to File>Save or Save As to recover your unsaved AI files to preferred path. There may be some latest edits won’t be kept in the recovered AI file, but still worth a try.save ai files

In the case that there is no response when you re-launch the AI program, you need to manually find and open the auto saved AI file from following location:

For Windows Users:

C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator [version] Settings\en_US\x64\DataRecovery

For Mac Users:

< your username>/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator [version] Settings/en_US/Adobe Illustrator Prefs

autosave folder

#2 Recover from Temporary Folder

When we are creating or processing a file, a temporary file will be generated to store data before a task is completed, it works a backup in case that a file is left unsaved. To recover unsaved AI files, we can also check our temporary folder, the recovery rate is low, but we don’t have another option.

Steps to Recover Unsaved AI Files from TEMP Folder on Windows

  1. Go to C:\Users\*Your User Name*\AppData\Local\Temp.
  2. Find the unsaved AI file.
  3. Open the AI file with Adobe Illustrator, go to File>Save or Save as to recover.

Steps to Recover Unsaved AI Files from TEMP Folder on Mac

  1. Go to Finder>Application>Terminal, run this command line tool on your mac.
  2. Enter “open $TMPDIR” and press “Enter”.recover from temp mac
  3. Then find and open the unsaved AI file in TEMP folder.
  4. Open and save the AI file with Adobe Illustrator.

#3 Contact Adobe Illustrator Support

If you fail to recover unsaved AI files with above 2 methods, stop launching and writing to your Adobe Illustrator program, get help from Adobe Illustrator staff right now.

You can either ask for help in the Adobe Community or just contact Adobe support, this may take time, but there are many cases that successfully solved by contacting Adobe support.

Part 2. How to Recover Deleted or Lost AI Files on Mac or Windows

But what if you accidentally deleted or lost AI files on Mac or Windows? That would be quite easier to recover as long as you find a professional data recovery program. There are no other solutions to recover a deleted or lost AI file, a data recovery tool is required.

Recover Deleted/Lost AI Files on Mac or Windows

Cisdem Data Recovery is recommended to recover your deleted or lost AI files on Mac and Windows. It supports recovering 200+ types of files, including photos (vector graphics, common images, etc.), videos, audios, documents, archives and so on, regardless that the files are saved on internal or external hard dive or other storage devices. Users are allowed to preview found files before recovery. The data recovery process is extremely easy and fast, you don’t have to know much more about data recovery, Cisdem basically does all the jobs.

Main Features of Cisdem Data Recovery

  • Recover files from internal & external hard drive, USB, SD Card, etc.
  • Support data recovery on 200+ types of files (audio, video, photo, docs, archive, etc.)
  • Restore lost data caused by system crash, deletion, formatting, OS upgrade, etc.
  • Repair videos in mp4, mov, mkv, avi and so on
  • Support APFS, HFS+, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, etc.
  • Use both quick and deep scan modes
  • Preview files before recovery, including video, photo, PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Keynote, Pages, etc.
  • Recover files to local drive or to cloud

How to Recover Deleted/Lost AI Files on Mac and Windows

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery to your Mac or Windows.
    Free Download   Free Download
  2. Go to Disk Data Recovery, select the drive where you deleted or lost the AI files.recover lost ai mac01
  3. Click Search for lost files to start the scanning process, you can go to Type>Pictures>AI folder, check AI files in the folder.recover lost ai mac02
  4. Preview the AI files and select those you want to recover, then click Recover button to restore, you will be able to restore AI files to local drive or to cloud.recover lost ai mac06

Part 3. Tips to Avoid Unsaved or Lost AI Files

It is not 100% for sure that an unsaved or lost AI file can be restored, to avoid any loss, there are multiple tips to prevent your AI files from being unsaved or lost.

Tips to Avoid Unsaved AI Files

An unsaved AI file is mainly caused by program crash or no response, we should always prepare Adobe Illustrator for coming works.

  • Always update to the latest versions
  • Check AutoSave feature is ON or Not
  • Free up system memory for Adobe Illustrator tasks
  • Antivirus scan your device at a regular basis

Tips to Avoid Deleted or Lost AI Files

An AI file may be deleted by mistake. We should be very careful when perform a file deletion.

  • Don’t empty Trash bin immediately after a file deletion
  • Always have a backup for important files
  • Share files to iCloud storage for future use


No one want their files ended with unsaved or deleted, but it cannot be avoided. Whenever we run into an AI file loss, we should never give up and turn our backs on those unsaved or deleted AI files. Have a try on our recommended solutions as above, it may help. And we should notice that, recovering unsaved AI files is totally different thing from recovering deleted/lost AI files, to restore deleted or lost AI files, we have to use a data recovery tool.

Connie Wisley
share it facebook share it Twitter

Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

share it facebook share it Twitter
Comments (0) Leave a Reply

Name *

Comment *

Hot Articles

8 Ways: How to Recover Unsaved or Deleted Excel Files on Mac 3 Steps to Reinstall macOS Ventura, Monterey or Big Sur Without Losing Data Recuva for Mac 2023: How to Download Recuva for Mac and Its Alternatives
Home > 2023 Update: How to Recover Unsaved or Lost Adobe Illustrator Files (CC,CS6)