Final Cut Pro is a popular video editing tool that's been around since 1998. This tool has all the features necessary for post-production and can be used on any Mac device.

However, like any other software product, Final Cut Pro has its flaws. A specific set of unfortunate circumstances can lead to disappearing or deleted projects. Losing projects can be crushing, especially if you're on a deadline and have to deliver the final product by a specific time. Luckily, there are ways you can recover deleted Final Cut Pro projects.

Table of Content
    1. Recover Deleted or Lost FCP Files Using Wondershare Recoverit
    2. Recover Final Cut Pro Project Using the "Recents" Folder
    3. Recover Deleted Final Cut Pro Project From Trash Bin
    4. Restore to the Earlier Version of the Project
    5. Recover Lost Final Cut Pro Projects Using Time Machine

Everything You Need to Know About Final Cut Pro Files

Final Cut Pro files are specifically used for this tool and have the .fcp extension. In other words, no other tool can use these files. There are also .fcpx files, and you might encounter them depending on the version of the program.

final cut pro files

You'll be happy to know that the FCP project recovery methods we share today can be used for FCPX and FCP files. FCP files contain vital video data, including filters, composition nesting, time codes, video clips, etc. The default location for these files is in the movies folder on your Mac.

The key advantage of FCP files is that they provide non-destructive and non-linear editing of all compatible formats. It can also be used for importing projects from iMovie and supports multiple video tracks, multi-camera edits, and unlimited audio tracks.

How Does a Final Cut Pro Project Get Deleted or Lost

There are multiple reasons why your Final Cut Pro Project might get deleted or lost. Regardless of the cause, the issue is the same, and being unable to access the project you've worked on for hours can be annoying. Here are some of the most common causes of these issues:

  • 📁 System and file issues: hard drive failure or bad sectors, update issues, damaged programs, file system errors, or faulty file management can all cause missing FCP projects;
  • ➰ Loss of connection: if you save your files to external devices like USB storage or an external hard drive, you might lose the project because of connection issues or sudden disconnection;
  • ❌ Human mistakes: deleting your project by accident or saving it improperly could easily mean losing that file forever;
  • 💻 Sudden crashes: if you're in the middle of working on a project and your computer suddenly restarts, crashes, or loses power, you might lose that project.

How To Recover Deleted or Lost Final Cut Pro Project

Here are all the proven methods you can use to recover deleted or lost FCP project files:

Method 1: Recover Deleted or Lost FCP Files Using Wondershare Recoverit

Wondershare Recoverit is a professional data recovery software that can easily and quickly recover lost or deleted files from your Windows and Mac computer. No matter how your files got deleted, Wondershare Recoverit can restore them, and that includes recovering deleted or lost Final Cut Pro projects.

Wondershare Recoverit
  • Recovers lost files, photos, videos, music, and other 1000+ file types effectively and safely.
  • Manages over 500 data loss situations, such as deletion, formatting, and disk corruption.
  • The user-friendly interface allows you to recover data in just a few clicks.
recoverit box recoverit logo

Before you can start recovering your Final cut pro projects, you will have to download and install Wondershare Recoverit. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Launch Wondershare Recoverit, click Hard Drives and Location on the left panel, select the drive where your FCP project was saved.
    select the fcp saved location
  2. Recoverit will start scanning the selected drive, and you can see the progress in the bottom left corner.
    scan for lost final cut pro project
  3. If you know the Image name, you can search for it in the search box located in the upper-right corner.
    search for the final cut pro project
  4. If Recoverit has found the desired file, you don't have to wait for the whole scan to be complete. Just click the stop button.
  5. You can preview the file to ensure it's the one you want.
    preview the recoverable file
  6. Once you've discovered the right FCP file, click Recover and select the path where you want to save it.
    save the recovered final cut pro project
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Method 2: Recover Final Cut Pro Project Using the "Recents" Folder

There's a good chance your project files aren't lost forever. Mac devices have a "Recents" folder that stores all the recently moved, opened, modified, or created files. Here's how you can find the Recents folder and, hopefully, your FCP files:

  1. Click on the Finder icon.
    access finder on mac
  2. Click Recents on the sidebar tab on the left and select the Recents category.
  3. Type ".fcp" in the search bar located in the upper right corner.
    find fpc files in finder
  4. If you've discovered your project files, simply copy them back into the projects folder.

Method 3: Recover Deleted Final Cut Pro Project From Trash Bin

If you've accidentally deleted the Final Cut Pro Projects on your Mac, there's a good chance they are still in the Trash Bin. Most people delete files on Mac by dragging them to Trash, but you should know that these files are kept for 30 days before being permanently deleted.

Here's how to recover your FCP project from Trash:

  1. Click the Trash icon or Press the Command and Spacebar buttons to enter the Terminal. When you've accessed the Terminal, type "open.trash."
    access trash on mac
  2. Locate your project files, right-click them, click Put Back, and they will be restored to their original location.
    recover deleted final cut pro project from trash

Method 4: Restore to the Earlier Version of the Project

Final Cut Pro is a professional tool that has an automatic backup feature. Even though it won't save your project in every scenario it's worth trying it out. Final Cut Pro creates automatic backups every half hour and you can use it to restore the previous versions of your project.

In other words, you won't be able to get the latest version, but at least you won't lose the whole project and all the work you've done on it. Here's how to restore your project:

  1. Launch Final Cut Pro and select the project library you're missing in the library sidebar on the left side.
    select library in final cut pro
  2. Click File, Open Library, and then From Backup.
    open library from backup in fcp
  3. Click Restore From, select the latest backup, and click Open.
    restore backup fuels in fcp

Method 5: Recover Lost Final Cut Pro Projects Using Time Machine

Time Machine is the default backup software all Mac devices have. If you've enabled automatic backups on your Time Machine, there's a good chance you can recover deleted or lost Final Cut Pro projects. Here's how to do it:

  1. Locate your menu bar and click the Time Machine icon in the upper-right corner. (You can also find Time Machine in Launchpad or the Dock.)
    access time machine on mac
  2. Search for the files in the upper right corner.
    search fcp files in time machine
  3. Select the files you want to recover and click Restore. (if you discovered files)
    restore lost fcp files using time machine

How To Avoid Losing Final Cut Projects in the Future

Losing important FCP projects you've worked on for a long time can be really bad. That's why you need to set in place some positive habits that will reduce the chances of losing or deleting project files forever. Here's what you should do:

  • Avoid using other programs while using FCP to edit videos. That ensures your device has enough memory and reduces the chances of system freezes or crashes;
  • Update your FCP, other apps, and macOS regularly;
  • Enable the FCP auto-backup feature;
  • Use Time Machine to back up your files regularly.


The most reliable method for restoring your deleted or missing Final Cut Pro projects is to use Wondershare Recoverit. However, you can also use Time Machine recovery, look for the files in Trash, restore using previous versions in FCP, or check the Recents folder.

It's important to act as soon as possible when noticing your project is missing. The longer you wait, the higher your chances of losing those files. We hope this guide helps you restore your missing FCP project files.

FAQs About Final Cut Pro Project Recovery

  • Where are Final Cut Pro Projects stored?
    Files used in the FCP library or referenced or stored within the library file. All of the content is stored in the Library by default. You can file all original media, presets, project files, and render files in this folder.
  • Why can't I find my Final Cut Project?
    If you can't find your FCP project, it‘s probably because you've moved it to another location or accidentally deleted it. There's also a chance your drive is corrupted or the file was lost during a computer crash.
  • Can you delete and redownload Final Cut Pro?
    Yes, you can delete Final Cut Pro from the Applications section and then redownload it from the App Store.
  • Can you recover deleted Final Cut Pro projects?
    Yes, you can recover deleted FCP projects using Wondershare Recoverit.
    1. Download, install, and launch Wondershare Recoverit on your Mac computer.
    2. Select the drive where the FCP projects are stored, and click Scan.
    3. Wait for the scanning process to complete
    4. Find and select the Final Cut Pro projects you want to recover, and click Recover.
    5. Choose a new location to save the recovered FCP files.
Amy Dennis
Amy Dennis Jun 14, 24
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