Hard drives fail, and they eventually will. It doesn’t matter whether your Mac is with a spinning hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). Data shows that 22% of hard drives fail in their first four years.
Is there anything we can do to extend a hard drive’s life? Yes, plenty of. However, you never know when your Mac drive is going to fail or crash. And when that happens, it’s usually a disaster for all the files you’ve saved on that drive (if you don’t have a backup).
So, what can you do to prevent it? Two things — check the drive health, and back up the data on a regular basis. It may sound simple, but it can be challenging to well execute the two little tasks.
For data backup, we recommend Time Machine (the built-in app already exists on your Mac) and use a Mac drive clone software as a secondary backup solution.
Today, we’re going to show you some great apps to check Mac hard drive health, from speed testing, disk verifying/monitoring/repairing, to bad sector checking, we cover them all.
Note: the following apps not only health check the internal drive of your Mac, they also work for external hard drives, SD cards, USB flash drives, etc. as long as they are connected to your Mac computer.
1. Disk Utility
- Best for: checking whether a disk is about to fail
- Price: free
The first thing you can do is to check the S.M.A.R.T. Status with the built-in Disk Utility on macOS. SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is an internal monitoring system that is included in almost all Mac hard drives (HDDs and SSDs).
S.M.A.R.T helps you get a basic idea of the health of your Mac drive. How to identify? Just open Disk Utility. Highlight the hard disk name on the left, then check the status from the table (see above). If it shows “Verified”, that means your hard drive is not failing.
Otherwise, you may need to replace it right away. If your budget allows, consider upgrading to an SSD.
Next, check disk errors with First Aid. If your Mac is with OS X El Capitan or later (including the latest macOS), select Macintosh HD on the left and click on First Aid. A new window will pop up asking you whether you’d like to run, just hit yes to continue.
Note: For OS X Yosemite or older versions, use the two buttons on the right corner “Verify Disk” and “Repair Disk” instead.
2. CleanMyMac X
- Best for: repairing disk permissions on Mac
- Price: free trial available ($89.95 to buy)
CleanMyMac X is mainly used to help clean up your Mac and make more room on your almost full hard drive (or SSD).
The app deep scans and cleans your Mac system and can free up tons of disk space. To verify your Mac’s startup disk, all you have to do is open the app, go to Maintenance > Repair Disk Permissions and click “Run”.
In addition, you can use CleanMyMac to do a number of other things like finding old & large files, clearing up Photos junk, removing extensions, uninstalling Mac apps in batch, and more.
3. Blackmagic Disk Speed Test
- Best for: testing the read/write speed of your Mac drive
- Price: free
If you feel your Mac hard drive (or solid-state drive) is slow to respond, it’s good practice to test its write/read speed and benchmark with the industry standard. You’ll love this free app made by Blackmagic.
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test is an amazing yet simple-to-use app that allows you to quickly benchmark and certify your Mac drive performance.
After installing the application on your Mac, open it, and next, click on the START button located in the center. Soon you’ll see the numbers shown on two speedometer circles.
Note: it’s best to quit all other active apps before using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, this helps get more accurate data.
- Best for: monitoring the SMART status of a Mac disk
- Price: free 7-day trial
iStat Menus is an advanced Mac system monitor for the macOS menu bar. It can notify you for a wide range of events that you care, such as the usage of GPU, memory, disks, network, sensors, battery, power, and more.
Also, you can rely on disk monitoring tools to monitor the SMART status on your Mac hard drives or SSDs. Although it won’t avoid your Mac drive from failing, you can use it as an indicator of potential disk problems before they occur.
New update: unfortunately, iStat Menus won’t work with Macs with flash storage (all models shipped in 2016 or later) due to the fact that Apple no longer allows third-party software tools to check the SMART status of an SSD.
- Best for: checking disk stats and cleaning hidden junk on external drives
- Price: free
CleanMyDrive is another useful app to check disk health on Mac and it’s totally free. The app is more like a lightweight drive manager for both internal Macintosh drives and external disks.
You can use it to check your hard drive status, e.g. a visual look at how your drive is used, and how many junk files exist. If CleanMyDrive detects any hidden junk, you can use the app to clean them automatically within a few clicks.
That’s all that we wanted to share. I hope you have picked up some of these apps and good luck keeping your Mac drive in good shape.