Storage devices of yesteryear were mostly problematic and seemed to have an innate failure function– storage would fail at the worst possible time, and it didn’t matter if it was floppy disk, Zip disk, hard disk drive, or flash drive. Today’s Macs are mostly about SSDs– solid state drives– so without moving parts there should be fewer failures, right? That seems to be the case but, well, stuff happens.
Earlier this year I wrote about an interesting Mac app called SMARTReporter which would check a hard disk to see if it was performing correctly, and issue warnings if necessary. Even though science is involved, hard disk drives seem to have elements of the evil encased within and would still fail even after getting a clean bill of health.
Enter SSDReporter which provides a health check for SSDs, those solid state flash drives in all Mac notebooks and the Mac Pro. As was the case with SMARTReporter and all such S.M.A.R.T technology built into modern disk drives, there are caveats, but ease of use is not one of them.
Even today’s newest SSDs have a limited life-time which often– not always– is determined by the number of write operations it makes. The idea behind SSDReporter is to monitor the SSD and give you an email notification or on-screen pop up whenever the SSD’s health– whatever that is– deteriorates.
The Menubar icon is your first clue, though. Green is good. Yellow is a warning. Red is bad. Very bad.
Settings, though, are simple and straightforward. Set the check interval, adjust the failing or warning thresholds, select an appropriate display location and alert icon.
So, does SSDReporter work?
That’s the problem. You’ll only know in one of two ways. Try it. If it warns you, and you save your data, great. If it doesn’t warn you, and nothing happens to your SSD, great. If it doesn’t warn you and you SSD dies, well, not so great.
The list of caveats is long so check the Limitations & Compatibility items first. For example, only internal Mac SSDs are support, not USB or FireWire external SSDs. The internal SSD’s need to support the S.M.A.R.T standard. Not all do.
Additionally, there are specific Mac models with SSDs that do not work. Trial and error is your friend, but so is the SSDReporter Limitations list. The early and recent new 12-inch MacBooks? Nope. The new MacBook Pro models? Nope.
Modern technology seems to have improved over the years, and though I have backups of every Mac’s disk drive or SSD in the Mincey plantation, it’s been a few years since a 3.5-inch hard disk drive failed, and I’ve never had an SSD fail; Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
But there’s always a first time.