How to Check Disk Health on Mac with smartctl

Apr 10, 2024 - 2 Comments

smartctl for checking Mac drive health

There are various ways to check the health of a hard disk drive (HDD) and solid state drive (SSD) that is used on a Mac with drives that support SMART, which stands for Self-Monitoring Analysis Reporting Technology. These options range from fairly simple using Disk Utility to check the SMART status of a drive, to much more complex with third party tools like DriveDX.

We’re going to introduce another excellent option for Mac users to monitor and analyze the health of their storage devices, using a command line tool called “smartctl”.

The smartctl utility will check SMART status self-assessments of drive health, provide the temperature of internal drives, as well as offer read and write information (which is relevant particularly for SSDs), and general drive health analysis.

How to Use smartctl to Check Mac Drive Health

To get started with smartctl, you need to install it with HomeBrew first. Yes that means you’ll want to install Homebrew if you haven’t done so already (here are instructions for macOS Sonoma, Ventura, and later).

Open the Terminal application if you have not done so already to begin.

First, install smartctl:
brew install smartmontools

After Homebrew completes the installation of the smartctl package, you are ready to use the utility to display information about your disk device and drive health:

smartctl -a disk0

(Replace disk0 with disk1, disk2, etc if you have multiple drives and want to check those instead)

You’ll get a report back in the command line that may read something like the following:

% sudo smartctl -a disk0
smartctl 7.4 2023-08-01 r5530 [Darwin 23.4.0 arm64] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-23, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,


Model Number: APPLE SSD AP1024Z

Serial Number: 0ea8r31b280003

Firmware Version: 373.100.

PCI Vendor/Subsystem ID: 0x106b

IEEE OUI Identifier: 0x000000

Controller ID: 0

NVMe Version: 1.2

Number of Namespaces: 3

Local Time is: Wed Apr 10 01:11:24 2024 PDT

Firmware Updates (0x02): 1 Slot

Optional Admin Commands (0x0004): Frmw_DL

Optional NVM Commands (0x0004): DS_Mngmt

Maximum Data Transfer Size: 256 Pages

Supported Power States
St Op Max Active Idle RL RT WL WT Ent_Lat Ex_Lat
0 + 0.00W - - 0 0 0 0 0 0

SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

SMART/Health Information (NVMe Log 0x02)

Critical Warning: 0x00

Temperature: 41 Celsius

Available Spare: 100%

Available Spare Threshold: 99%

Percentage Used: 2%

Data Units Read: 471,985,722 [241 TB]

Data Units Written: 102,955,161 [52.7 TB]

Host Read Commands: 13,949,509,366

Host Write Commands: 1,322,749,058

Controller Busy Time: 0

Power Cycles: 255

Power On Hours: 1,514

Unsafe Shutdowns: 5

Media and Data Integrity Errors: 0

Error Information Log Entries: 0

Read 1 entries from Error Information Log failed: GetLogPage failed: system=0x38, sub=0x0, code=745

As you can see, a lot of helpful and revealing information is provided by smartctl, including temperature, disk read/write info, unsafe shutdowns (crashes or power situations), power cycles, hours of the drive on, and much more.

One section you will particularly want to pay attention to when checking drive health is the “SMART overall-health self-assessment test result” section, which you will want to say PASSED. If that says FAILED, you will want to backup your data right away, because the disk may soon fail, which could result in catastrophic data loss.

Whatever the case, whether the drive is healthy or not, and passes SMART checks or not, make it a habit to setup Time Machine and routinely backup your Mac. Backing up your computer is one of the most important things you can do, because without backups, if there’s a catastrophic drive failure, damage to the computer, loss, or theft, your data is gone too. Don’t be in that situation, think of backups like an insurance policy – well worth the premium!

Do you use smartctl or any other SMART monitoring tools to check the health of your disk drive? What do you think of these features? Let us know in the comments.


Related articles:

Posted by: Jamie Cuevas in Command Line, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Aardvark says:

    does not work for attached USB drives

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