Mac users can easily check the SMART status of their hard drives and internal disk storage by using Disk Utility in Mac OS, offering a simple way to see if the disk hardware itself is in good health or is experiencing a hardware issue.
This article will walk you through how to check SMART status on hard disks in Mac OS, and it works with both SSD and HDD volumes. Checking SMART status of a drive can give you actionable information about whether a disk is about to fail and therefore is in need of an urgent data backup and drive replacement.
SMART, which stands for Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology System, is a mechanism for reporting disk health or disk problems to the operating system, and SMART status can tell you if a drive is failing or has some other fatal error to the actual disk hardware, providing a very clear indicator that it’s time to urgently backup all important data and then replace the failing drive.
As you can imagine, SMART status of a disk is quite important, and if you want to know whether a disk is about to fail then checking SMART status is perhaps one of the simplest and easiest ways to know.
How to Check SMART Status of Disk Drives on Mac OS
This trick works the same on all modern versions of MacOS and Mac OS System software with the Disk Utility application. Here’s how it works:
- Open “Disk Utility” on the Mac, Disk Utility is found in the /Applications/Utilities/ folder
- Select the disk from the list at the left of the Disk Utility screen (select the actual main disk, not a partition)*
- Look for the “S.M.A.R.T. Status” of the disk information overview in Disk Utility
- If the SMART Status says “Verified” the drive is in good health
- If S.M.A.R.T. Status says “Failing” the drive urgently needs to be backed up and replaced **
- If you see any message stating the disk has a fatal hardware error or problem, the drive is also going to fail soon and needs to be backed up and replaced ASAP
A SMART Status of “Failing” or any hardware error message is an urgent problem because the disk drive will soon cease to function entirely, leading to permanent data loss.
It’s a good habit to routinely backup a Mac with Time Machine or another backup option anyway, but it’s extra important to immediately backup if you see any failing message pertaining to SMART Status or any other fatal error in the Disk Utility app.
You can also run First Aid and verify and repair drives in Disk Utility on the Mac, but issues that are repairable by Disk Utility are almost never SMART failures or any other hardware problem.
SMART Status reports no errors, but the disk is having a problem
If you are experiencing strange disk issues but the SMART Status reports as “Verified” with no error messages, then you can try and verify and repair the disk with Disk Utility from Recovery mode, or with fsck from Single User Mode or the Recovery mode Terminal.
Having a routine of checking, verifying, and repairing a disk, as well as backing up the Mac, are good general Mac maintenance tips that should be followed anyway.
Help, I can’t see my disk / drive in Disk Utility at all!
If the disk or drive is not showing up in Disk Utility at all, and you’re looking at Disk Utility from another volume or boot drive, that suggests either one of the following: the drive has already failed, is periodically failing and will soon completely fail, or at best the disk is somehow not connected physically (highly unlikely but vaguely possible that an internal connection came loose).
Note that not all external drives and external disk enclosures include support for SMART status, so some volumes may not report any SMART finding or information.
* The actual disk drives usually have a name that is related to the manufacturer of the disk itself. For the example, “APPLE SSD SM0512G Media” would be the drive, whereas “Macintosh HD” would be a partition on that drive, thus you’d want to select the “APPLE SSD SM0512G” option rather than any partition.
** The simplest way to back up a Mac hard drive is with Time Machine. It is absolutely critical to backup a failing disk, as not doing so can and will result in permanent data loss. If you are not sure what to do, contact an authorized Apple Support center or official Apple Support. A failing disk is a hardware problem and indicates the drive itself must be replaced with a new disk.
Do you know of any other helpful tips for checking SMART status, or examining hard drive issues or checking for an impending disk failure in Mac OS? Share your own tools, tips, and experiences in the comments below!