Thursday, February 2, 2023
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How to defrag a Mac (and why you don’t need to)

So your Mac isn’t appearing as nicely because it used to and wishes a pace boost. You assume lower back to what you used to do in your vintage PC and take into account disk defragging – that ought to have the equal impact on Macs, right? After all, it made your vintage PC run plenty faster.

Windows has usually had disk defragging software program – in reality, Windows 10 (and Windows eight and Windows 7) routinely defrags on a weekly basis (you’ll locate it stated as “Optimise Disk” in latest OS release, you may modify how frequently those defrags happen).

Apple, on the alternative hand, has by no means protected defragging software program in macOS. “Why’s that?” you could ask. Well, there are some of motives why Macs don’t provide a defrag function:

  • Macs don’t usually revel in the form of fragmentation that Windows PCs are inclined to.
  • Modern Macs defrag documents routinely, they’ve finished this considering that OS X 10.2 released in 2002.
  • Defragging can harm a power due to the fact transferring documents round wears the power out.
  • If you’ve got got an SSD defragging will haven’t any blessings and could harm your power.

In this newsletter we are able to provide an explanation for why you likely don’t want to defrag your Mac, the uncommon events while you would possibly want to defrag a Mac, what would possibly actually be inflicting the problems you’re facing, and the way to defrag a Mac if that’s what wishes doing after all.

But earlier than we pass directly to that, we’ll begin via way of means of explaining how information is written to a power, why PCs want to be defragged, and why matters are distinctive for Macs.

Why a few PCs want to be defragged

When a document is stored to a PC difficult power it fills the to be had area in an green way. If you’ve been the usage of a disk for a long term there can be masses of gaps left via way of means of documents you’ve got got deleted, as opposed to leaving those gaps vacant, whilst you store a document Windows will placed it to any such gaps.

 (Kind of like withinside the picture below, which by the way is of a Mac app this is not to be had).

If you need to store a massive document – a video, for example – it’d want to be spread, or fragmented, over some of those gaps. 

The PC is aware of in which the components of the document are, however if there are plenty of fragmented documents it is able to take a long term for it to locate all of the important components earlier than establishing the document.

How to defrag a Mac: iDefrag

By defragging the power the documents are all shuffled lower back a good way to fill any holes which have seemed while documents have been deleted – which ought to keep away from documents being fragmented in future – and fragmented documents are placed together.

This best applies to difficult drives though, and now no longer as an awful lot because it used to: NTFS (the greater current filesystem) doesn’t generally tend closer to fragmentation as an awful lot as FAT-32 did (the older document gadget).

Also, current SSDs (aka Flash drives) don’t want to be defragged, in reality doing so can harm them, as we are able to provide an explanation for below.

Why Macs don’t want to be defragged

As we’ll provide an explanation for below, you likely don’t want to defrag your Mac. If any of the subsequent applies to you we’d advise that defraging isn’t the answer on your trouble:

  • Your Mac running gadget does now no longer predate 2002 (if it does are we able to advise you replace your Mac!)
  • Your Mac has an SSD.

If you’re going for walks High Sierra or Mojave, and your document gadget has been modified to Apple’s more recent APFS, you’ll now no longer be capable of use any 1/3 celebration equipment to defrag your Mac as there are none that work.

Mac do now no longer want to be defragmented due to the fact the document gadget (to begin with HFS+ and greater lately APFS) prevents fragmentation and routinely defrags documents if important – if the document has greater than 8 fragments, or is smaller than 20MB, it will likely be routinely defragged.

HFS+, which turned into added in 1998, ought to defrag documents at the fly way to Hot File Clustering. 

Then in Mac OS X 10.2, which arrived in 2002, the gadget were given even cleverer at warding off fragmentation. A 12 months later, in 2003, Hot File Adaptive Clustering arrived, which identifies documents which are regularly accessed however hardly ever up to date and actions them to a unique place of the power, defragging them throughout the process

Apple then added APFS (Apple File System) in High Sierra in 2017. APFS turned into to begin with best to be had on SSDs (which as we’ve already said, shouldn’t be defragged anyway), however it arrived on difficult drives and Fusion drives in 2018 with Mojave.

 Like its predecessor, APFS routinely defragments your power at the fly, even though it works a bit otherwise because it creates snapshots of documents so that you can get entry to distinctive variations of the equal documents.

The businesses that make equipment for defragging Macs whinge that Apple hasn’t issued enough facts approximately how APFS works for them if you want to be capable of provide equipment to defrag the brand new submitting gadget. No doubt Apple’s reaction to that could be that APFS will now no longer advantage from defragging.

Chances are that in case you are having a trouble together along with your Mac it’s far unrelated to fragmented documents. Luckily Macs have some of equipment in Disk Utility for troubleshooting and solving numerous troubles together along with your gadget, so it’s really well worth having a glance there. We have this manual to the usage of Disk Utility right here, and additionally numerous troubleshooting hints for solving a Mac.

When Macs want to be defragged

The best motive you would possibly want to defrag your Mac is that if the subsequent applies:

  • Your Mac has a difficult power.
  • You are going for walks out of garage area (we usually propose retaining 10% of your garage loose).
  • You are regularly saving mainly massive documents, extra than 1GB.

One motive why a difficult power would possibly gradual down if documents are mainly fragmented is as it has transferring components (not like an SSD) and it has to transport the top round to study the distinctive bits of the document you need to open.

If you’ve got got much less than 10% of your garage loose the Mac will now no longer be capable of carry out automated defragmentation. In this case, as opposed to trying to defrag it is probably higher to delete a few documents, or maybe wipe your Mac and do a smooth deployation.

On that latter point, a few Mac customers choose to do a smooth deployation earlier than a first-rate OS replace a good way to enhance performance, and doing so will efficaciously defrag your Mac.

How to defrag a Mac

Sure you want to defrag your Mac notwithstanding all of the above? There are some apps a good way to be glad to help.

However, a number of the equipment that have been evolved for the cause of defragging Macs are not in improvement. 

One such device turned into iDefrag, made via way of means of Coriolis Systems, however that employer stopped improvement following the mass adoption of SSDs while the release of macOS 10.thirteen High Sierra offered APFS.

Tech Tool Pro 11

While Tech Tool Pro doesn’t aid defragmenting for APFS volumes, and does now no longer propose its use for an SSD, it’s far able to defragmenting man or woman documents on a difficult power. It has numerous different capabilities and is Mojave compatible, apparently.

A complete model of the app costs £124.ninety nine from Micromat

Drive Genius five

Prosoft Engineering’s Drive Genius gives to defrag your Mac. It will display you a graphical illustration of ways fragmented your extent is and could then provide to defrag, or reorganize, the fragmented documents, irrespective of length or fragmentation level. 

There are 18 distinctive capabilities supplied further to defragmentation, however, in case you are the usage of macOS 10.thirteen or more recent the Defragment, Repartition, and Rebuild utilities aren’t supported on APFS.

There’s a loose demo or you may purchase Drive Genius five from Prosoft right here.

How to defrag a Mac for loose

As we’ve explained, you likely don’t want to defrag your Mac, and if making a decision you do, you may attempt one of the equipment cited above – even though we’d advise that they may do greater damage than top (we assume Apple has top motives for now no longer which include such equipment as a part of the macOS).

If you accept as true with that your Mac has a defragmentation problem then the first-rate answer is loose: Back up your power the usage of Time Machine and do a smooth deployation, as cited above.

Here’s the way to use Time Machine to lower back up and the way to repair your Mac from Time Machine.

Find out what’s actually incorrect together along with your Mac

As we’ve said, it’s likely now no longer a defragmentation problem anyway.

To see what’s actually incorrect you may use some equipment to be had in your Mac, along with Activity Monitor, to test what’s the usage of CPU, and additionally Disk Utility to peer if there’s a trouble together along with your disk.

If you’re going for walks an historical model of Mac OS X we expect that your power would possibly simply be failing, wherein case, you would possibly need to study How to get better information from a broken Mac.

We have numerous hints approximately the way to accelerate a gradual Mac right here that we advise you figure through.

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