If one day, over night, you find that your Mac is not performing at the exact same speed as in the past, it might be offering you indications of requiring some upkeep. If you remember what you utilized to do with your old PC with the defragmentation procedure, it's time to use something comparable to your Mac.
And is that Windows has actually constantly consisted of serial, amongst the functions of your os, weekly automated defragmentation tools (you will discover it as 'Enhance disk' in the current Windows variations) in order that the job is performed in background.
We welcome you to speak with the post on how to defragment a hard disk.
When it comes to Apple and its computer systems with macOS, we have actually never ever had a program that does something comparable. You might question what is due. There are a number of reasons Macs do not use a defrag function.
Macs do not normally experience the kind of fragmentation to which Windows PCs are susceptible.
Modern Mac defragment the files immediately, they have actually done it because the arrival of the MacOS X 10.2 variation released in 2002.
Defragmentation can harm a drive or use it out due to the motion of details performed in between various sectors of the disk.
If you have an SSD, the defragmentation procedure can harm the system.
In this post, we discuss why you most likely do not require to defragment
Your Mac, the uncommon events when it may end up being required to defrag a Mac, what can be actually triggering the issues your computer system deals with, and how to defrag a Mac. After all, whatever that requires to be do.
But before continuing, we will explain the process of how data is written in a unit so that you can understand why it is necessary to defragment the computers and why the case of Mac computers is especially particular.
Why do some PCs need to be defragmented?
When a file is saved on a PC's hard drive, it occupies free space efficiently. If you have been using a disk for a long time, there may be many empty spaces left by the files you have deleted.
The Windows operating system, instead of leaving these spaces empty, when you save a new file, will use it to place it in one of those gaps. (Something like the image below, which incidentally is from a Mac application that is no longer available).
If you want to save a file that takes up a lot of space (a video, for example), you may have to extend or fragment it in a number of different spaces. The PC knows where the parts of the file are, but if there are a lot of fragmented files, it can take a long time to find all the parts before opening it.
When defragmenting the unit, all the files present move to fill in the gaps that were left when others were eliminated, which should prevent the files from fragmenting in the future with the consequent loss of speed.
However, this only applies to hard drives, and not as much as it used to: NTFS (the most modern file system) does not tend to fragmentation as much as FAT-32 did (the oldest file system of previous versions) of Windows).
In addition, modern SSDs (also known as flash drives) do not need to be defragmented. In fact, doing so can damage the memory, as we will explain in a moment, a little later.
Why do not Macs need to be defragmented?
As we are going to see, it is very likely that you do not need to defrag your Mac. If any of the following situations is fulfilled in your computer, we strongly recommend that you do not carry out such defragmentation:
The operating system of your Mac is after 2002 (if so, update your Mac).
Your Mac has an SSD as a storage system.
You are running the high Sierra or Mojave version of macOS, and your file system has been changed to Apple's newest APFS format. (No third party tool will work with your unit).
And the Mac does not need to be defragmented because the file system (initially HFS + and more recently APFS) prevents fragmentation and automatically defragments the files if necessary (if the file has more than eight fragments, or is smaller than 20). MB, it will be automatically defragmented).
HFS +, which was introduced in 1998, could defragment files on the fly thanks to the hot grouping of files. Then, with the arrival of macOS X 10.2 (2002), the system became even smarter to avoid fragmentation.
A year later (2003), the adaptive cluster of active files arrived, identifying the files that are accessed frequently, but which are rarely updated and transferred to a special area of the unit, defragmenting them during the process.
From this moment, Apple introduced the APFS file system with the arrival of high Sierra macOS (2017). Initially, APFS was only available on SSD drives (which, as we have said, should not be defragmented anyway), but with this version, it was extended to the hard disks and Fusion drives of 2018.
With Mojave the same thing happens as its predecessor, so APFS automatically defragments your disk on the fly, creating snapshots of files so you can access different versions of them (something different but with the same functionality).
Companies that develop tools and software to defrag Macs complain that Apple has not reported well on how to proceed with the format
APFS, in order that they can offer viable defragmentation tools.
The official response from Apple is that with APFS no defragmentation of the units is necessary.
So, if it turns out that you have a performance problem with your Mac, it is very likely that nothing has to do with the fragmentation of the files stored in your drives.
Additionally, the Macs have a complete series of tools associated with 'Disk Utility' with which to solve system problems, so it is worth taking a look there.
When the Mac requires to be defragmented
The only reason you may need to defrag your Mac is if the following situations occur:
Your Mac has a traditional hard drive with mechanical parts.
You are running out of storage space (we always advise keeping 10% of capacity free).
You often save especially large files (more than 1 GB) on your Mac.
One of the reasons why a hard disk can slow down if the files are particularly fragmented is because it has moving parts (unlike an SSD) and you have to move your head to read the different bits of the file you want to open.
If you have less than 10% of your free storage, the Mac will not be able to perform automatic defragmentation. In this case, instead of trying to defrag, you should better delete some files, or even delete your Mac to carry out a clean installation.
On this last point, some Mac users prefer to perform a clean installation prior to a major update of the operating system to improve performance, and in doing so, you will undoubtedly defrag your Mac in the most effective way.
How to defrag a Mac
Before proceeding, you should ask yourself the question, "Surely I need to defragment my Mac despite all the above?" There are certain tools on the market that will help you carry out the operation in a simple way.
However, some of the tools that were developed in their day for the purpose of defragmenting the Macs, are no longer in development. One of those tools was iDefrag, manufactured by Coriolis Systems
The company stopped development after Apple released the version of macOS 10.13 High Sierra, when the Mac adopted the APFS file system.
Tech Tool Pro 11
Although Tech Tool Pro does not support defragmentation for APFS volumes and does not recommend its use for SSD drives, it is capable of defragmenting individual files on a hard drive. It has another series of features that make it compatible with Mojave.
You can purchase the full version on this link.
Drive Genius 5
Another great tool focused on offering the defragmentation of your Mac. Initially it will show you a graphic representation of how fragmented your volume is and then it will offer you a recommendation to defragment or reorganize the files, regardless of the size or level of fragmentation.
It has up to 18 different functions that are offered in addition to the defragmentation procedure. However, if you are using macOS 10.13 or a newer version, keep in mind that the defragmentation, repartition, and rebuild utilities are not compatible with APFS.
There is a free version or you can even buy Drive Genius 5 from Prosoft here.
How to defrag a free Mac
As we have explained, you probably do not need to defrag your Mac, and if you decide to do it, you could try one of the tools we just mentioned, although as we have informed you, they could damage your computer even more. (We think that Apple has good reasons not to include such tools as part of macOS).
If you think that your Mac has a problem of defragmentation, the best solution is completely free and goes through making a backup of your unit with Time Machine and perform a clean installation of the operating system.
Check here the article in which we show you how to recover a Mac with problems, with its options of recovery mode and the handling of backup copies carried out with Time Machine.
Discover what's really wrong with your Mac
As we said, it probably is not a problem of defragmentation. To discover what is really wrong, you can use some tools included in your Mac, such as the 'Activity Monitor', to verify what is making excessive use of the CPU. Another option is the 'Disk Utility' to see if there is an associated problem.
If you are running an older version of MacOS X, it is likely that your unit may be failing, in which case, you may want to read the best Mac information healing programs.