How to Defrag a Mac (And Why You Don’t Really Have to)

If you are familiar with Windows, you must have heard of defragmenting a hard disk at least once or twice. The defrag process makes your machine faster by cutting down on file retrieval times and lowering latencies since all sections of a file will be in the same physical location.

People looking for how to defrag a mac want to boost performance and are hoping that defragmentation will help attain this.

A defrag on a Mac isn’t necessary if:

  • You are using OS X version later than 10.2 since Apple has an inbuilt mechanism to ensure that defragmentation doesn’t occur in the first place
  • If you are using an SSD since they are not susceptible to fragmentation setbacks. Moreover, defragmenting the SSD will contribute to the Write Cycles and all SSDs have a finite number of writes it can take before aging

Read: How to recover deleted files on your iOS device

How to Defrag a Mac

If your drive is old enough (more than a year old) you might still need to defrag your Mac to keep it running light. To do this, you will need reliable third party software. iDefrag is an amazing software that is both efficient and reliable.

Alternatively, you can use what Apple employees use to deal with hard drives when you take your Mac for servicing – Drive Genius. Though costly, you will get an amazing drive manager that not only defrags your mac but also lets you free up space and protect your HDD on the go.

If you don’t want to buy this software, you can force Mac OS to run its inbuilt defragmentation algorithm by cloning your boot drive, booting from the clone you just created before wiping the internal boot partition.

To do this, you will need an external drive and access to the Mac backup software, Carbon Copy Cleaner.

  • Clone your boot partition to the external drive using Carbon Copy Cleaner
  • Reboot your Mac with the external drive attached and use the Startup Manager to boot your system from the external drive clone. You can use the clone for a while to ensure that it is working perfectly
  • Once you’re confident that the clone is healthy, erase the internal boot partition (preferably erase the whole internal HDD) using Disk Utility
  • You can also scan for and map bad sectors in the process. Ensure that you don’t disrupt this process
  • Once you are done, clone your external drive into the internal drive and run Disk Utility and Repair Permissions to clean and rebuild caches

After this, you can now boot your Mac from the internal disk. You will have forced your Mac to invoke the inbuilt Mac defrag tool and also have addressed bad sectors, Boot Camp partition problems, and corrupt cache issues.