How to Defrag a Mac Hard Drive Descriptions and Guides

Do you need to defragment a Mac hard drive?

If you’re switching from Windows to a Mac computer, you may be wondering if you need to defrag your Mac to optimize the drive. In this article, we’ll delve into Mac defragmentation issues and explain how to defragment a Mac hard drive.

how to defrag a mac hard drive

What is disk defragmentation?

Fragmentation is the process of dividing a large file into “fragments,” which are written in different areas of the hard drive. This occurs when the free space on the disk is presented in the form of small scattered fragments and it is impossible to record a large file on it.

Fragmentation has some defects, for example, your computer needs more time to search and read the information on the disk. In addition, the disk wears out quickly due to the need to access disparate sectors.

Defragmentation is the opposite process. The files on the hard drive are rearranged so that parts of a large file are stored side by side. In short, defragmentation eliminates discrepancies between the recorded parts of the files, bringing them together in one entire part. Therefore, defragmentation allows you to speed up your computer.

Do you need to defragment a Mac?

Microsoft file systems use the classic ATF and the more modern NTFS, which do not provide built-in mechanisms to combat fragmentation. That’s why the Windows operating system requires defragmentation every few months. The procedure may take some time; however, this helps optimize the computer’s performance.

Unlike Microsoft, Apple uses the HFS (Hierarchical File System), which provides a special Hot File Adaptive Clustering, or HFC function. The main purpose of this component is to automatically prevent the fragmentation of disk storage.

In addition, Apple computers use SSD hard drives that have a different algorithm to eliminate fragmentation.

These discs have their own automatic process – TRIM, which performs all the debugging process functions on the SSD.

Thus, there is no need to defragment the Mac disk. The macOS is designed in such a way that it “takes care” of all the files on your computer, so you don’t have to worry about it. The only exception where you may need to defragment Mac is the following circumstance:

  • You have an old Mac with an old hard drive, which you use for professional work with video and audio. This means that the hard drive can be obstructed by video and audio files or various major program projects such as Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop. These files are very sensitive to fragmentation and can be difficult to eliminate automatically.

However, even in such cases, Mac’s slow performance occurs so rarely that defragmenters have never been included in the standard set of Apple utilities.

How to defragment a Mac

The macOS does not provide a tool to defragment the hard drive. The only thing Apple recommends is to make a full backup of your data, format the hard drive, reinstall the operating system, and then recover the files.

If you still think your Mac needs optimization, you can use third-party utilities, designed to defragment the Mac hard drive. There are several applications for this task:


iDefrag is one of the most popular applications for defragmenting a hard drive. It costs $32 but provides for a trial period.

Drive Genius

Drive Genius is a more powerful program to defragment a Mac, which allows you to perform a full range of preventative actions, work with HD partitions, and restore data. The price is $99.

Tech Tool Pro 5

Techtool Pro 5 is a universal tool for optimizing Mac performance, which also has the ability to defragment the Apple computer. Techtool Pro 5 costs $98.

Please note that these programs are third-party tools and therefore you cannot get Apple support for them. Also, never use these programs on a Mac with an SSD. Otherwise, you can damage your drive and system.

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